I am currently considering a different, much more challenging, game of avoidance for the family. Instead of "Don't Say a Particular Word," it's "Don't Eat Anything From A Box." If you know me, you know that's going to be more difficult than having a conversation without using any word with letters in it. We like our cornflakes, cookies, and Saltine crackers over here at the Book Bench. On the other hand, with books like The Omnivore's Dilemma (and everything by Suzanne Sommers) and films like The Future of Food out there, there is a high level of discourse in America right now not just about the health implications of our food choices, but the environmental, economic, and ethical implications as well.
These conversations about responsible eating are not just being held on CSPAN and liberal arts college campuses. I've been talking about it with the other moms at the lake while our kids have been splashing around this summer. So you know it's reached the people. I've always tried to feed me family healthy foods, but I'm far from perfect and could really up my game. Recently, a friend told me about a woman she met recently, "a health food nut," who doesn't feed her family anything from a box. Nothing from a box? Reactions were swift and strong. I think I was loudest. Crazy! Impossible! Expensive! But I've been sitting with the idea and have decided to give it a try for 48 hours. I'm a little pissed that I didn't start yesterday because the kids and I made our own bread, but now it's gone. And of course I'm looking for loopholes- perhaps the girls at the Dunkin' Donuts drive through window could throw our munchkins in a bag instead of a box? If it used to be packaged in a box but now comes in a "new, resealable pouch!" does that count?
As with all my projects, I picked up a few books at the library to get me started. I have to admit that I haven't yet cooked anything in Mariel's Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life by Mariel Hemingway, but to be honest, not much in it appeals to me and I don't know where I would find many of the ingredients such as Xylosweet, whey protein, and hemp protein powder.
On the other hand, I cannot wait to start making some of the recipes in Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. The authors are sensible rather than militant in their philosophy and present recipes with ingredients I recognize. The photos delicious. Some recipes call for meat, but in smaller quantities than traditional recipes. Moreover, an explanation is given for using grass feed beef and more expensive "certified humane" organic chicken. This book might really help me with the nothing out of a box challenge.
I have yet to spring the idea on my family. Wish me luck with that and with avoiding convenience foods. If you're headed my way with a Nutter Butter in your hands in the next week or so, kindly keep it out of sight. My dignity will thank you. I'll keep you posted.