Friday, October 06, 2006
Blogging while I wait for the kettle to boil. I really, really need a cup of tea. Tea is a topic I can preach on for hours. But not today.
Today my little hobby horse is the way that food has changed. Most particularly the proliferation of packaged convenience food that take the fun out of cooking. I do know that there is a place for convenience food in the kitchen. Heaven knows (and you know too, Mum) there are days that I don't feel like cooking. And on those days it's really nice to have a jar of pesto and a packet of spaghetti in the cupboard. It's when the convenience foods are used every day that I start to worry.
I worry that the food that we eat is so processed and preserved that it is no longer a recipe, so much as a chemical formula. Whole meals come out of a packet. When people no longer have twenty minutes to peel, chop and boil potatoes to make a mash, that bothers me. It can be challenging thinking of a menu every day, and dinner comes at the tired end of the day, I know, but it just doesn't justify resorting to highly processed foods and compromising the health of our families.
The one change I have made that has made the most difference to our eating habits is menu planning. When I don't have to decide what to cook for dinner then meal preparation goes much more smoothly. The cupboard and frisge are stocked with what I need to prepare an already decided upon meal, so it doesn't seem such an effort to make it. We are very flexible about our menu, and I try to set it up so that, on days I am particularly busy, the meal requires less work, or is of a 'set and forget' nature.
We are having a little difference of opinion in our house regarding lunch box treats. A few tears have been shed over the shortage of chips, sticky fruit sticks / rollups, and the plethora of sugar and preservative laden bar shaped goodies in our house. I have gently explained why I don't think these treats are ok at school, and now I am desperately seeking recipes for homemade treats. I used to make banana muffins, but with the price of bananas in Australia at the moment, well, I am not going to hock my heirlooms for the sake of a peer approved morning tea!
Better fall back on the old favourite, Anzac biscuits.