If you were wondering how I consider this a healthy food blog while simultaneously extolling the beauty of goose fat, bacon, and cream…you would not be the first. I wanted to clarify my idea of what healthy food is so I can stop defending my use of bacon and butter. 🙂 Don’t make me stop using bacon and butter!!!
To me healthy food is not restrictive. It is not painful or a punishment. In my opinion, what makes food healthy, is the entire process…from an idea to sourcing ingredients and shopping for them, to cooking them with love, and to serving them to your family over conversation. I don’t think chocolate chip cookies are unhealthy per se. I think that our culture of instant gratification is unhealthy. You can think to yourself, ‘I’m really craving a cookie’ and within 5 minutes you can have a foil/plastic wrapped, trans-fat laden, stale and tasteless chocolate chip cookie in your hand. This is unhealthy in my veiw. As opposed to thinking “mmm, I’m really craving a cookie’ and taking the time to find ingredients (hopefully the best available), weigh out the ingredients, taste the dough, smell the cookies baking, watch them puff up and melt in the oven, wait for them to cool, and then taste them.
Eating is a sensory pleasure and we should enjoy it as much as possible. That means turning off your tv, ditching the packaged foods, and preparing things that you are craving so that every sense can take advantage of the process; smelling, seeing, touching, listening, and finally tasting. Think about the way a baby experiences food rather than just eating it. The pic below is Sweet P at around 11 months eating watermelon for the first time. She is seriously into it in every way. It is all over her face, squeezed between her little fingers, in her hair, dribbling down her chin, etc and she could not be more thrilled. I’m not saying you should need a bib to eat, but try to think about the pleasure that food could bring you if you appreciate it as if it were the first time.
The process of shopping, sourcing, gardening, growing, raising, gathering, prepping, cooking, and plating adds so much to the gratification of the final product. Rather than finishing off your ‘cheap’ store bought cookie in 1 minute and getting a quick and shallow satisfaction, try earning the cookie. By the time you’ve bought all of the ingredients, and prepared them, the taste of the fruits of your labor will be that much better. By choosing the ingredients yourself and taking care to use grass-fed butters/sustainable fats or oils, fair-trade chocolate, etc you are in control. While a cookie is a cookie, and not a great meal choice, the cookie is NOT the enemy. A cookie (or insert guilty pleasure here) should be enjoyed and not feared.
Another note: there are small local business that use the best ingredients. Try to find those suppliers that you trust to give you the best possible product if you need the convenience of pre-made goods. One of our favorites is Penny Lick Ice Cream Company based out of Westchester, NY. Penny Lick’s ice cream can be found at farmer’s markets throughout the summer months in Westchester and it is delicious and creamy, locally made, and also convenient. Check out her website :
and this photo of Sweet P enjoying her push pops:
My dad used to flip out when we begged to eat dinner on paper plates (so we wouldn’t have to do the dishes) but as an adult with my own family, I can totally see where he was coming from. The meal is an experience and that goes from your plates and cutlery, to the lighting, the temperature of the food, etc. Things are just too convenient so we opt for the cheap, quick and easy while missing out on the best parts of having a meal together. I am not saying you have to hand milk the cow in your backyard and make pasta out of your own wheat field here…I am just saying to try and take part in the experience of making and eating food, rather than taking a back seat and letting big corporations do all the work.
The other part of making “healthy food” is how you eat it. We are so rushed in this country because everyone is working hard, struggling to get by and trying to take advantage of every minute of every day, we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. We are all guilty of checking emails/texts during dinner with our kids but just think about the message that sends to your kids about meal times and about food; Food is not important, ingredients don’t matter, meal times are a rushed time to get busy work done rather than enjoy your meal and your company. If you can take 30 minutes to share in meal times with your kids, you will all get a lot more out of it than just food.
Have fun with meal time….have a glass of wine while you’re cooking and turn on some music. I love the Practical Magic soundtrack and right now, Tangled and Frozen are my daughter’s favorites. If you don’t have time to cook/eat together every night, aim for one or two nights a week and make it special. We only share space on this earth for a short time, treasure it.
Enjoy this photo of a bumper sticker I spotted outside a farmers market in Westchester this summer! xo, SW and Sweet P