When I was growing up, my mother had a Lazy Susan – a revolving server – on the hutch in our dining room. She didn’t use it for food, as it was intended, but as a sort of catchall for paper clips and saved mail and whatnot. It’s vintage ’40s or early ’50s, and goes nicely in my own dining room; I use it to serve hors d’oeuvres on holidays. In particular, I love the name, which dates back to the 18th century and was probably a stab at a servant girl who wasn’t doing her job the way someone thought she should.
Despite the gender problems, the name reminds me of how lazy many of us are about our food in general. And yet food is a vital part of life – in fact, it’s a requirement for life. We ingest it several times a day, oftentimes without thinking about what’s in the products that pass as food. Trans fat, sugar, artificial colors and sweeteners, salt up the wazoo, ingredients with five syllables – you name it, we’ll eat it, especially if it means saving a few minutes. And we don’t just eat it – we actually inhale it, causing our digestive systems massive harm.
I know, I know… you’re really busy. And when you get home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is to have to cook. When I was little, most families had someone who stayed at home – namely, mommy – cleaning and cooking and doing all the stuff that kept the family going. In these economic times, it’s a rare household that can have a stay-at-home mom/dad/partner/cook. That means we need to figure out how to eat healthfully even when we’re so busy we swear we can’t fit another thing into our days.
So, here’s the big question: How many of these things could you cut back on to make a more healthful dinner for you and/or your family?
1. Posting your every move on Facebook
2. Playing Farmville (or anything else) on Facebook
3. Tweeting your every move
4. Watching TV
5. Shuffling your Netflix queue
6. Texting your every move
7. Checking work email at home
8. Downloading tunes
You get my drift, folks. A lot of our “busy-ness” is manufactured – by us. Sure, cooking is a job. But it comes with its own set of rewards – better quality food, better quality health, better quality outlook. You don’t have to aim to be Julia Child. A couple of cookbooks I like a lot are both by the Moosewood Collective – Simple Suppers and Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home (try the black bean soup – it’s delish). Many of the dishes take under 30 minutes to prepare. Keep your pantry well stocked so you always have healthful ingredients available, and you won’t have to be a Lazy Susan… or Sam.
Next time: Just what is a “well-stocked pantry”?