Of course being 7.5 months pregnant I think often about how I want to raise my son. A few weeks ago we were out to breakfast and saw a mom pick up their child and then watched as the child began to smack, hit, and just go crazy on the mom. I was shocked. Of course I said to Chris “Our child will never act like that.” And — I meant it. First of all, if my kid acts out I will take them outside. I do not care if it is rainy or beautiful out, I would want to take them out of the situation and discuss further. It might even mean making the choice to leave the restaurant. There is absolutely no reason to watch a child loose control and beat the crap out of his mom. Something is not right in that scenario. Those of you who are already parents think I might live in a dream world, but let me tell you, my father might have scared the crap out of me, but I knew how to behave.
So that little rant was about the kids misbehaving, but what about parents? I just read an article about a dad who was mocked for his son loving a custom play kitchen. Now, I will tell you I have not discussed this with Chris, and so he might not agree with me — but I would love for my son to have a play kitchen. Why you might ask? Chris is the chef in our family and he is a damn good one. He does not look at it as the wife’s job. He looks at it as art. He loves his time in the kitchen and from the taste of a dish, to trying something different, right down to how he displays the final product on a plate. Now that does not mean there are nights that it does not feel laborious to him, but he loves his kitchen and I stay out of the way. Why would I do anything to keep my son away from that? Why would he spend his childhood watching his father in the kitchen (and hopefully interested enough to want to join him) and then tell him he cannot have his own play kitchen?
What has this world come to? Cooking is an art and it is not just for women. If I was the one in the kitchen we would eat like crap — just ask Chris. I have no patience, I cannot time things right, and really have no interest. Chris has the patience, loves it, and I know he will have the patience to teach our son as well. My job will be teaching him how to bake. Yes, I will.
I loved this comment from the dad in the article:
“As far as my comment on if he wants to play with a barbie doll…again, let me stress this. HE IS 2. I have seen him get excited and play with a broom. Ya’ll need to chill. Kids are going to play with what they want, and if you try to prevent them from doing something as harmless as playing with the toy they want to play with, they are going to end up resenting you.”
So damn true. Let them play with what inspires them. I would much rather my son paint, get dirty, play in the kitchen and use his mind then be mesmerized behind a video game and develop no social skills whatsoever.
You cannot put that book down, you lose precious sleep at night because you want to read one more page. A different book moves you emotionally to think differently about your life and make some needed changes. Yet another book prompts you to make small moves toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
“The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks” by Kathleen Flinn had an impact on me and the food I consume. Chris and I have found ourselves in a food rut. We make the same few meals each week, and continue to alternate them. Yes, most of the time it is what I crave and want, but what if I do not know what I crave and want because I have not given myself the option to try something new? Over the weekend we went to a Portland restaurant that we have wanted to go to for ages. It took us about two months to find a reservation that would both fit our schedules and be a normal hour to eat dinner (before 10:30 pm). We had an assortment of items all new and different, but one really inspired me: spacatelli, sausage, broccoli, provolone. It was very simple, and yet so delicious. I look up at Chris and say the book I just finished has inspired me and we need to radically change how we think about food. We can make this dish at home.
That does not mean that we do not eat well on a regular basis. I think we have a very balanced diet, what I wanted to radically change was our routine. With the changing season from summer to fall and soon to winter there are so many different options to try. New soups and stews, and warmer dishes we would not want in the summer. So many options to explore, inspire, and change our ways. Flinn’s book is inspired by a woman she met in the grocery store:
“No wonder we’ve forgotten that the most essential thing we do is to feed ourselves and the people we care about. When I saw the stuff the woman had in her basket, it struck me as antinourishment.” Page 22-23
As a country, we eat from cans, the freezer, and over-processed boxes of chemicals. It is what we know, and yet many of the processed foods are a very long list of chemicals that provide no nourishment at all. Flinn sets out to teach a group of women who do not know how to cook how to make food from scratch and replace the quick and easy processed counterparts. She shows them how to make Alfredo sauce from scratch in the same amount of time as you would the boxed version, and she proves that cooking from scratch is not only affordable but the tastier option. She also talks about how much we waste.
We buy food in bulk at stores such as Costco and Sam’s. It seems like a better value, but what we often do not realize is how much waste we create. Why buy one good head of lettuce when you can get three for less? They do not taste great, but oh well. You then do not feel bad when you throw away the other two heads. Which leads to what has been called: “Eating Down the Fridge.” The tactic? You do not buy groceries for a week and instead get creative and eat down all the food currently in your fridge. We would starve in our house because we often only have fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge and eat them down each week, but we could still join the cause and make sure we are eating the salsa, and other condiments that often are forgotten and grow into other entities within the fridge.
Do an Internet search for: Eating Down the Fridge, read Flinn’s book, and use the changing season to jump-start your food inspiration!
Over the weekend, my sister and I were discussing a blog post, called: “Give me Gratitude or Give me Debt” that we recently saw on Facebook. It was about a woman who posted pictures of her kitchen on Facebook and received comments about all the things she could do to upgrade her kitchen. Never expecting the comments and pondering them further, she realized how grateful she was and shared more about what she had then what she was lacking. It was an eye opener for me. Think about the endless possibilities of comments that others can share with one – to many on Facebook. It can mean an amazing outpouring of love and support, and it can also mean and outpour of critical comments that might not been so helpful to you.
Her blog post was a reminder that we all have way more than we can ever imagine. Take my sister for example. She has a beautiful, extremely happy, brilliant (no I am not biased) daughter. A family that is just what she wants. She lives in California, loves the sun, and is about to embark on a new adventure in the next few weeks. What is not to love about that life? Of course, as with any change in life, there are many unanswered questions, but that is part of life right? I feel amazingly blessed. I enjoy my job, love my home, have an amazing husband, and hope that one day we too will grow our family so that our niece Charlie will have a little cousin to boss around. What is not to love about my life? Sure I work hard, sometimes am stressed out, and often do not allow enough time for myself. If I were to say I lacked anything in life, it would be: time.
I am grateful.
Back to that kitchen and the comments on Facebook. Those comments are ones that come from this “perfect world” mentality that surrounds us. It is definitely a “first world” problem, and I do not know if it is an American issue, or one for many affluent countries. We strive so strongly (and I am just as much to blame) to have this perfect world. We want everything to be just so. The kitchen with the updated refrigerator, stove, updated cabinets. The list can go on and on. We do just the same for our body, clothes, furniture, and other worldly possessions.
Yet, if we just start with what we already have, I think we’ll realize that we have so so so much more than we can ever imagine.