We’ve seemed to reach our semi-annual desire for Great Changes. At Christmas, it was our reworking of routines and general organization. Here in Spring-Almost-Summer both Devo and I have our minds on road trips and camping, and food.
I haven’t been doing a great job of feeding my family recently. One Sunday I was griping to Devo (it truly was a gripe) about my dismal meal planning and pantry stocking of late. He kindly began to offer ideas on how to be more efficient (you know, meal planning and scheduled shopping). I interrupted him with a hand in the air.
I don’t really want to talk about the details right now. I just want to do some self-bashing.
I almost gasped as the words that came out of my mouth reached my ears. Self-bashing, what a ghastly, ugly, damaging past-time. Of course I know when I’m participating in self-bashing. But to have the truth of the matter come, unedited, out of my mouth without warning – it was sobering to see that nasty habit in the light.
I’m taking a tighter rein on my self-talk. Again. Weird how it starts out so innocuously and spirals so quickly down to loathing and despair. Trippy.
But back to food.
I took a look through the documents on my computer this weekend, searching for previous meal plans for inspiration. I found that we basically don’t eat anything that we ate eight years ago. Or five years ago. Even three years ago only has about half the meals to be what we would eat now.
Our eating style has changed so drastically that we have basically started from scratch. Started back at basics with plants.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. -Michael Pollan
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 17 (Hong Kong chicken flu and Mad Cow disease in one year helped with that decision), and Devo converted around the time we were married. During the gestational years, we did both eat some fish, but it seems that that has phased out. (I am planning, however, to have some Alaskan salmon when we visit my dad in Anchorage this summer.) The kids are vegetarians.
Dairy has slowly left our refrigerator. A bit of Tillamook cheddar and parmiggiano reggiano. Occasionally a tub of Greek yogurt. Mayo is gone for good.
“Vegemeat”, long a staple food in my life and heart, was eliminated first for budgeting purposes and now because we are soy-free at home.
We eliminated soy at home last fall, due to concerns about endocrine disruption in our children and myself. It has made a difference, I might add. But I mourn the loss of soy milk and tofu (not to mention that it’s in just about everything). And vegemeat.
And now, the most recent challenge is to move away from relying so heavily on breads. Sandwiches and burritos have been the core of our meal repertoire. But when I buy bread, it gets eaten for at least two, if not three meals a day. Too much.
We’re sick of corn tortillas, and I can’t in good conscience have us eat so many white flour tortillas any longer. My body rebels. There are some good whole wheat tortillas, but they are worth their weight in gold and we eat a lot of food around here.
Which leaves us with Mostly Plants.
For a long time, I have cooked under the following formula ::
One legume, one grain, one green vegetable, one yellow vegetable.
It’s a wonderful way to start learning how to make meals that are not based around a main dairy, meat, or vegemeat item. Tossed salads, grain salads, bean bowls, fried rice, pasta with vegetables, sandwiches, burritos/tacos. All of these are great ways to use the vegetables that are on sale and in season at the grocery store/farmer’s market or that come in the farm box.
But I seem to have reached a point of stagnation. With the elimination of soy and moving away from breads, I’m left without the foundations of our staple meals. Also, this year has matured our family so that there are more apparent food preferences and aversions. Our policy is that everyone must eat, without complaining, a modest helping of whatever is served. But as main cook, I must say that I prefer a table full of enthusiasm and second helpings over grim endurance.
All of which means, it’s time for a change!
I’ve cancelled our farm box for the time being so that I can do some picking and choosing of my own at the grocery store.
I’ve signed us up for 30 Day Vegan.
Devo and I are seriously considering investing in our first juicer. Recommendations?
I have planted 12 tomatoes, six cucumbers, way too much squash (Mom, you have to promise to help eat it), and seven bell peppers.
I’ve reworked and updated my perpetual grocery list.
I am trying hard to develop a manageable and tasty meal plan.
I’m on the lookout for new complete-meal recipes. I enjoy cooking from whatever I’ve got, but it’s time to find and plan for full meals. Preferably ones that everyone loves. Or almost everyone.
Might I just say that eating with a conscience these days is a very very hard thing to do? Eat in season, buy locally, buy organic, avoid cans, stay in budget, eat a balanced and healthy diet. Just those criteria alone can leave us with hardly anything to eat.
I call for new criteria to eating with a conscience : use your brain! don’t get hung up on getting it all right! eat well!
Anyone have a plant-based, fresh, simple and easy meal to share?