I grew up in a non-traditional household. By that I mean my mom worked full-time and my dad was a stay at home dad. They weren’t parents when their work role-reversal took place, and the main reason behind it was because after Daddy got laid off from Boeing the last time, Mom said she didn’t want to move ever again. I came along about six years later. I won’t do a total breakdown of what each of them did, but Mom didn’t have to do much more than work, and Dad took care of nearly everything else: finances, yard work, gardening, auto maintenance, most house work (he wouldn’t dust), plumbing, electrical, and he did a lot of handyman stuff around the community & family. Anyway, before that all happened, he had taken over the cooking because he complained about Mom’s cooking one too many times, and she said, “Fine, you do it.” And he did. She’s not a bad cook either, but neither was he. In fact, I haven’t ever had a pie as good as one of his, particularly apple pie.
We ate very little “processed” food. He would buy pasta rather than make it, and ironically, Mom taught me how to make homemade pasta. Our meat came from the grocery store, as did our milk, eggs, & cheese. But rarely did we ever have store-bought vegetables. Daddy raised a fairly large garden for a family of 3, and we ate veggies from it year round. Except for cabbage (cooked, I would eat it raw) & bell peppers, I ate everything that came out of his garden. It was all so good. In fact, everything he cooked was good (except for chocolate gravy & neither was Mom’s). In mentioning that to my mom one day, she said, “He put sugar in everything.” Store-bought, white, processed sugar. That would explain why once when I was eating spaghetti, I had the urge to add sugar. I didn’t add it, I just wanted to. And, no, I don’t put sugar in everything, but I do occasionally sneak in just a teaspoon of raw cane sugar in stuff – enough to enhance, but not be noticeable.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to write today, but I had an email conversation about healthy eating and how to avoid MSG & artificial additives, and was reminded of the putting sugar in everything conversation. Actually, that is the second conversation I’ve had over healthy/clean eating this week, and it just blows my mind because this time last year I was not paying any attention at all to what I ate aside from attempting portion control…and failing at it miserably. But really, it is not only expensive, but difficult to eat clean and healthy in today’s American society. To avoid additives, pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified stuff, you have to do a lot of research and read the labels on EVERYTHING. It is such a challenge in our house because the hubby & I ate almost exclusively processed food for years because it was cheap. (I still gag at the thought of eating Hamburger Helper.) So of course, that’s all the kids had, and now that’s pretty much all they want. So after I go through the “trouble” of researching, and reading labels, and cooking from scratch (made even more difficult for me having to avoid gluten), the hubby is the only one who will eat what I cook unless I good steak or bake a Cornish hen. Both kids will eat steak, and the daughter will eat most chicken.
It frustrates me that I grew up on predominately home grown fruits & vegetables, but got so caught up in convenience at the expense of health. Yes, that is the ultimate cost. That’s another thing my doctor told me. Eating grass fed, hormone free meats and fresh fruits and vegetables may cost more now, but won’t cost as much as medication 20 years from now. But it is still hard in the here and now to eat right because it is time-consuming planning meals and then actually cooking them, and it is fairly expensive.
I really need to set aside the time to prepare a garden plot…