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.


Tammy said...

I so agree with you regarding packaged foods. I try to stay away from as much processed foods as possible!

Margaret said...

You and I are on the same path right now, Emma! I'm glad to have a comrade on the way towards a more peaceful and healthy house.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! I love having the time now to make food from scratch - it tastes better, it is better for us, and I really enjoy all of the slicing, dicing, stirring, etc that goes into it.

h&b said...

I feel the same way.
I rotate my Mother's Group hosting with 4 other women, and only one of them shares my sentiment.

We serve crudites and crackers and yummy dips, cheese, olives, apples, fruit.

At the other women's houses: Tim Tams and lollies and icecreams and chips. The kids are all under 3yrs old. Soon after this banquet, there is bad behaviour abounding, yet not before. Coincidence ? Not.

The kids do not throw tanties because theere are no Tim-Tams in my house, nor should they. They get stuck into the raw veges and fruit and seem to do just fine.
I am not a rabid hippy .. but .. why the junk ? Why so early ? Why when there was no need ? ( yesterday, outdoor play was interrupted to serve chocolate - WTF ? )

Sorry for using your blog as a rant-space, but it really gets up my nose !

Suse said...

Slices are good lunchbox treats these days, and even easier than muffins (my usual standby).

Lately my muffins are dry and awful without my faithful black bananas from the freezer. Sigh ... when will we get bananas again I wonder?

Me said...

Whole foods. I work hard at using them. I've always made our food but in the past still relied a bit on canned products (for instance salad dressing or creamed soups rather than making my own sauce) - but more and more I turn to whole foods and do it from scratch. I love to hear of people who feel that way.

My daughter usually gets carrots or if she is lucky a peanut butter sandwhich in her lunch.

But in the end, I want to hear your thoughts on tea (I drink it constantly).