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?

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Comments (31)  
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Bliss Covered in Syrup

English: French toast served at Mac's Restaura...

French toast . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In honour of my son Tyler who is going back to school today after his Reading Week at college (something we more honestly called Slack Week when I was at university), I am going to provide you with a recipe of sorts – one that I am going to make for him this morning for the third time this week.

He loves French toast. Loves it. Can’t get enough of it. And he is always appreciative when I take the little time it takes to make this breakfast of champions (though sometimes we make it for lunch, and on occasion, supper.)

Tyler is my picky eater. Every family has one, but since he has been away at school his taste buds have expanded to include salad, grilled cheese sandwiches (his must have real cheddar cheese, bacon if he has it, and raspberry jam) and stuffed pasta (he used to eat pasta with just butter and salt—now he will eat three cheese ravioli), and sweet potato fries.

He was never a picky eater by choice—some things appealed to him and other things did not. Food had a yuck factor for him, and some of it still does, but I find it interesting that once he has been exposed to a variety of other foods outside our home, he is more likely to try them. He has five roommates in the house he lives in at college (which is only two blocks from Fanshawe in London) and so he is exposed to a lot of different tastes. They all  have one thing in common though: Pizza (which I consider a major food group and so do they).

I remember when I was in university (about the time that pizza was brought to the new world), I would eat pizza almost every night in residence—a bunch of us would go together and order one after studying or getting back from the school pub.

I realize I have digressed from today’s recipe—but French toast is not all that complicated.

French Toast à la Tyler

White bread – as many slices as you need to feed the people you are feeding ~ Tyler always has 3

I egg for every three slices of bread

English: Cinnamon

English: Cinnamon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Splash of milk

A little vanilla

Cinnamon sprinkled in

Syrup and butter – enough to drown the toast

Using a whisk, whisk the eggs and milk and vanilla and cinnamon together. Dunk the bread and put it in a hot frying pan. We just got a new big non stick frying pan and can cook three pieces at once. We flip them when one side gets nice and toasty. I eat the burnt ones.

I know this is not an official recipe – it is just a bit of a map that takes us on a journey to syrupdom.  It is meant to be more nostalgic than directive—but it is the last day I will see Tyler for several weeks (Easter is coming up)—so it is my goodbye to him today. (Don’t feel too sorry for me, I email him every day and I am one of his ten on his phone plan that he can call without charge—so we talk a lot).

Do you have any nostalgic recipes that give you or your family bliss?

Comforts ~ Day 3 or Reality Bites

pizza

pizza (Photo credit: Mickipedia)

It should not be so hard this early in my 18 day challenge (it is only Day 3) to come up with three things I am grateful for. And it is not. But it is hard to come up with three clever things I am grateful for. So today I am grateful for:

1. John, my husband of 30 years

2. Adam my eldest son, who is 26

3. Tyler, my youngest, who is 21

It is not hard to be grateful for these guys except that they all drive me just a little bit crazy—each in their own unique way. But I love them even when they drive me crazy. I think this is called unconditional love.

It is easy to love people when they are being kind and thoughtful and loving. It is a little bit harder when they are not being kind and thoughtful and loving. I am grateful for these three when they are being wonderful, and even when they are not.  They have taught me what a family is all about—and for that I am truly grateful. I cannot imagine my life without them—even if they cannot find things that are directly in front of them (or a little bit off to the left: read on).

There is a commercial on TV that some people have panned, calling the kids incredibly stupid because they call their mother on the phone and say that they are starving and cannot find anything to eat. The mother responds that yes they can find something— and tells them to just turn their heads to the left and they will find these little frozen pizza packets that will make their lives complete for the moment.

Somehow Mom knew that they had their heads in the freezer, and that they could not find the snack without her help. Some people think this commercial is unrealistic. I am here to tell you that it is not. It is as real as real can be. None of the three people mentioned above (whom I truly am eternally grateful for) can find anything in my house (except of course my hidden cupcakes—but that is another story).

If I want to confuse the men in my family, I merely have to hang their clothes in their closets. When I do that, it is as if their clothes are gone forever. Seriously, I am not kidding. I could go on and on, and give example after example, but they are keepers for far more reasons than they are irritating. And for that, I am most grateful.

Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 12:39 am  Comments (37)  
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Day 22 ~ 200 Words

The Las Vegas Strip World of Coca-Cola museum ...

The Las Vegas Strip World of Coca-Cola museum in 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was too tired to cook tonight, so we ordered two pizzas and cheesy bread and a bottle of Coke. I am waiting for it to be delivered and suffering buyer’s remorse as we speak. The amount of groceries I could have purchased with the money I am wasting on pizza I suppose is not substantial, but it is not a particularly healthy meal.

I have a weakness for Coca Cola and deny myself this elixir most of the time because I know it is not all that good for me—too much sugar–and I read somewhere that it has some mystery ingredients. But pizza just would not be pizza without a Coke or a beer. And I have no beer here except for some Steam Whistle (my youngest son’s favourite) which I find harsh on my ever so delicate palate.

I was supposed to get groceries today, but by the time I got around to it, a storm that was brewing finally down poured and there was lightning and thunder—okay– so I am making excuses…

In summary: TGIF, or as I read in a nephew’s tweet “Thank Buddha It’s Friday”. In celebration I am going to enjoy my transgressions.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 12:24 am  Comments (22)  
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