Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Family is the Most Sustainable Form of Energy

Everything around us has to be green, recycled or sustainable. What I see expressed in a lot of families is that someone else cooks their food, from fast food, to frozen waffles, to school lunches, to prefab meals eaten in front of the tv. I do not believe this is helpful and it certainly isn't wholesome. Sometimes these fast food meals and even the ever more market driven school meals are marketed as wholesome because they have some fruit in them or some cooked milk or because the packaging is 33% post consumer. I am not saying that the fast food folks and the usda school meals aren't trying to offer more wholesome choices, but they can only go so far as their marketing will work.I am also thankful for our school lunch programs for those kids who do not get food of any kind at home

When I was a kid (admittedly in the last millenium) In our public school we had an amazing soup once per week. It was tomato and cabbage based, cooked slowly all night with meaty soup bones and lots more veggies added. It was served with a hand made roll that had raised all morning on the counters in the kitchen, the aroma of which was the only advertising the lunchroom ladies needed to get us there. We were fairly mutineeing by the time they were done! Because it was the south, there was also buttered cornbread. For desert, we had canned peaches. Now all of those foods have gone out of vogue and most kids would be too cool to eat this in front of their peers. We knew all about cool in my day too, but we came from homes where our moms really cooked. Layered salads, rich soups, stews and casseroles, fruit with whipped cream and milk or at our house, sweet tea to wash it down with. It was good food eaten at the table with our siblings and our parents. It tasted much better some times because the topics of conversation were better. Good report cards, getting the yard cut or the windows trimmed out. There were times when sad things had happened, when there was moral failure, disagreements between parents and kids. These meals were seasoned with blandness and dryness, regardless of how wonderful they'd been moments before the negative announcement.

Today, our families are so fragmented that there seems nothing sustainable about them. Even my home, where we have made the sacrifices to educate our children at home and to limit outside activities to church and one or 2 extracurricullar activities per year. We try very hard to have the bulk of our day sharing education, ideas, debate and agreement as well as wholesome, unprocessed home grown food and herbs. We try to find what we need nearby and not spend a lot of time getting places and buying foods that have travelled thousands of miles to get to us. Even then, with our family being intentionally zealous of our family time and our meal times, it is a rare day that at least one person is not grabbing a sandwich on the run to get to a meeting somewhere.

What about those families who haven't given an intentional thought to sustainable family living? I think they could gradually change. Lets start with the frozen waffles. Rather than go to the store to buy them. The family could buy good freshly ground flour, excellent oils, fresh eggs (or better yet grow your
own) a good whole foods cook book such as Nourishing Traditions. Then, one or two Saturdays per month the family could gather in their jammies for juice and waffles. One team could juice apple, carrot and ginger while the other family made the whole wheat waffles. The waffle team will make enough to have 2 or 3 meals worth, left over. This family is all hands on deck contributing to the health, entertainment and enjoyment of the family and enough forthought has gone into it to freeze waffles to throw in the toaster several times next week. This will provide a number of healthy, minimally packaged, very sustainable meals for this family. It can also save a lot of money if the leftover waffles cause the family to drive past McDonalds without stopping.

Something similar can be figured in for dinner several nights per week with extra meat or veggies going into the pot for lunches later in the week. Prep time, cook time, meal time are all valuable family time. The leftover lunches will have much less msg, fat, and salt than the fast food lunch it most likely replaces.

I hope that someone will try something like this. Turn off the tv. Put away anything that rings, vibrates or requires ear buds. Sit whereever you are comfortable and have a meal. Let people talk. Even little people, even people whose hair is painted a funny color or who do not like to talk. Let everyone have his voice in between the bites of the food that was prepared at home ...with love and care.

Try this for a while and let me know what happens.

God bless you!

our fruit bowl with labels still on

1 comment:

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Hey Lawana,
I have just now had time to sit down and fully read your blog. 8~)
Thank you for some things to "think upon" and act upon.
Hope you are feeling better.
Praying that God will give you many more words to write as you recovery from surgery.
Love ya,
Mommy 2