Friday, January 13, 2012

A Chef Conflicted

Okay, I’m not a chef, but I am a mom that feeds a family of 5 so that is close enough. I love to cook. I love to be in the kitchen with my family working along side of me. And for me cooking is love, it’s not just my chance to fill the bellies of my family, but to put a smile on their face. Our time together around the kitchen table is precious. Stories of the days events are being told, we are sharing laughter, and memories are being made. Eating at my house is an event.

So where does the conflicted part come in? I’ll tell you. I can’t just serve my family any old food anymore. I have to consider the needs of all my family members. Granted, we are lucky. We have no food allergies to date, or intolerances, but each member of my family comes to the table with their own appetite. Here’s a quick run down:

Em- aspiring chef. Every meal is a reenactment of the Iron Chef. Prepare to undergo a detailed account of what works and what doesn’t for the dish being served. (always in a nice way, mind you). She is an accomplished cook at the age of 11 (I'm talking Julia Child) and makes many of our meals.

Soph- semi-vegetarian. Her love of animals and her belief that all of God’s creatures should enjoy a good life, no matter how short or long, has encouraged her to become an advocate of free-range, pasture raised animals. If the meat on the table doesn’t meet that criteria, she will pass on it.

Little One- Not a huge fan of fancy. She prefers her meat on one side her veggies on the other without the impediment of sauces or too much spices. Lover of salads and uncooked veggies. Not a fan of the “mushy” vegetables that sometime appear on her plate.

WB- not your typical male (we’ve already established that in previous posts though, right?) More often then not in training for the next half-marathon, 150 mile bike ride, or triathlon. Food is fuel, but being a fine cook himself, he has a delectable palate. He is looking for meals that contain all the nutrients he needs, but that won’t add inches to his middle and taste good.

Me- conflicted chef. Most days I channel my grandmother’s and mothers down home southern cooking, which is at odds with my need to put healthy, sustainable food on the table. I find myself cooking meals that my grandmother would be proud of (wearing pearls and my mother’s beautiful handmade apron) and ones that I whip up while still wearing my running shoes and heart monitor. (I’m currently trying to get this, almost 40 year old, body back  into fighting shape. Wait, it is questionable if it was ever in fighting shape…okay, I’m just trying to see my waistline and abs again and be able to run.)

Which brings me to an announcement of sorts, are you ready for it? I’m going to start a new weekly series to appear each Friday (God willing) about my family’s adventures in the kitchen. We’ll explore old recipes, some with a new twist, and we’ll be trying new healthy recipes. And I'm hoping you'll chime in with advice and recipes of your own!


I seek balance. I seek inner peace. I seek full, happy bellies around my table. Tune in next Friday to see if we're acomplishing this.

What is it like around your kitchen table? Are you ever conflicted ?


Terri Tiffany said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea! I love to cook the way I used to but can't anymore to watch our waists. So last night I told my husband we should make a list of 5 meals and repeat them every week-- so easy, no decisions and wouldn't forget to buy anything. LOL Boring I know but I might really try it!

Vanessa said...

I am always conflicted in my kitchen! Like you, I LOVE to cook (as you already know). However, my kids don't like my boring, regular diet of lean main dishes--pan seared chicken, chicken adobo, grilled chicken salad, and my all-time favorite: browned hamburger with steamed cabbage! Being over 40, my caloric needs (and overall carbohydrate needs) are somewhat lower than my kids'. So, what I have done is compromise 2-3 times per week. I still make my lean options (with a side salad and steamed veggie like squash or brocolli) for the whole family 3 nights a week, and then I have some sort of pasta dish or casserole (lasagna, baked spaghetti, enchiladas, etc) that can be served one night and then reheated and served as left-overs on another night along with whatever side veggie I am cooking for myself and the husband. My kids really like it. They get to eat pasta occassionally and I get to stick to my healthy lean diet and not derail my waistline! Also, since most of my pasta/casserole recipes are huge (think 9X13 pan!) I have pyrex loaf pans that I make multiple (usually 4) meals with. I cook one and freeze 3 every time I do a dish. Then, I have a variety in my freezer on any given night.

I am looking forward to hearing about your kitchen antics in the weeks to come. I hope to find some great tips so my kids will be happier too!

Pat's Place said...

Sounds interesting! Can hardly wait for next week! And that is why your children are so much fun when they come--they help me cook, give me new ideas, and eat with enthusiasm!

Kara said...

Terri, I think that sounds good. Maybe you could have 2 weekly menus and rotate them for variety.

Vanessa, I love those ideas! Maybe I can have you as a guest one week and you can share what works for you on my blog.

Pat, thanks. They love to come cook at your house, it's fun!

Warren Baldwin said...

Kara, I'll bet it's all good. Cheryl has been the cook here for 30 years, but I'm trying my hand at it more.