March 23, 2010

Food - What Happened?!

I just finished watching the first episode of Food Revolution and I'm rather bothered. Actually, I'm appalled! How in the hell did we get here, to this state of being willing to eat food products full of mostly non-food items? In the show, the star (the lovely Jamie Oliver), cleaned out a family's fridge, freezer and cupboard and piled it on the counter. The thing that struck me was the color - all a shade of golden, in other words fried. What happened to an array of lovely colors on the plate? Eating should taste, smell and look good!

Jamie also visited a school. For lunch they were having chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and baked beans. Doesn't sound that bad. Well, the mashed potatoes were actually "potato pearls" reconstituted in water. The ingredients included potatoes and canola oil as well as preservatives, thickeners and lots and lots of salt. The chicken nuggets were processed chicken product plus preservatives. The baked beans, other than the huge amounts of salt and sugar, seemed not so bad.

The lunch lady said that the kids just like it. I'm thinking, kids don't know any better. They like what they are fed and taught to like. If the only thing they are fed is processed food with huge amounts of oil, salt and sugar, of course they choose that over salad when salad is offered. I wanted to scream - they are kids, it's not their choice, that is the adults job - to make the right choice!!!!!

This is yet another reason we chose to move to a farm. Although we could have achieved the same results on this count with a simple backyard garden.

I think everyone knows this, but I've tested it and it is true - if a kid takes part in growing the veggie or fruit, they will actually eat it and like it and then choose it when offered (at school lunch or otherwise). When Jordan was three-years-old, she helped me plant peas. When the pods were ripe, she, I and Jeremy ate the peas (pods and all) right off the vine. She loved them. A few days later I shelled a bunch, cooked them and served them on a plate with BBQ chicken. She looked at the little peas like they were worms, until I said "Those are the same peas you ate the other day." She smiled and ate them up.

So we are continuing to try and eat fresh, local and seasonal. We grow what we can and shop the local produce market for the rest. Jordan asks for strawberries in December and I say no. And I have to explain why (and deal with the rolling eyes of people walking by.) And I make home-cooked dinner every night. It's a butt-load of work to work, come home (45 min commute), feed the animals, make dinner and do homework. Add in swimming lessons, and it's Burgerville time.

Ok, that little rant made me feel better :~) Here is a yummy, quick recipe you can make any work night (30 minutes start to table) --

Pasta with Chicken

2 chicken breasts
olive oil
½ small onion, diced
1 T butter
6 cups water
1 t salt
1/2 box uncooked spaghetti pasta
1 (8oz) pkg fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ c fresh basil, snipped
Parmesan cheese

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 inch thick (this makes cooking time shorter). Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes on each site, turning once, or until done through. During the last 10 minutes, add butter and the diced onions to the pan. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, bring water and salt to boil. Add pasta and cook 7-9 minutes, to al dente. Drain pasta. Cut chicken into bit-sized pieces. Stir chicken, mozzarella and tomatoes into the pasta. Stir in basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top.

Prep to Serve: 30 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

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