Is cooking for your kids a ‘moral imperative’?

A few weeks ago Michael Pollan wrote for The New York Times Magazine this amazing story examining cooking in America – or more accurately the lack of cooking in America. The story was timed to the release of the movie “Julie and Julia.” It was a super long story and covered a lot of ground.

The part that caught my eye was his examination of why many parents are not cooking for their families anymore, how this trend developed in America and how it is affecting our children.

He points out in one part of the story that women used to view cooking as a moral imperative on par with childcare. That not cooking for your family was a dereliction of duty.

If you have the time, Pollan’s entire article is well worth reading but for our discussion here are a few of the more salient points:

“Yes, women with jobs outside the home spend less time cooking – but so do women without jobs. The amount of time spent on food preparation in America has fallen at the same precipitous rate among women who don’t work outside the home as it has among women who do: in both cases, a decline of about 40 percent since 1965.”

Pollan quotes from Laura Shapiro’s Book “Something from the oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America” which said that the food industry tried to “persuade millions of Americans to develop a lasting taste for meals that were a lot like field rations.”

“After World War II, the food industry labored mightily to sell American women on all the processed-food wonders it had invented to feed the troops: canned meals, freeze-dried foods, dehydrated potatoes, powdered orange juice and coffee, instant everything.”

Shapiro makes the point in her book that the shift toward industrial cookery was NOT in response to the demands of newly working women entering the work force BUT as a supply-driven phenomenon from these food companies!

Pollan goes on to say that it took years of clever, continuous marketing to break down that resistance.

Toward the end of the article, Pollan examines how our not cooking is adversely affecting our families.

“As 2003 study by a group of Harvard economists led by David Cutler found that the rise of food preparation outside the home could explain most of the increase in obesity in America.”

Simply what the study found was that foods that were difficult or time consuming to make were often ones that are bad for us – such as the French fry or the donut.  It’s a big pain to fry donuts or French fries at home. So foods that used to be cooked and served occasionally became everyday foods when you could buy them mass produced and not have to cook them for yourself.

Cutler found that obesity rates are inversely correlated to the amount of time spent preparing food.

The last quote in the story says basically if you want to lose weight, only eat the food you actually cook yourself. (I’m not sure I completely agree with this point. I bake a lot of homemade cakes and cookies and they aren’t making me any thinner.)

There’s a lot to chew on in this article. (HeHeHe. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)  So what do you think:

Do you cook for your family? If so, how often? How much from scratch and how much is it “assembling,” or putting together pre-prepped foods?  If you were not working outside the home would it change the amount you are cooking?

Do you buy this argument that it’s a massive marketing campaign over a period of years that convinced American families to turn to more processed foods or do you believe the change is based on ease and time savings that working families needed? Is it supplier driven or consumer driven?

Is there a “moral imperative” to cook? Do you buy Pollan’s assertion that if you cooked for your family they would be healthier – the rule if you can make it from scratch you can eat it?

70 comments Add your comment

Kat

August 25th, 2009
9:51 pm

Not only does our family spend WAY too much $$$ on food, we spend far more calories on it as well. The only “benefit” is time saved; but if you think about it, you wouldn’t have to spend as much extra time exercising later if you eat less (and/or fewer calories) at each meal. I remember our family sitting together, praying, eating dinner with NO television on (that was the rule). Just thinking about those times makes me smile. Just thinking about how I’m bringing up my own family makes me cringe!

DB

August 25th, 2009
11:05 pm

We ate dinner at home, at the kitchen table, about 5 times a week when the kids were at home and in school. I cooked about half the time, my husband cooked the other half. I like to bake, he likes to experiment with different meats. The last couple of years of high school, dinner ended up being LATE — as in 8 pm or so — due to all the sports practices, etc., but thanks to crock pots, there was always SOMETHING to eat. I liked to go out to eat on Saturday evenings and for Sunday lunch, on the way home from church, but otherwise — if you didn’t like it, you were welcome to cook the next meal.

My children informed me that I was bizarre for getting up and fixing them breakfast — it was usually fresh apple-cinnamon muffins, fruit smoothies or fresh biscuits with last nights ham, or the occasinal omelet — they aren’t big cereal eaters. But I liked getting them off to school.

I just loved having everyone around the table, talking about the day, arguing about politics during the Presidential elections, talking about music, the latest movies, etc., etc. It was my favorite time of the day.

Especially with the rule that “whoever cooks, doesn’t clean”!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 25th, 2009
11:35 pm

DB — love your breakfast ideas — you’re making me hungry!!!

BlondeHoney

August 25th, 2009
11:59 pm

Great topic Theresa :) I always cooked for my two boys, but I LOVE to cook and that’s what drives me still today. I have always worked full time with the exception of the the 6 weeks leave per child, and I always found the time to make sure my boys had a hot breakfast, a great lunch packed for them and dinner every night. Like I said, I love to cook so it was a challenge that I took on gladly but it wasn’t easy. It meant making a double or triple batch of pancakes on Sunday & freezing the rest or doubling up on pasta or soup or whatever and leftovers in a thermos. The great thing that I take the most pride in is that my boys preferred the lunch I packed for them over cafeteria food. Outcome is my boys are slim, healthy and most of all EAT healthy and yes, I believe there is massive marketing campaigns but no conspirancy theories; just companies who have products to sell.

FCM

August 26th, 2009
4:28 am

I spent way to much in calories and $$$ doing the takeout/dine out. I paid cash but I also paid the price in other ways. The NICE part was that we did at least sit as a family.

Just before school started back I started cooking again. Many times good food — pork roast, rice, and green beans, gets a snub from those I made it for. However, they seem to be getting used to the idea that its not what you want tonight–its what is served. The ‘we wants’ are reserved as meal ideas for other nights.

We all like the added time we get from coming straight home rather than going out.

I have a fair mix of prepared vs. scratch. For example, frozen veggies pared with meat I cooked. Or when we do breakfast for dinner, it could be frozen waffles with fresh sliced fruit (that’s tonight’s plan). When I am home (vacation time) I tend to cook. I have always cooked a big breakfast on the weekends…along with one other meal and sandwiches for the 3rd one.

As to the from scratch: I like it because I can control the salt and fat. However, the simplicity of pre-cut veggies is a lifesaver on a work outside the house Mom. The crockpot is another lifesaver. The flip side is a cake mix like thing….I can make a yummy cake from scratch, but with a cake mix that tastes just as good (if you know what your doing and doctor it) why bother with the mess and added time? Same thing with yeast rolls, when we have those I do Sister Schuberts instead of homemade about 90% of the time.

Bottom line is that it your responsibility to eat well, and to get your children to do the same. So be careful what you put into your body.

Kathy

August 26th, 2009
8:12 am

I don’t love to cook (but I love to bake….it is in my genes), but I want my family to have inexpensive, healthy meals. We will have Chick-fil-A or Domino’s one night a week. We eat out way less since I started staying home…..just too expensive. My favorite time of the day is dinner when the three of us sit down to eat with no TV and talk about our day. My hubby loves to hear Little E talk about what she and mommy did all day.

DB…..my Dad saw us off to school when my brother and I were younger and he made us a great breakfast everyday…..French toast, waffles, eggs, pancakes……I miss the days of having my Daddy make me breakfast! My brother and I loved it.

FCM…..adding to what you said about being careful about what you put in your body…..Dr. Oz was on Good Morning America yesterday discussing the healthcare reform debate. His position is that REAL reform has to start with individual Americans taking responsibility for their own health. By this he means taking better care of your body so that you don’t have to rely on doctors such as heart surgeon (like himself) to fix the problems that you could have avoided had you adopted a better lifestyle. I think that needs to start with eating at home and learning to prepare food in healthy ways and making better choices about what you are eating. Oh a little exercise never hurts!

JJ

August 26th, 2009
8:21 am

Well, I’ve said this a ton of times before, but here I go again….

I LOVE TO COOK!!!!! Every Sunday I get the paper, clip my coupons, and see what’s on sale at Publix. Then I make my weekly menu, make a grocery list, and hit the store.

I cook just about every night. Now that my child is off to college, I still cook for myself, every night, salad included.

However, I keep a stash of frozen pizzas (Love them), and a couple Lean Cusines in the freezers for those rare times I don’t want to cook a meal.

I’m bad about breakfast during the week, usually it’s a Yogurt. Weekends, I like to run to Krispy Kreme and get a dozen donuts, and they will last all weekend (my downfall,,,,,warm Krispy Kreme donuts)…….insert Homer Simpson drool here…….

But, when my daughter was home, we had dinner together every night, at the dining room table. Her last year at home, sometimes we ate in the living room in front of the tv. But we always ate together……

I grew up eating dinner with the entire family. Both my parents worked, and mom usually was in charge of dinner. We ate at the table, and as we got older, the tv was on, but it was the evening news…..and we always went out to eat on Friday nights.

Andrea

August 26th, 2009
8:30 am

I absolutely love to cook – so I cook every day. We do eat out but since we have been budget crunching, we don’t eat out much at all. It is really a treat when we go out to eat! My mother drilled it in our heads that we can’t leave the house without eating breakfast, so I do make sure they eat a good breakfast everyday. I do the breakfast casseroles (which can be prepared the night before and just cooked in the morning), I also do the breakfast parfaits – yogurt, granola or plain cheerios, and fresh fruit. It doesn’t have to be complicated. I work outside of the home so time constraints don’t allow me to cook a three course breakfast every day but with planning, you can easily cook everyday.

I always plan the meals in advance and alot of time, the meat is seasoned and prepped before it is frozen so that makes it easier. I don’t do the convenience meals but I will buy frozen veggies and frozen dinner breads. Because I love to cook, I make at least 90% of the meals from scratch. I live in the country so fresh veggies and fruits are plentiful. I prep the fruits and vegetables before I freeze them. We do Family Fun Night twice a month and on those nights, the kids get to make the menu. It is still cooked from scratch (so I can sneak veggies in!) but I do let them make the menu.

With the advances in culinary tools, I can get a meal to the table in no time. The things I absolutely love: The George Foreman grill and the rotisserie machine, the crock pot, the dutch oven and my most beloved items are the cast iron pieces I got from my grandmother! It is so worth it to invest in good cookware.

I read the article and while I do agree that having a dinner together is important, I think somewhere the author shifted from passionate to zealous. Yes, I made it a requirement that we sit down and eat together but it is not a huge issue for us, it’s just what we do. I do agree that we as parents are wholly responsible for not only our own eating habits but also our children’s eating habits. I don’t buy the argument that cooking scratch meals will make you any thinner. A balanced diet and a non-sedentary lifestyle makes you thinner. As an avid cook, I can assure you, you will NEVER lose one ounce eating some of the desserts I bake from scratch. With the butter, sugar, the real cream, I can take decadent to another level! I know how to cook healthy, but I also know how to make sinful comfort food.

I think American families became dependent on processed foods as our lives became more overscheduled. It is not impossible to make time for home prepared meals. It comes down to a matter of choice – do you want to do it or not?

RJ

August 26th, 2009
8:31 am

I am really trying to stop buying fast food. I was getting really bad at this because we were getting home so late. But, my midsection started to grow! So, I make it a point to cook now. Yesterday is a great example. I got home late and had to get the kids to sports practice. I was tempted to go to Zaxby’s,but I chose to throw on some spaghetti using wheat pasta and a salad. I felt better about that decision. Not only did I save money, I saved many calories!

As a kid my mom always cooked. McDonald’s was a real treat when we got it! It’s funny how they will gladly take my kids to the nearest fast food joint or order pizza. Why didn’t this happen when I was a kid lol!

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
8:35 am

I confess that I did not read the entire article. I will tackle it later.

I DID see the move Julie and Julia, with my daughter on Saturday and we loved it.

My mother was a good cook. She did not really know how to cook when she got married at 18 EEEK. BUT she taught herself and was defined by her cooking ….everyone knew her by her cooking and since she never worked outside the house….she COOKED…from the mid 60’s on.

I cook because I know it is better for my family both in the food we eat ( probably too much and is that better) and in the time we share. I am delighted that my daughter is taking it up now. She is 17 and cooked most of Thanksgiving last fall….except the Turkey, We love to watch the Food Network Shows.

DB, I am with you in cooking 5 nights so per week BUT I do not do breakfast. I am up but my kids are not into breakfast…drink milk or juice and eat fruit, IMHO 3 stars for you!

My own Mother stopped getting up with us when I was 9 and my sister was 6. We bickered in the morning ( imagine it…two sisters) and she said we could get ourselves off from then on. We got ourselves up, dressed and walked 4 blocks to the bus in Chicago, I guess this is when I started being in charge….LOL. We ate oatmeal or cereal.

Anyway, I am disappointed at how few families actually eat together and I mentioned this yesterday. I am enjoying all of the fresh fruits and veggies so much this summer….we have them almost every night. My husband is not a big fresh eater, as he never ate it growing up. He has learned to like more things.

I think, lots of food preferences are determined while you are a child.

FYI some kids have no idea what so many foods even taste like as they have eat dinner at fast food joints for most of their lives. This is so sad,

JJ

August 26th, 2009
8:56 am

Andrea, I have THREE George Foreman Grills……LOVE THEM.

JJ

August 26th, 2009
8:58 am

MJG – I saw the movie Saturday with my Mom too…..what theater were you at? We were at Mall of GA at the 1:15 show……

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
9:08 am

Same place same time….hahaha!

My son has a George Foreman and he cooks with it, He is a much better eater now that he lost 50 pounds. He ate a lot of junk food ( his choice) in HS but now actually eats things like fresh spinach. I guess there is some hope for kids who were not into veggies. We DO eat veggies all kinds….but I was never a YOU HAVE TO CLEAN YOUR PLATE because there are children in Africa who do not have food ( some of you will not get this) Mom. I asked them to try a bite of everything…just to see if they liked it.

Theresa…I am still waiting for DB’s e-mail and would LOVE to get it before I am on the road each week….thanks! She did say you can pass it along.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 26th, 2009
9:18 am

MJG — I emailed it to you last week from the gmail account — look and make sure — if you don’t see it, I will do it again but I swear I sent it!!

Cammi317

August 26th, 2009
9:22 am

In May, June & July of this year alone, my daughter and I probably spent about $1,000/month eating out. I was just not in the mood for cooking during that time. Because she and I both have to manage our weight, we opted for healthier meals which equaled more expensive meals. Dinner plates from Whole Foods, sit down restaurants, grilled chicken salads from Zaxby’s, etc. Sweets however are my vice. I don’t keep them in the house, but I was buying them far to often while we were dining out. I could live off of Bruster’s New York Cheesecake ice cream. I felt guilty for not only not cooking for my daughter, but also for all of the money that I spent eating out. Those three months were the worst, but over the past two years we were eating out 3-4 times a week. For a good amount of that time, I was looking for quick and not always making the most healthy choices. I could have paid off all of my bills and sat some money aside for all of the eating out we have done over the last two years. Since school has started back, I have made a conscious effort to cook during the school week. We still eat out on Friday night and Saturdays, but try to stick to better choices.

Patrick

August 26th, 2009
9:23 am

Growing up we were too poor to go out to eat frequently. Ordering a pizza or bringing home fast food was to us what sitting down to a porterhouse would be to some people. The only time I really remember us having pizza was on nights my dad had to work late spraying for the landscape company he worked for, and my mom and I being the only ones home. Once in a while we ordered pizza when he was home, maybe on a Friday or Saturday night if neither one felt like cooking.

As for eating out at any kind of restaurant, we mainly did that on anniversaries, birthdays, and a few other times, if no one felt like cooking. The only other time we ate out was if my grandma was with us, after we went to go see some Disney or other movie. If it was just my mom, grandma, and I, the routine was usually Chinese and then a movie. Once in a while we did other places, like Olive Garden or Longhorn. When my grandma and I would visit my great-grandparents down in Monticello, we’d eat at the restaurant near High Falls, I think it was called Falls View or words to that effect.

Nowadays my parents order pizza about once a month, and they bring home Arby’s or Hardee’s about once a month. It’s more frequent than in the past.

Also, I grew up in a home where my dad was the primary cook. My mom didn’t because she didn’t have the confidence. Nowadays she does more of the cooking than he does. When I moved back in with them a couple years ago, I thought it strange that she was doing the cooking now instead of him. He’ll still do it now and then, especially on Thanksgiving (cornbread dressing and homemade dinner rolls are his specialty). He often does stews, chili, cornbread, and spaghetti.

Once in a blue moon I’ll cook. We had pot roast this past Saturday that I cooked in the crock pot (one of the greatest inventions ever), with a recipe that makes a gravy as it cooks, and makes the roast so tender no knives are required. My major thing is the gingerbread cookies I do every Christmas. The house will then smell of gingerbread for a few days. The house I used to live in smelled of gingerbread from when I baked the cookies in mid-December up until the start of the new year.

One show we absolutely love to watch is “America’s Test Kitchen” and their supplemental show “Cook’s Country”. Both air on PBS, usually on Saturday afternoons between 2 and 3 PM. They have some great recipes and ideas on how to prepare meals. The best thing about them is they tell you how to prepare a fool-proof meal. Their website says something about that you don’t need hundreds of recipes for roast chicken…you need one that actually works. We’ve tried some of the recipes they’ve featured, including a pie crust made with vodka and water (instead of all water), biscuits, fried chicken with a real good crunchy batter, and a few other things.

As for breakfast, the only time I had a real home-cooked breakfast was when I visited my great-grandparents in Monticello, or my grandparents in Alabama. My great-granddad would fry up a couple of eggs, sausage or bacon (can’t remember which), make toast, and also give me some applesauce. Homemade applesauce for the most part, although I do clearly remember seeing the can or jar of Lucky Leaf on the table. My grandma in Alabama would do the breakfast there, and it was nearly the same: eggs, bacon (or sausage), toast, and juice. At home it was just cold cereal, usually Cheerios during the school week, but some sugar-loaded cereal (now fortified with extra sugar! Fruit-flavored or chocolate-flavored sugar! Beg your parents for some today! If they won’t buy it for you, get on the floor in the supermarket and throw a tantrum! Make sure other shoppers are looking.) during the weekend and school holidays. Once in a while I would have something different, especially when I was older and able to make some of my own breakfast. In the winter months it was usually plain oatmeal with sugar and raisins, or I’d ask my parents for the apple cinnamon oatmeal.

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
9:25 am

Nothing here but who knows. The last one I have is from August 11….

Becky

August 26th, 2009
9:29 am

I love to cook and I cook 5-6 nights per week..On the weekends we cook breakfast..The girl (7) loves to cook and always wants to make biscuits..She has her own apron and step stool and we spend a lot of time together cooking..She knows just how to mix everything for making biscuits, she just needs more practice..

Like others, I do most everyhting from scratch..I will use mixes for a few things..We do try to eat healthy, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way though..My husband (in the last month) lost 3 inches in his waist and I’m trying to take some inches off also..

Andrea, I use cast iron for all of my cooking..I wouldn’t know how to cook with anything else..I have one non stick pan that I use to cook fish in..Spray it with Pam, put the fish in with cajun seasoning, serve with rice and green beans..Yummy..

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
9:38 am

A Becky…you made me laugh….I would not know how to use a cast iron skillet if someone wacked me over the head with it.

It is so great that your girl likes to cook….you can enjoy it with her.

I am a griller and would not know what to cook if we did not have our gas grill on the back porch. Started grilling when we lived in Texas and just continued here. I love just about anything grilled: chicken, pork, salmon, steak, hamburgers, fajitas, bratwurst, even veggies!

My mother did NOT know how to fry chicken. She was a Yankee by birth but we moved to the farm when I was in HS. She came to visit me in college and I asked her to watch the chicken a bit…she replied, “what do I do with it?”

I learned to bake bread, pick blackberries myself and then make a pie and even clean a chicken
( remove the feathers) while I was Home EC in HS in Arkansas. We moved there from Chicago…a shock!

JJ

August 26th, 2009
9:42 am

Publix has these awesome hamburgers, stuffed with shredded cheese and bacon…..they were demo’ing them the other day, so I bought two.

I fried one up in the pan, but ended up breaking it into smaller “chunks”. I had it with white rice, and some corn, and a little salad……

One of my all time easy meals, is a hamburger patty on top of a mound of white rice, with brown gravy poured over it………YUM-O!!!! I could eat that almost every night.

I bought a HUGE package of pork chops the other day. I think I froze like 6 pieces, and cooked two last night. I ate one chop, and put the other away for tonight’s dinner.

Minute Rice makes individual rice cups, and you pop them into the microwave for 1 minute. FABULOUS!!!!!! They come in White, yellow & wild rice flavors.

MJG – that’s funny we were at the same movie at the same time. I thought the movie was cute, but probably won’t rush out to purchase the DVD. Merryl Streep was dead on Julia Childs. I actually thought it was the original Julia…….cute movie……

gpkbsin

August 26th, 2009
9:59 am

I hate cooking but I cook dinner most of the days. my husband cooks the rest of the days. we go out once a week on wednesday to break the work week in half.. motivates us to cook the rest of the week. we eat out maybe once in the weekend.. so we cook the rest of the weekend meals at home. lunch is usually left over from last night. I still make a fresh lunch every morning for my kid who goes to daycare. We don’t cook at home to save money. We only cook at home because my mom told me only one thing when my first kid was born “cook for your kids. don’t give ‘em frozen foods and don’t give them restaurant food all the time”. somehow its stuck in the back of my head and I really like that my kids will eat home cooked food. We cook everything from scratch and all vegetarian.

Sitting together at the dinning table is great. since we have little kids, we are still are too busy feeding one or the other child but hopefully we will benefit in future. Also, our one kid loves to help out in the kitchen (he isn’t even 3 yet). He wants to roll, stir, sift, pour .. everything. hopefully the next one will do that too. and then hopefully when they are 10 they can make their own noodles and i won’t have to worry about lunch on weekends :).

Becky

August 26th, 2009
10:09 am

@MJG, I grill also..Have you ever cooked bread on a grill? That’s a fun thing to try..I am so glad that she loves to cook..She wants me and her to go on a cooking show and make biscuits..She can crack an egg with the best of them..

I don’t think I could ever clean a chicken..I have been making cornbread since I was 7 and would cook it for my Dad..My Mother was a great cook..IMO..She did a lot of true southern cooking, never followed a recipe, never measured anything, it was just mixed and cooked..I may not be a gourmet cook, but I will try anything..

mom3

August 26th, 2009
10:10 am

I think it is very important for the family to sit down for the evening meal together. However, the older the kids get, and the more activities they are in, the harder it gets. I still cook almost everynight – but we don’t all manage to sit down together. There are usually two shifts – those that have to eat before their activity, and those that have to eat after their activity. I’ll cook for the early shift and leave the food on the stove for the late shift.

Sure, it would be easier to eat out more – but who has the money for that these days?!?! And, I don’t think there is the same intimacy that comes from eating around your kitchen table. Then there is the health concerns of eating out. As my momma always said “Easier is almost never better.”

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
10:10 am

@ JJ…yes, Publix has a great sale this week. BOGO is fabulous. I bought all sorts of stuff.
You can have the hamburger and rice dish all to yourself….haha.

In my presentations, as a mixer, I often ask “what is one thing you could eat very day…if it would be available…” It is fun to hear what people say…mine would be salad…I love it.

Perhaps some could share ( with their post) today and this would not be a hijack as we are talking about food. I use this illustration to stress that children will talk if there is a topic they are interested in….adults too….especially food. Perhaps this is why Julia was so successful as people connect through food and mealtime ( I am sure this has already been said!)

@gpkbsin …I am really enjoying a new dimension at our dinner table. My son heard a guest speaker from the CDC yesterday in class. I have a feeling we will learn a lot while he hangs out with us. Our neighbor’s son eats with us a few night per week and he is 8. I love the spectrum of elementary, high school and professional school…so much to keep up with!

JJ

August 26th, 2009
10:14 am

If you teach your kids good eating habits, it will carry them for the rest of their lives.

My mom was a nurse, so we ate very healthy meals. There was always a meat, two veggies, a starch and of course, a salad.

I carried that into my adult life, and have now passed that to my daughter. Even at college, she gets herself a salad with her dinners……I’m not at all worried about the “Freshman 15″ for her. I believe she will come home, having LOST the 15……WOO HOO. She has a lot of walking to her classes from the dorm, and the dorm is at the bottom of a hill. She has to walk up hill to her classes, about three times a day……

I admit I do get a bit lazy during summer, and I don’t really want my oven heating up the kitchen. I don’t have a grill……but I do a lot of Tuna salads, chicken salads, etc. Or sometimes just a salad when it’s really hot.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 26th, 2009
10:19 am

Hey Guys — We have a second topic today. A new very graphic, very bloody PSA from Great Britain has made it’s way to You Tube. It’s showing the dangers of texting while driving. I have posted a second blog for today with the video and questions for you about the video. The video is extremely graphic and upsetting!!! Please don’t let kids see it and just be aware that it is upsetting before you watch it.

gadyke

August 26th, 2009
10:40 am

Teresa,
I can’t get the new topic to open….and I had a comment for once!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 26th, 2009
10:43 am

working on it now — sometimes embedding the video does it — bummer!! thanks for telling me!!!

Becky

August 26th, 2009
10:44 am

OK MJG, I’ll start with what I could eat everyday..I would eat fried pork chops, fried potatoes( with onions), pinto beans and either biscuits or cornbread..No, I don’t weigh 250 lbs..I love salads, I just don’t eat them as much as I should..

JJ, for a quick easy summer meal, I take a can of roast beef, bake a potato and with toppings of cheese have a good easy meal..Brown chicken on both sides, mix (uncooked)rice, cream, of brocolli soup mixed with enough milk to make it soupy, spice with garlic and onions, bake about 30 minutes or so, dinner rolls, a salad and you have another quick meal..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 26th, 2009
10:46 am

tell me if it’s working now — I had a hard time telling the embedded coding from the messed up coding — does it work????

gadyke

August 26th, 2009
10:48 am

Not yet. Just checked it.

Michelle

August 26th, 2009
10:49 am

We eat out WAY too much! By the time I leave work up pick the little one up from daycare, it’s almost 6 by the time I get home. Then, if I do cook, we end up running short on time for homework, bath, etc.

If daddy isn’t home in the evenings, I do usually end up throwing something together, at least for the little guy. Then, I will sit down with him and we’ll talk about our days!j

I rarely bring food to work for lunch because my office does not have a refridgerator (I know, not an excuse). I try not to eat here too often because people will frequently interrupt my lunch for questions, opinions, etc. I typically like to go out just to get away from everyone!

I agree with many of the other posters about the weight loss. I think the food out is typically fried and laden with salt and fat adding to our waist lines! I know it hasn’t helped mine!

gadyke

August 26th, 2009
10:54 am

Theresa,
Text is up now, but no video….someone else might have to look because it could just be my work blocking youtube feeds.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 26th, 2009
10:55 am

It’s been opening for me but I changed the coding out again —- other people try too and let me know if it will open and if you can leave a comment – it’s working for me –

JJ

August 26th, 2009
11:03 am

I don’t need a graphic video to tell me texting is dangerous while driving….. HELLO!!!!!!!

But kids today, think they can do it all. I will tell my daughter about the video and she can decide if she wants to watch it.

I can’t text and drive. I admit it, so I don’t. It’s just way to dangerous to try and type on a very small keypad (especially with these 50 year old eyes)……heck I can barely dial the phone while driving. I usually wait until I come to a stop to dial.

Andrea

August 26th, 2009
11:25 am

@MJG: Cast iron is great for grilling, braising, and searing meats. It is also good for frying.

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
11:32 am

Cannot get the video to work but do not base it on me…I am usually clueless on the computer.

@ Andrea….thanks…I use my grill for most meats and rarely fry with the exception of chicken fried steak with cream gravy….yum…we do not eat it much!

LT

August 26th, 2009
11:34 am

Well, I rarely have time (or energy) to cook, but I feel guilty about it. I remember growing up my mother getting up and making breakfast for us before school and then dinner being on the table when I got home, and it was always a good dinner, meat and veggies (albeit from cans most of the time, but the meat was home cooked). But between my & my husbands differing schedules, tennis and soccer practice and household chores, there just isn’t time to cook. I wish I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home. I don’t think it is a “moral duty”, that’s ridiculous. As long as your kid is being provided for, that’s all that matters. But I think every mom secretly wishes she had the time to be Supermom!

john

August 26th, 2009
11:56 am

I’m a dad and I do almost all the cooking for my family. I cook about 75% of things from scratch. I believe it makes for a healthier diet and saves money. It’s a lot of work, but there are ways to to things that give almost the same convenience as prepared foods. This morning I made a bolognese sauce that I’ll end up freezing. It’s a handy thing to have around for a quick meal. You can find the recipe by searching my blog. http://www.stayatstovedad.com.

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
12:12 pm

@ john…did you grow up cooking? My husband does not cook, with the exception of breakfast on the Saturdays I am home and sometimes when I am not he will fix for my daughter. He can fry eggs better than i ever could.
He does grill all sorts of meats and can make mac and cheese from a box, frozen pizza or or popcorn. We joke with him that he thinks it is cooking when you put something in the microwave.

He has made a cake from a mix maybe 3 times in nearly 27 years. I would not know what it would be like to have a man cook dinner here. He is great at many other things but I always wonder if men that cook come from families with Dads who cook. He does just about what his Dad did.

All the more reason why families should perhaps get into cooking together….

JJ

August 26th, 2009
12:18 pm

I’m trying to get a garden in for the past two years…..I want to grow my own salad veggies. I’m hoping I can get that done next year……..

I try to buy my produce locally, like the farmer’s markets. I LOVE the Suwanee Farmer’s Market and have gotten some wonderful produce from this one man. He seems to have the goods, as everyone is usually in front of his stand. I had to stand in line for 20 minutes the other day for lettuce…..he grows right there in Suwanee.

JJ

August 26th, 2009
12:51 pm

Becky – Have you ever done Corn on the cob on the grill? Oh Yummy……

I soak them in the husk for about an hour, then throw them on the grill for about 10 minutes. Sometimes I will shuck them, use butter and cilantro, and wrap them in foil, then grill…….

Diane

August 26th, 2009
1:06 pm

Growing up we ate dinner as a family until high school when my brother and I went to different high schools and our activities made it impossible. Even then we ate together a few times a week.

Now my husband, daughter, and I try to eat together most nights (hubby works Sat and Sun nights and my daughter visits her dad every other weekend). We usually eat in the living room, but we eat as a family and talk about our day. Dinners are usually something simple and fast like breakfast, tacos, spagetti, and other easy meals. We will have a fruit or veggie most of the time.

I also cook some meats ahead and freeze them for later. I’m now trying to make casseroles and freeze them in one meal servings to make it easier to get something good and healthly on the table quickly.

Becky

August 26th, 2009
1:51 pm

JJ, I have done corn on the cob on the grill, just not the way you do..I take the husk off, mix butter and garlic (or some spice), spread the butter on them, wrap in foil and grill..I’ll have to try your way sometime..

MJG, I have a cast iron dutch oven that I LOVE cooking homemade baked beans in..I also have a cast iron (Wagner) cupcake pan that I wouldn’t trade for anything..The best part about it is that I bought it at a thritt store for $1.51..Yee Haw..

good grief

August 26th, 2009
2:05 pm

I like to cook, but hate to clean up.

jack5656

August 26th, 2009
2:19 pm

theresa…..”I’m not sure I completely agree with this point. I bake a lot of homemade cakes and cookies and they aren’t making me any thinner”…that was a joke, right?

Becky

August 26th, 2009
2:47 pm

Sorry if this is a double post..I sent it earlier, but don’t see it..

JJ, yes I have cooked corn on the cob on the grill..Just not the way that you do..I take the husk off, mix butter and spices together, rub it on the corn, wrap in foil and cook..I’ll have to try it your way..

MJG, I have a cast iron dutch oven that I LOVE to cook baked beans in..I also have a cast iron (Wagner) cupcake pan that I wouldn’t trade for anything..The best part about it is that I bought it at a thrift store for $1.51..Yee Haw..

Jess

August 26th, 2009
3:06 pm

I cook at least 5 times a week, sometimes its more homemade than other nights. Sometimes the microwave is in use quite a bit. I make breakfast ever single day. I don’t care to read the article, I came to this blog… not the NYT magazine. With that said, there is too much going on in this topic.

New Step Mom

August 26th, 2009
3:32 pm

I love to cook and do believe that serving kids healthy food is a moral imperative, but I know not everyone loves to cook and time is hard to come by so there are many ways to “skin a cat.” I think there are restaurant optins that are healthy as well as Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and the groceries that have prepared food that is healthy and easy to serve.

I am trying to prepare 4 meals per week for us during the week and we do a mixture of cooking and eating out on the weekends. I feel like it is my job to do the cooking not my husbands because I enjoy it more, am better at it and get home earlier. I have begun making large portions of some things (spaghetti sauce, chicken enchiladas, casseroles) and freezing portions to make some weeks easier than others. I will say, I abhor baking and do not do it. I figure Mrs. Publix does a better job than I do and it is worth buying baked goods!

When it is just the hubs and me we generally eat on the couch in front of the TV. When the step child is with us, we ALWAYS eat at the table. I also think it is a moral imperative to teach kids manners. Something that is majorly missing in many kids because they do not eat with the parents.

fk

August 26th, 2009
5:43 pm

We ate in the diningroom every night while my son was growing up. We’re not formal people, I just like to use that room. My son would even eat his b’fast in there on school days, too. A special treat was to eat in the family room on snack tables, but not often. Growing up, we ate together at the table, always a lively conversation, and I think that is how the art of conversation is developed. Now that he’s in college, I don’t have much interest in cooking, especially if my husband is working late. No fun to cook and then eat alone. Since I’ve been working fulltime, my husband has become more involved in the planning and grocery shopping. And, since my son left for school, he’s home for dinner on a much more regular basis. I think he’s afraid he might starve.

nurse&mother

August 26th, 2009
6:10 pm

Am I the only poster who really doesn’t like to cook??? I do cook about two meals per week. I can’t think of enough ideas. And by the time dinner rolls around (no pun intended) I am clueless. It doesn’t help that I am an extremely picky eater who hates mayo, cheese, sour cream, white cream bases, etc. This makes quick meals particularly hard.

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
7:10 pm

nurse&mother…you would be in trouble at our house….we eat at least one of those things each night.
We had chicken pasta in a white wine sauce tonight with lots of cheese on top….salad, fresh green beans, fresh fruit and rolls….YUM!

FCM

August 26th, 2009
8:52 pm

I would like to make reservations at MJGs and JJs please.

FCM

August 26th, 2009
8:54 pm

Becky–I do southern style, cast iron skillet cooking too….I would like to plan a feast with your family. ;)

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
9:24 pm

@ FCM HAHA…if you will do the dishes….you are in!

It is funny how different folks cook and how it has to do with their family and where they live. My sister is in Wisconsin and makes lots of soups and casseroles. I rarely make a casserole but love home made soup. They also eat wall-eye and smoked fish ( which I do love).
My husband’s grandma made home made noodles and would boil them in a dumpling broth and serve them over mashed potatoes. I never got into it.
My own grandma made kidney bean salad…kind of like potato salad with kidney beans. They do serve it in Iowa and it always take me by surprise.

We are quite lucky here, as we have access to such nice produce at the produce stand and even in the stores. Some places I travel to, have the worst grocery stores….it would be depressing to shop there.

My husband and I often remark of the little butcher we had in Texas. All the meat was fresh and DELICIOUS. It was a really small store but anyone local knew where it was.

I came upon an easy Salmon dish…get the salmon at Costco. We took orange marmalade ( my step mom sent us as they had way too many oranges and she had to do something with them) and mixed it with some Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. Seal the salmon in foil and pour the mixture on top….chopped fresh basil is nice. Just pop it on the grill…easy with a salad and rice….no gravy…haha~

Night all….

motherjanegoose

August 26th, 2009
9:25 pm

ooops…the mixture goes inside the foil with the salmon….most folks should get this.

Becky

August 27th, 2009
8:59 am

new step mom, I love to bake, I’m just not super good at it..

fk,if you emjoy cooking, take the time while your husband is working late to try cooking different things..This is what I do..

nurse&mom..Theres nothing wrong with you not liking to cook..As for finding things to cook, find a cook book put out by a local church or school..The recipes in there are usually tired and true..Also fairly basic..

FCM, I would love to cook a feast with you..I enjoy learnign new things from others that enjoy cooking..

MJG, I agree with you on having someone else wash the dishes..I”m like you, I don’t do a lot of casseroles, but come winter time, I do soups, chili and home made beef stew a lot..As for the mashed potatoes with noodels..WOW..Sounds to me like to much of (almost)the same thing..Cloged arteries (sp) waiting to happen..Yes, we are very lucky to have such a huge choice of everything here..

Patrick

August 27th, 2009
9:04 am

What Michelle said about fast food or restaurant food being full of too much salt and fat: I agree. There are three or four different Chinese restaurants within a five-mile radius of work, and every one of them, to me, has tasted way too salty. My mom said it may be because I’m used to homemade Chinese food, which is fresher (compared to sitting around a few hours under the hot lamps on the buffet, or probably sitting on a counter for a while before being brought to my table), and uses a lot less salt. Some restaurants I can’t eat at anymore because all I taste is the salt or grease. That’s one of the best benefits of home cooking: you can control how much salt and fat is in the meal. While a recipe may say to add a teaspoon of salt, a lot of times I’ve omitted the salt, and it didn’t affect the flavor of the dish at all. It may have said to sautée the onions or other ingredients in vegetable oil, I use olive oil or corn oil, whichever’s available, or depending on my mood. The flavor isn’t affected at all. As time passes you can adjust the recipe to your desire and use less salt, omit the salt, use less oil, or a much healthier oil.

Granted, if you use processed ingredients, like canned or frozen veggies, or frozen meats, there may be some salt or fat already added. Rely on the salt already added to those items to be the salt for the dish. Add other spices or seasonings. If you feel the dish needs more salt, then add it, but you don’t have to go letter-by-letter of a recipe all the time.

Patrick

August 27th, 2009
12:44 pm

nurse&mother…if you hate to cook, look into getting a slow cooker. With most recipes there’s very little to no preparation involved, except maybe having to brown, sear, or otherwise precook the meat, precooking the rice or noodles, and cutting up veggies. Other than that, just dump the ingredients in the pot, turn it on, and go. The slow cooker has gotten a slightly bad rap as being only suitable for soups, stews, and the occasional casserole/hot dish. Those are just a small fraction of what you can do. I have done pot roast, spaghetti sauce, jambalaya, peach cobbler, applesauce, lasagna, and a few other things. There are hundreds of cookbooks out there dealing with the slow cooker. One of the best series is “Fix It and Forget It”, which consists of recipes compiled from people around the country. There are also several websites, message boards, blogs, and groups dealing with slow cooking. I used to be in one on Yahoo until I got too busy with personal things to bother with visiting it frequently.

[...] more here:  Is cooking for your kids a 'moral imperative'? | A Blog for Busy … Share and [...]

SS

August 27th, 2009
3:33 pm

@MJG Don’t know where you are located but–there’s a wonderful little shop I discovered in Woodstock, The Butcher’s Block. All fresh meats, no preservatives. I found their prices to be better than the grocery store and the quality was fantastic. The service was also very good. They also have some prepared sides and sauces for some easy meal ideas.

[...] My grandma in Alabama would do the breakfast there, and it was nearly the same: eggs, bacon (or sausage ), toast, and juice. At home it was just cold cereal , usually Cheerios during the school week, but some sugar-loaded cereal (now … Read the original here:  Is cooking for your kids a 'moral imperative'? | A Blog for Busy … [...]

motherjanegoose

August 27th, 2009
4:54 pm

@SS Mall of GA…..guess that will not be on my radar….too bad.

fk

August 27th, 2009
8:02 pm

Becky, you’re right, I should get myself organized and cook in the evenings. I need to be sure I have the proper ingredients. I (sometimes) cook on the weekends, divide it up into dinners and freeze. I made a big pot of sauce (easy, I know), etc. last Sunday. I keep telling my husband that I might be more inspired if I actually liked my kitchen. Had big plans to renovate, but will wait until things turn around b/f spending big bucks. I do cook more in the winter as my husband is the grill king during the warm months. Since my son is away at school, we have seem to have a lot of leftovers…enough for a second night’s dinner for two! That’s not always exciting, though.

Denise Dermody

August 27th, 2009
10:22 pm

Great thread Theresa! We cook at least 5 days out of the week. If I’m tired and try a fast easy meal served not at the table the kids complain they didn’t have dinner. I made a lentil dish tonight for dinner and Stella said “this dinner is great, I love fish”. Ha, fooled her.
I only make breakfast on weekends and feel guilty after reading the wonderful biscuit and ham breakfast of one of your readers. BTW, Michael Pollan’s new book is great.

catlady

August 30th, 2009
8:05 pm

Is it a moral imperative? Yes, if you think seeing to your family’s health is an imperative. It is also an economic imperative, I would think.

I worked full time and did the meat and 3s for 95% of the dinners during the 29 years I had children at home. Plus the three before I had children. Now, I eat at home almost 100% of the time, but don’t worry about the meat and three. I usually feast on vegetables–most from my garden–with meat a few times a week. And no TV on, ever!

catlady

August 30th, 2009
8:29 pm

I sound pretty danged sanctimonious. I live in the country and can have a large, varied, organic garden (although it is getting much harder as I get older). And while there was never any TV, I love to read at the table if I am by myself. I recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for those who haven’t read it for a perspective on the importance of family cooking/food supply.

I DO think parents should cook home-made meals–dads, too. And the kids should be a part of the planning, preparing, and cleaning up.

Magenta

August 31st, 2009
2:54 pm

My husband and I are empty-nesters but we both work and, frankly, we’re lazy. It’s easier to go to an eatery or pick out something frozen. However, I distinctly remember one night when I was dead-dog tired and the thought of going out to any establishment, be it store or restaurant, was just too much. I rummaged around and threw something together from random items in the fridge and cabinets. I will never forget the good feeling it gave me. “Empowerment” is the only word that fits here. After that time, I’ve been much more willing to go the extra mile in terms of time and planning to actually cook a meal rather than reheat something made in a factory hundreds of miles away. My husband and I both come from busy-mom families where “TV dinners” were the norm. I now feel like I missed out on something important by not learning how to cook every day.

electroniccigarettes

September 17th, 2009
1:37 pm

First-rate Post.

Thanks for the details.

RAHELA KHAN

January 28th, 2010
2:32 am

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