Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Food Rationale

I make quality food choices...

Unless I haven't planned well. Often I rush out the door without planning a healthy after school snack. When I get home, having skipped lunch because I had to put notes on the board, I'm ravenous. The cauliflower isn't roasted, the avocados aren't ripe, but I can have a buttery bowl of popcorn in under three minutes.

Last night I watched my daughter meal prep all her lunches for the entire week. She fried the Siracha tofu (a discovery we made on Saturday) cut peppers and lettuce, filled the take-out bowls with hummus and wheat tortillas.

I eat very well...

Unless my daughter makes a fresh peach pie or a son-in-law pulls hot chocolate chip cookies from the oven, or a neighbor delivers cinnamon rolls on a Sunday morning, or we happen to be down the street from Julian's Boulangerie.

In other words, I only eat as well as what isn't available.

My daughter recently attended the state's board of education meeting that focused on healthy eating in schools. They discussed farm to school produce and the possibility of limiting convenience food stores in close proximity to schools. But can a school board control a person's choice? Does it have the right?

According to my friend Jan, it may be more than convenience that drives us to the dark side.
Her theory, once spoken so logically, is seared on my mind, "Every time I bite into a Snickers bar, I am guaranteed it's going to have that same delicious taste, caramel, nougat, chocolate. It never changes. If I choose an apple, each one might be different: smooshy, soft, hard, even bitter. I'll take a Snickers bar over an apple any day."

In the past few weeks, I have enjoyed the abundance of the fall harvest. We helped Grandma M pick white peaches from her tree; we filled five bags of neglected grapes from a friend's yard. I've plucked zucchini, cucumbers, beet greens and tomatoes. It's been work to clean the greens, the grapes, and peel the peaches for freezing, but the taste, the satisfaction, is worth the effort.

So when I do eat well...I feel better, it mostly tastes better, and it's worth the time once I've finished the work. The key for me seems to be seasonal abundance. In October, November and if I'm lucky December, I practically live on pomegranates. In June, I seem to live off berries. In July: cherries. In August it's zucchini, fresh tomato salsa, watermelon; September: apples. When I eat seasonal and healthy, there's room for the unplanned, the tempting, the delicious. Like the balance and importance of seasons, life and eating too, have a balance.