Friday, April 29, 2011

Week 10, Part Two: Monkey See

Perhaps the MOST critical part of decision-making while preparing and eating foods, happens long before we ever "think" about anything. Standing on a chair while mom, gramma or auntie made pies, bread, salad, cookies, or carved a turkey was a right of passage. I was absorbing techniques, measurements, and most importantly, ingredient quantities. This had not occurred to me until I was preparing my first holiday meal, solo.

On all other festive family occasions, I would be a part of the process. Perhaps I assembled the relish tray, or warmed the rolls, brought a Greek salad, or cooked a hunk of meat. For this Easter meal, however, it was all mine: meat, potatoes, relish, and punch, coffee and cake.

Being mindful of my new lifestyle choices, I selected a lean ham. I made veggies without dip, omitted crackers and salami, and made punch without sugary soda (juice and soda water worked perfectly!). I mentally divided up every one's plates: half veggies, one quarter starch, one quarter protein. I put unsalted butter on the table (I noticed people use less when it's unsalted). I put a glass of water at everyone's place. I added a few family traditions, one being banana salad and one being the egg hunt,(eat and then get moving!), but an hour before we sat down, I sat looking at my meal-to-be.

As I stood over a steaming pot of potatoes in the mixer, I thought about how the women in all of my families had made mashed potatoes. I had WATCHED them add a full stick of salted butter, salt and pepper, and milk to fluff. I loved these potatoes. These are the potatoes I longed to make, to eat. Yet, as my children were watching me make food, (they're always watching, no?), I knew I wanted to start a new tradition. I wanted delicious potatoes, fluffy, and creamy, but I did not want to clog anyone's arteries. I wanted to give them good things, including a healthy life.

I put the butter back in the fridge and grabbed light sour cream, salt and pepper.In one swift movement, delicious potatoes emerged from the bowl into the serving dish with white gravy with skim milk, on the side.

The day was full of delicacies which I wanted everyone to delight in: deviled eggs, chocolate cream pie, new wine, lemon curd cake, French roasted coffee, the company of one another, and a beautiful day to hunt eggs. Omitting butter from the potatoes was insignificant to everyone but me...I had changed the course of my family in one small, but significant move. I have to admit, it was a quiet, emotional moment.

It has caused me no small amount of thought about what I learned about food growing up. What have I been, if even subconsciously, been communicating to my family that was taught to me? What can I change? What will I keep? What are the goals in the preparation and eating of homemade food?

1 comment:

  1. Wow definitely "food" for thought!