Why We Make So Much of Our Food

I have a few hobbies — maybe too many — and so does my wife which gets us into a lot of trouble with the daily upkeep of the house. Dishes piled up, vacuuming always on the overdue task list, never seem caught up on laundry, the list could go on. We frequently discuss with each other all of these things because they usually end up irritating us quite a bit. But then we never drop a hobby or take some of the free time that we do have (which is quite limited with the two little ones) to remove even one of these things from our list. The one that seems it could kill two birds with one stone would be the fact that we try to make as much of our food from scratch as we possibly can. If we stopped this we’d not only have more time to address this laundry list (excuse the pun) but the dishes that are a part of that list would be drastically reduced so we could effectively take two items off the list by stopping this one hobby.

While that sounds great and lovely it just won’t be happening. We eat quite well (if we do say so ourselves) and giving that up for more processed, pre-made and less healthy foods just isn’t in the cards. It’s not that we’re eating 100% organic meals or we’ve got some particular dietary need such as Celiak’s or allergies, we just like knowing every bit of what we’re eating and packaged food just doesn’t allow that to be a reality. We started this trend in our house years ago, before kids, with a small set of recipes that mostly came from Trephaena’s mother’s recipe box. Nacho Skillet, Calico Beans, Tator Tot Hotdish and Hamburger Stroganoff were amongst the frequent dishes. Clearly it’s not that we’re food snobs.

Even with being as intentional as we are about things we still have items in the panty and fridge that have an ingredients list that sounds like the multiple choice answers on my CHEM 201 final. But we have less of that. In this day and age it’s nearly impossible to remove yourself from these ingredients completely. Even if you can do that it means a great deal of money (which isn’t us), a great deal of time (running out of is as previously mentioned) or both. We shop at Linden Hills Coop and the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market whenever we can but that means another stop or separate outing and they generally cost more (although not always as some people assume). We usually base our plans off fresh foods at Target or Cub Foods and sometimes to some packaged items that are just less processed than another option. Like our Hamburger Stroganoff mentioned earlier: we still use canned soup for the sauce for that because making that from scratch just isn’t realistic. But putting that sauce together with the soup, sour cream and spices makes it so we know exactly what is in there and we limit the added sodium and other junk. It’s just all about controlling what you can control.

I’m sure I sound all high on my horse about this and we can’t possibly eat processed food or McDonald’s or something but the fact is that we just don’t do it. We’re not saying people that do are bad or wrong, we just don’t do it. And people often can’t believe some of it (mostly it’s hard for people to believe that I haven’t had McDonald’s since 2004) but once we got ourselves into the groove and your body begins to expect a certain makeup of food the desire to have those other things begins to fade. Not that we don’t love us some french fries or milkshakes (or for me in particular a big greasy burger) but it’s just not part of our regular diet and for that I think we’re happy.

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