Nourishment: Hunger/Satiation (Stomach)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
A friend’s mother has a saying about food in her house-- “no bags or boxes”, meaning no processed food. I like the saying, makes things clear and easy to remember.
Over the past year-- before I learned the saying!-- we’ve done a lot to work towards a more purposeful/intentional kitchen. By that I mean buying only what we need and avoiding spur of the moment purchases/take out. Making more things I might once thought of as shelf staples, sometimes because it seemed like a fun project, a way to while away a rainy Saturday (1. I LOVE to cook 2. San Francisco gets very rainy), like making our own pate, making ketchup (soooo good, and so much better than Heinz’s).
Sometimes out of necessity: we use Mayonnaise so infrequently it goes bad in between, so it just makes more sense to make small batches as we need it.
But we’ve never kept a lot of shelf-stable food around at all, not really. I grew up in Italy, where refrigerators were tiny-to-nonexistent, food was bought every day at the farmer’s market. My husband grew up in a small town in upstate New York, eating his mother raspberries, helping to can the tomatoes, knowing, intimately, where his food came from.
Part of my desire to make more of my own food is for health purposes: fewer sick days, less doctor visits. But really, mostly, it’s hedonistic. Touching, cutting, cooking, smelling and eating simple fresh food is a wonderful sensual experience, and I see no reason not to do it as much as possible. It is one of the wonderful gifts that nature provides us, beauty and nourishment for all of our senses.
But practically, resolving to eat even less packaged food -- especially with a toddler underfoot -- can be tricky. Lately we’ve gotten it down to the following: 1. pasta (not gonna change unless someone invents at-home brass cutters) 2. granola bars 3. cheese crackers 4. yogurt 5. canned tomatoes, canned tuna, canned crab, mustard, indian pickles/chutney, peanut and almond butter 6. frozen tortellini
We make (most) of our own bread and buns, I make loose granola for breakfast cereal, we make our own ice cream, we buy dried beans, we make our own jam. This summer unfortunately I won’t be able to can any of M’s fantastic tomato sauce, and I like supporting the indian foods vendor at our farmer’s market with my occasional purchase.
Ironically, #2 and #3 are because of J: these are his snacks. I’m sad to think that in some ways M and I eat more healthily than J does. So I’m focusing there, right now. My goal for this year is to reduced our packaged foods to 1. pasta 2. yogurt 3. the canned goods listed above: so I need to nail some sweet-ish treats, and some savory ones, too (although, nuts are a good compromise).
I’ve been working on the granola bars. So far this is the best recipe I’ve found, but ironically it’s a little too sweet for J. This weekend, though, I hit upon a fantastic compromise: low-sugar peanut butter cookies. So full of protein-y energy goodness.
Peanut butter cookies
Adapted from Epicurious
I use organic peanut butter, so that affects my flour and sugar choices.
2 c peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c honey
1/4 oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease baking sheets.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together peanut butter and sugar until combined well. Whisk together eggs and add to peanut butter mixture.
Sift together flour and baking soda, and add to peanut butter mixture, beating all the while.
Roll dough into balls and arrange about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. With tines of a fork flatten balls to 2 inches in diameter. Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until puffed and pale golden, about 12 minutes.
Makes about 60 cookies.