Inspired Bliss

English: As the feel of the event was all abou...

Yes, this is exactly how my family sits down to eat every night. I may give the butler the night off! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of family life, the place where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilization: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending.” ~Michael Pollan, from his book, “Cooked”

I am guilty of much of what Pollan is railing against in his book “Cooked”. I have been wooed by the fast food industry, courted by the industrial food moguls, and a victim of food that is not really food. And I am now inspired to cook food from scratch and not just heat up “packaged ravioli with sage-butter sauce” and consider it a “culinary achievement”.

My Achilles heel when it comes to cooking is the fact that after a while it becomes too routine, and just getting some food to the table is an accomplishment itself—no matter where it comes from—the pizza delivery guy, my freezer, or a package.

Pollan has renewed my pride in cooking, and inspired me. And real cooking can be so simple—sometimes just a quick nuking of fresh asparagus from the local farmers market with a little butter and salt and pepper will satisfy that urging; other times a full-blown meal where one has to actually touch real potatoes, chop real lettuce, and cook some fresh meat meets the criteria.

I must confess that I will still rely on frozen packaged food at times—but I am now determined to take a little more time, take it that one step further, and serve real food on a more regular basis. And I must look at it as feeding my creative beast—there are so many ways to be creative and I no longer want to limit myself to writing literary masterpieces and somewhat lame poetry (I know I am exaggerating on both ends of the scale here).

To share a meal with those you love where you have actually put some time and thought into the effort is most satisfying. If we are going to do important things like teach the art of conversation, and share and listen and navigate differences—we should do it over fare that deserves that deliberation.

Bliss is going that extra mile and fixing “real food” if not every day at least as much as possible. What do you think?

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Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Comments (31)  
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  1. I tried to do this for many years but you’re right, the boredom and routine eventually kills you. Slowly these healthy habits give way to easier and faster methods of food intake. haha! I have the body to prove it. LOL! I could use a little more asparagus, if I do say so myself.

    • I am on a new regimen to eat better–I have put on a little weight and do not feel comfortable–I am thinking that cooking real food and eliminating sweets (for awhile) might just get me back on track.
      Routines if not broken sometimes are killers of creativity of all kinds. And I find asparagus is a nice treat

  2. I so agree, LouAnn. I admit that I’m a little weird in that Peter and I cook a meal and eat it together at the table almost every night. It’s our time together and precious. Maybe that comes from our childhood values, I’m not sure. But we enjoy it so much.

    • I grew up eating at the table every night without fail (that I can think of)–I did not provide a family meal at the table every night for my family, but we always eat together

  3. I absolutely agree with your statement of bliss at the end. I also vary my meal times so that as many of us as possible can be present….even if it’s fish sticks from the freezer. :)

    • as long as you eat together what you eat is not necessarily important

      • Well said and so true. :)

  4. you know what they say…”you are what you eat” um, yeah, we’re humans….hmmmm
    sweet, spicy, saucy, sizzling – it varies, but yeah, no humans on the menu. there have been times when it seemed I was a short order cook trying to accommodate everyone’s schedules and tastes. it’s an occasion when we are all together for a home-cooked meal these days. using local produce that’s in season matters to me, but I have to say, what I like most to make for dinner is a reservation…or grilled cheese.

    • I so agree with you on the reservations (lol)–my youngest son makes bacon, cheese (real, not slices and two different kinds) and raspberry jam–he swears by these. I love grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup — remind me of when I was a kid

  5. I love cooking real food, but occasionally I will succumb and buy a ready made pizza and coleslaw, like this evening. :D

    • truth be told – I love love love pizza–and with coleslaw you have a great meal

  6. I have been blessed to have a wife, two daughters, and now a sister and step-mom who count it their calling to see we have plenty of healthy food to share for regular family meals.

    I am very grateful to God for this.

  7. There is no better treat for me than when someone takes the time and effort to make a meal for me. My fondest memories are the moments family and friends gather round the dinner table to eat a gourmet feast or take out Chinese.

  8. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into cooking much at all. It takes up so much time that I could be using to do other things that I really enjoy. The problem is that I LOVE to eat, so it’s a good thing that my hubby enjoys cooking and is very good at it. Through the years we have made it a point to sit together for a family dinner each night if we can, and I truly believe that has made a difference in how our boys have turned out. We enjoy Mike’s cooking and talk about what’s going on in our lives. It’s great :).

    • you are one lucky lady in so many ways–but this is another way–and I agree- sitting down at the table as a family is a wonderful ritual replete with pleasures

  9. I wonder how often these days a family actually sits down to a meal together regardless of packaged, frozen or home-cooked… Everyone seems to be so busy and have places to rush off to…. I think the old traditional way (for most instances) is the best…Diane

    • I agree Diane–we should make dinner an appointment like all the other important things in our lives

  10. Real food was the only sort of food when I was young, and it';s all we eat now. Even as a rushed single mother working full-time, real food was the only option, even if it was just scrambled eggs on toast. Big treat was Friday night, and fresh fish and chips from the corner shop… so we all still eat real food in the different generations , apart from the odd delivered pizza to the grand-children. And they are all slim from eating nourishing satisfying food!
    I agree with you about the routine, but trying new recipes keeps the creative juices oozing !
    That gathered family meal is the corner-stone of family life I feel, where fun, communication and family rituals shape our lives and memories…

    • love your answer–I was brought up on real food and spending every night at the supper table — and I think I am the better for it–and yes, new ways of cooking and new recipes do change things up

  11. My mum tries to avoid feeding us takeout the majority of the time but I think there is bliss in the change from home cooked food, as delicious as it is :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • I think changing things up is good–I though am someone who takes the easy way out a lot when it comes to fixing dinner and I want to do a bit more of from scratch cooking

  12. We have meals together every night, but perfection isn’t always a necessity. My kids favourite meal still remains grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. They prefer homemade soup, but will eat from acan in a pinch.

    • I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (still do) — perfection is not a word that ever described what I put on the table (lol)

  13. We have dinner together every night, even when the kids were little.
    I’d say we eat homemade food 28+ days of the month. We enjoy a Subway sandwich or Indian/Chinese/Mexican now and again. :-)

  14. i agree with michael pollan. the one thing i tried to hold on to after my divorce was family dinner. everything else was in flux but i could still cook dinner and bake for their lunchbags. going out to eat or fast food became the treat and a time for us to sit together with no chores or homework on the horizon.

  15. In time I think you’ll feel as though the time you spend fixing simple, real meals will feel like less effort. Perhaps not as easy as microwaving, but not the task too many people think it is.


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