Warning: I Feel a Rant Coming On

In July, two Significant Things™ happened: I met the one-of-a-kind Moxy-Boss and saw Food, Inc. Both of those events changed forever the way I think about food and my body and eating.

I now feel quite political about food. Real food. And cooking. And eating. And what those things mean for how I feel about myself and my loved ones.

It’s heavy stuff. But it’s also just food.

So most of the time, I try to contain the ranting to my kitchen and, sometimes (much to Dave’s chagrin), the car when we’re driving on 290 to hit up Sprouts for grass-fed meat.

Next weekend is Dave’s birthday, and we’re using that very special occasion to celebrate with homemade treats prepared with best-quality ingredients and extra scoops of love. I ordered a stash of his favorite ice cream from Ohio, and I’m making Momofuku’s Crack Pie and homemade hot fudge sauce. (Dessert is going to be totally decadent, but for dinner, Dave chose salad and homemade chili. Even when being indulgent, we’re also somewhat sensible.)

[Pie du Crack – sometimes it’s OK to indulge]

I foraged the wilds of the Internet today to find a homemade hot fudge sauce recipe and was horrified to find that even on some of my favorite foodie blogs, the ingredient lists included corn syrup.

Corn syrup!

I simply cannot bring myself to make something in MY OWN KITCHEN that includes corn syrup, so I dug deeper. The winner? Wolfgang Puck. His ingredient list, while by no means dino-chow-friendly, is completely comprised of real food: butter, cream, honey, rum (yum!), and bittersweet chocolate.

Feeling smug about my commitment to high-quality ingredients, I hit up my RSS feeds to see what’s happening, and found this article about a packaged potato salad recall. It made my stomach do a cartwheel (and with my completely absent gymnastics ability and generally cast-iron stomach, that is no small feat).

For the love of Sunbutter and all that is tasty in the world, if people are going to eat (nutritionally bankrupt) potato salad, I wish that they would at least make it from scratch. It’s so easy: boil potatoes, chop onions, mix with mayonnaise (preferably homemade). Done.

So I found myself feeling rant-y. Because 1) so many people think they don’t have time to cook;  and 2) modern life seems designed to make us feel that way; and 3) convenience food is often priced cheaply and filled with “poison;” and 4) and and and…

I wish I could magically join each of you in the kitchen for a fun-filled cooking fest, followed by a frenzied feast (ranting brings on the alliteration) so you non-cooks out there could see how much joy can be found stirring a pot – and you other cooks could teach my your tricks.

I’m not sure how to wrap up this rant, so I’ll just hand you off to the Tipsy Baker. This post about a chicken pot pie taste-off represents the entire food spectrum and highlights the best thing about home cooking: it brings people together to eat and talk and laugh.

Cook. Eat. Love.

[Addendum to the rant (30 minutes later): I spent the first hour of my day in the kitchen making breakfast, dealing a head of red cabbage that needed to be cooked, and packing my food for the day (lunch plus two snacks so I can happily avoid the pizza, champagne, and cheese platter invading our office for various celebrations today).

I will not lie to you, dear readers: I wasn’t happy about it.

It was pretty annoying to wake up and immediately start working in the kitchen.

But as I washed the last cooking utensil and stacked my containers of food in my commuting bag, I did feel a small sense of accomplishment and peace of mind knowing my food was covered for the day.

Yes, real food and home cooking can be a chore – not every meal is the heartwarming, stomach-warming chicken pot pie taste-off. But those special food occasions are the “dayjob” portion of the “rock show” meals that grace our table from time to time.

Seems worth it to me.

[end rant]

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  • Jen says:

    First: it would be amazing to cook, then feast with you! 🙂 Second: good job on the food prep this morning! So many times you just don't feel like doing it, but that sense of accomplishment, and the relief knowing you're covered for the day, makes it worth while. It's sort of just like dragging your butt to the box when you so really truly don't feel like having it handed back to you on a platter ten minutes later by a killer WoD! Third: yesterday, grocery shopping at winco. Margarine on the list. For the three kidlings, not me. The eat pretty damn good – but there's still some processed foods in their diet. It's sort of a hard line to toe…don't want to be so militant that you screw 'em up!…but yesterday, some little switch flipped and I literally COULD NOT buy that tub of crap for them. I read the ingredients on about 5 different brands and was disgusted. So I went home, pulled a stick of butter out of the freezer and there we go! I think now all that's left is syrup and frozen waffles. 🙂

  • Jen says:

    oh…and damn you! 🙂 Now I'm desperately scouring my brain for a Crack Pie worthy occasion somewhere in the very near future! 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    1. Good on you for walking away from the margarine. EXCELLENT!

    2. The first step in making the Crack Pie is to make cookies! What's better than that?!

  • Jen says:

    I saw that! mmmmmm! and I never realized you had written a book! just saw Whip It with my daughter this weekend and we loved it! So I just ordered your book for both of us to read. Can't wait for it to get here!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Cool! Thanks for ordering the book. Be sure to let me know what you think!

  • Erin Clare says:

    Crack. Pie. Yum. I would eat this pie… and I hate pies almost as much as I hate pudding.

    And amen, sister, regarding the reasons we seem to feel pressed when it comes to cooking our own meals! There is nothing cheap about eating healthy. Modern conveniences to help expedite our lifestyles require modern money to spend on them. And that money comes from the modern day job that seems to keep us away a bit longer than necessary from our families, our gyms, ourselves. Suddenly, finding the time to get in the kitchen and take advantage of it is replaced by (insert excuse here). And now I'm ranting. 🙂

    You are accomplished in so many ways which is why I think those daily achievements, like prepping your meals this morning, is related to the larger successes in your life.

    And then of course there is Crack. Pie. Yum!

  • meghan says:

    That's what makes me so angry about the whole raw milk thing. Whether or not you think dairy has a place in your own diet, HOW can the government be cracking down so hard on small farmers and preventing them from making a living on raw milk claiming that it's a "health hazard" and "dangerous" when processed foods and CAFO meat are CONSTANTLY being recalled for salmonella and other poisons? GRRRRR…..

  • jencereghino says:

    I have this frustration with a few of my friends and family members who often say to me, "I would totally eat better…if I had the time". To that I say, "Record your favorite nighttime show(s) and watch it in half the time…there's 15+ minutes, that could be used to chop/prep…and forgo your Facebook obsession for one night…there's, well, an infinite amount of food prep time".

    And, involve your kids, nieces, nephews in the whole process and they'll usually at least try your healthy creation! What I'm finding, though, is that knowledge (or lack of knowledge) is the biggest factor in the transition from unhealthy to healthy eating. The fact the so many people still associate "low-fat" with healthy is so sad to me, but along with you I will continue to live by example, increase my food knowledge, and spread the word! 🙂