I picked up this book the other day called, The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World, by Betsy Block (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008). If you want to be completely neurotic about everything you put into your mouth and the mouths of your loved ones, then read this book.
Actually, it is a very interesting memoir of a woman with two young children and a loving husband. Betsy decides to give her family a dinner table makeover.
She concludes that they should eat only local, sustainable, healthy, and toxin free foods. Once she begins her research and finds out what she would need to do to make this happen, she realizes it is nearly impossible (especially in Boston, Massachusetts in the middle of winter).
The finished cheese and herb biscuit ring is pictured here.
I love to read books like this, not because I want to do this with my family (they would definitely kick me out of the kitchen ... if not the house), but because I like to take bits of these ideas and implement what I can into making my family healthier.
I couldn't imagine getting so caught up in whether or not my child ate a fruit roll up at school or if another mom gave my son a Cheez-It at a swim lesson.
Please, I love Cheez-Its.
Cheese and herb biscuit ring
Time: 45 minutes
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into inch cubes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Mix together flour, salt, nutmeg, Herbs de Provence, thyme and garlic. In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to boil. Remove from heat and add dry ingredients. Beat with a wooden spoon until well blended and pulls away from sides. Place pan over low heat and cook for two minutes mixing constantly. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Gradually add them to the flour mixture, one spoonful at a time. Add the cheese and mix well while the cheese melts. Use a tablespoon to form small balls and place them into a ring on the sheet. Bake for thirty minutes.
That kind of stress isn't my cup of tea. I just do the best that I can. Heck, I have a child who only likes sugar and meat. How do I work with that?
In fact, I got so excited the other day when Jack said he would eat a piece of manicotti for lunch. I was waiting for the usual, "what am I going to eat?"
Then, I realized it was cheese and pasta. That's not the healthiest meal. I was just pleased he was allowing variation into his diet.
Then, the book went on to tell me that my healthy vegetarian might in fact be eating contaminated unsustainable fish. I was always so happy that I could whip up a quick fish fillet and some salad or broccoli for Daphne and felt like I was really helping to make her healthy.
Then, I learn more about farming vs. wild, chemicals, and over fishing. It's a lot to take in.
Yesterday, I ran across an article all about cruciferous vegetables and their health benefits.
I love broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies, so I read on to see how great they are for our health and fighting cancer.
Turns out, the doctor who wrote the article recommends eating six servings of fresh fruit each day as well as eight servings of vegetables. Two of these vegetable servings should be cruciferous and one cruciferous vegetable should be raw. Seriously?
I don't know if I could afford to keep my kitchen stocked with that kind of produce. That's a lot of fruits and vegetables per day for four people. I thought about trying this out for one week.
That is 686 servings of fruit and vegetables in one week! This is if no one else comes over during the week and eats any of the fruit and vegetables in our house. I wonder what that would cost?
Anyway, all of this reading is enjoyable and I may follow a plan for eating local and sustainable for a week or eating this amount of fruits and vegetables for a week to see how it goes; but, can anyone really maintain this lifestyle for the entire family?
It is a good goal to work toward. I will take all of this valuable information and implement what I can.
For example, I will buy local whenever possible (no sense in trucking, boating, or flying food around when we can get it here).
I have decided that although we do (when I say "we" I don't mean Jack) eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, perhaps it is not sufficient.
I am going to start putting more into our diet. In the meantime, I am just going to be my regular old self.
So today, when some wonderful friends arrived for lunch and a swim, I decided to whip up some small herb and cheese biscuits as a quick snack before lunch.
Yes, I used butter and cheese in these.
Although I did use fresh herbs, there was no sign of a vegetable or a fruit in this snack.
Did I mention they were small? I don't have a clue where the flour I used came from. The cheese and butter were local.
The eggs ... not so much.
See, now I am feeling guilty. That's okay, next time I'll buy the local eggs (note to self). Hey, I did serve them with a bowl of local farm fresh tomatoes.
Afterwards, I grilled tons of vegetables and served them with lunch.