Friday, January 2, 2009

Does Your Resolution Look like This?
Back to Old Fashioned Eating

Sad little empty plate.
Each year many of us say the same thing.
"I'm going to eat better, healthier."
Then we get busy and life happens.

This year, I'm attempting something different.
Actually, it's the same goal, with a different focus.
"I want to eat like my great-grandmother."
Honestly, I never knew my great-grandmother.
Most of us don't.
Sadly, I don't even have memories of my just plain "good" grandmother.
So, what's the point?

"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food" Michael Pollan suggests about 26 minutes into this very insightful video lecture and Q&A. I highly recommend it. Michael is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.

The second title is a very common sense book.
Matter of fact, Michael jokes that the premise can be summed up in 7 words.
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Avoid the "edible food-like substances" in our stores.
You know, the guy has a point.

Granted, my Mom remembered days when she only had bread with lard to eat.
I don't think I'll be making that for tonight's din-din.
And, I won't be seasoning with some of the unpleasant realities from the Chicago stockyards.
But, the fact of the matter is, I remember my Aunt's backyard in Chicago and it was filled with lemon trees which she had smuggled in as clippings from Greece. (Ssh, don't tell the FDA.) They grew amazingly well in Chicago and we would walk through her tiny backyard garden rubbing the lemon leaves and smelling the wonderful citrus scent.

Eat more lemons. Check.
And, I have no doubt that my great-grandmother would have eaten lots of olives and feta.And, you can't have spanakopita without a little onion and spinach.I am certain my great-grandmother lost no sleep over the cholesterol in an egg yolk. And, fresh fowl was definitely available to my grandmother. Mom took pleasure in grossing me out as a kid telling stories of her mother swingin' chickens out back to break their necks.And, finally there's the milk and butter. My mom remembered bottled milk and blocks of ice from the ice man. Geesh, my great-grandmother, who still lived in Greece...she might have milked her own cow, or goat. And, as for that butter...she might have made that herself. I'll be content with getting my butter from the grocer. But, I am seriously considering getting my milk from the local dairy - commercial as it might be. The milk tastes wonderful and they test their supply to weed out antibiotics. (Something my great-grandmother wouldn't have had to worry about.) Butter. Yum. Brown butter...poured over pasta. I remember my Mom doing that. And, my sister remembers our grandmother making it and placing the bowl right next to my sister. I bet that made it taste extra special. Warm food memories - like hugs from the past.

So, that's my goal.
Eat real food.
Make real food.
And...savor every bite.

Happy new year. Pin It

6 comments:

Rachel said...

Ha! You want to know what my great grandmother recognized as breakfast? Bacon AND sausage AND oatmeal AND eggs fried in plenty of bacon grease AND toast with plenty of butter and home made preserves and pancakes with lots of butter and syrup.

She was pretty generous with the home made cookies and donuts, too.

She and her husband were farmers, and eating like a farmer when you work behind a desk will NOT get you thin.

Just sayin'

DanaMc said...

Rachel,
I think I want to eat like YOUR relatives, then! Granted, it's not a recipe for fitting into Spring clothes. But, I bet there wasn't a transfat in sight! And, those donuts proly had real sugar icing and not the waxy goop we get in the grocery stores nowadays. ;)

Honestly, you had me at "home made preserves."

Jules said...

Loyal Reader #3 checking in to comment about a comment.

Dana wrote "you had me at "home made preserves."

Hmmmmmm - now if ONLY ya' knew someone into that sort of thing? ;-)
Ya' KNOW all ya' gots to do is tell me which flavors ya' needs. Heck, I even have da' poifect box to ship 'em in!!!

DanaMc said...

Aw, Jules.
*Blushy icon*
Well, first I have to eat the ones I have. I never seem to make breakfast. So, smearing them on fresh baked biscuits it out.

Right now, I"ve just been...grabbing a spoonful whenever I need a fresh fruit fix. (Sunday. I should make breakfast on Sunday. Yeah, that's the ticket.)

But, seriously, thanks. And, I'll take you up on it when the coffers are low. ;)

Box? You have a box?
Does it say "Ouch!"
*wink*

Rachel said...

No, I don't think Grandma Hanson iced her donuts. They were basically just fried dough. By the time I knew her, she always had sugar available, so the dough was sweet, but I'm pretty sure when she was younger, it wasn't always that way. When you have to ration sugar, it's more important to save it for things like jam making (where it's structurally necessary), pies like rhubarb and pumpkin (which would be awful without it), and Christmas.

And yeah, the "real food" people do have a good point. The only changes really necessary to deal with my lower activity level (IMO) would be much smaller portions, and frying with small amounts of a light oil, rather than her heavy use of lard and bacon grease. I'll happily keep the butter and cream, though :) Even in my most strictly weight-watching days (during which I lost at least 40 pounds), I refused to give up half and half in my coffee, go for margerine rather than butter, or use awful stuff like cool whip or fat free sour cream (WTF?) instead of the real stuff.

DanaMc said...

Yeah, I'm a cream in my coffee kind of gal, too.
As for bacon grease and lard, while it sounds gross nowadays, I think there might have been something to the fact that it was a Sunday meal. (Usually.)

Nowadays we can eat fried chicken everyday b/c KFC is on every corner. But, if we had to portion it, dredge it, and fry it ourselves, things would be different. (Not to mention having to clean-up the fat splatter. Yuck.)

As for portion size, gosh, considering my level of inactivity, I should be eating only an appetizer. ;)

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I love to hear your thoughts!
--Dana

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