Shaina of Food For My Family and I share similar thoughts on food so I, of course, asked her to share her thoughts on what real food means for her family. If you don’t yet know her, you’ll want to head over to her blog (after reading this!) and invite your kids to join you in the kitchen to make Shaina’s easy lasagna.
Real food can be a tricky one to define. For my family, it most often means food that we’d recognize at the farmers’ market in the same state. We’re looking for whole foods, as unadulterated as we can get them. This is not to say we never cut corners or enjoy some processed foods, but when we look for cereals or chips on the shelf, we’re looking for the least amount of additives and an ingredient list I could pull from my own kitchen.
This isn’t an exact science; it’s one that changes week to week depending on the season, availability, and what we’re eating that week. However, it’s a process and a commitment that works for us to strive to eat food that looks like it could have been grown in our backyard garden.
Family dinners start by pulling produce from the crisper and butcher-paper-wrapped meat from our freezer, purchased direct from the farmer in the fall. It starts with putting together the building blocks, making sauces and adding seasoning to change the way we eat them. While this may sound idyllic, as if we’re harkening back to a bygone age when days lolled by and minutes were longer, it shouldn’t.
Dinner in our family looks intense. There are notebooks spread on the table, math problems being crunched by one alongside a head of cauliflower being chopped by another. In the kitchen there are cluttered surfaces, and cupboards spill their contents as I move things aside to find the red wine vinegar. (No, not that vinegar, the other vinegar. Still no.)
As the food gets closer to completion, there are requests for homework to disappear, and stacks of plates and cups are handed off as we attempt to juggle 10 things at once. At the end, though, we all sit down together and eat. For a short period of time we come together and enjoy being a family, feeding each other. Then someone looks at the clock and the chaos to get to sports practice on time starts again.
What it all comes down to, this way of feeding ourselves, is that we prioritize it, just like we prioritize homework and reading and sports practices and family vacations. We assign the act of feeding ourselves a priority that stands in the midst of everything else.