Tag Archives: food

Farm Day

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Saturday, as my wife prepped for and took a math test, I took the kids to the farm where there was good food to collect including green beans to pick. I love getting my kids in a working farmand eating fresh veggies

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Cool Day

On Saturday, my wife went to a conference in the morning, so I decided to take the kids to the aquarium while she was out of the house. We dropped Mommy off at the train station because our local stops are being served by a shuttle bus these weekends. After parking the car, we walked a few blocks in the newly fallen and still falling snow. Harvard Square has one of the new elevators, and getting into the T is much easier there, now.

The Haymarket stalls

The Haymarket stalls

We transferred to the Orange Line at Downtown Crossing and took that train to the Haymarket stop where we came upon the Saturday market. I was amazed at the prices–bunches of asparagus for a buck, pineapples also for a buck, salmon fillets for $3 a pound. The veggies looked good. We’ll have to go back with some cash.

Anemones at the aquarium

Anemones at the aquarium

We then visited the aquarium which is under renovation. The main tank is blocked off and empty, and its inhabitants are swimming around in the penguin pens while the penguins are off elsewhere. We stopped at every single small tank display.

On the way home, we walked through the market again, took two trains, and watched the increasingly hard falling snow.

My son slept for three hours in the afternoon!

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Empathizing With Mr. McGregor

One time when we visited my parents’ house, my daughter was introduced to Peter Rabbit. She was horrified even with my quick editing of how Peter’s father was caught and cooked by Farmer McGregor. Her eyes went very big and round, and I stumbled over a rational and dithered before plunging ahead with the story. Of course, she fixated on that part of the story and opened the book to that page to have it read again and again.

Now, she is quite a bit more sympathetic to Mr. McGregor. At least she now does not like having rabbits eat her garden. They have been after the pea plants. I was wondering why we were not seeing them push past the weeds and start to climb, but on closer inspection, the tops have all be nipped off. It seems that tasty new pea shoots are the main course for the neighborhood bunny that hops around in the morning and evening.

My daughter is, “frustrated,” by this behavior. I don’t think she would connect it to food; she still doesn’t connect the chicken and occasional beef she eats with the animals from which they come. I do think, however, that she is tired of her plants being chewed and stunted. These are the lessons of having a garden: the joyful, the anticipation, and the frustration.

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Am I the Religious Nut?

Yep, another parent helper day come and gone. Several of the children were having tough days, and the teachers handled it with amazing calmness and caring. Today’s snack, always provided by the parent helper, featured the orange through purple colors with carrots, purple grapes, strawberries, and matzos. I was hoping to get some of those crackers that are a little more palatable, but there were none at the store. The kids didn’t mind, anyway. They munched up the food.

It is a bit weird for me to be the one bringing matzoh to school. I think a few kids kept Passover in my high school; not too many at my elementary school did. When I was a kid, the culture from home that I brought to school was literally a culture in a Petri dish. I remember bringing in glow-in-the-dark mold and slime mold to my fifth grade class. That is what happens when you have a biologist for a mother.

Not being terribly religious, not much at all, my brushes with codified faiths ranged from seeing my best friend come home from church in a skirt. She was a tomboy, so she instantly changed and threatened to hit me if I laughed. I sat through some services for weddings and on the occasions my sisters played in a church. Bar and bat mitzvahs were the only Jewish services I went to. One of my friends often invited me over for Shabbat dinner on Fridays. These were enough to get a small taste, a flavor, but I was never immersed in the regular ritual gatherings of any group.

I do remember thinking kids who brought different foods on certain days stood out. Now I have that role, and I pass it on to my children. How will they respond to the inevitable questioning and less-than-subtle reactions to difference that will come. Hopefully they will see it as a source of strength and pride.

 

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Food for Thought

Making sushi today for kids' snack.

Two very different items that fall under the “Food for Thought” title:

Item 1:

healthful 10 grain bread from Arnold:

whole wheat flour, unbleached enriched wheat flour[flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, wheat gluten, wheat fiber, yeast, sugar, cellulose fiber, inulin (chickory root fiber), polydextrose, sunflower seeds, wheat, rye, molasses, wheat protein isolate, salt, ground corn, cultured dextrose and maltodextrin (a natural preservative), raisin juice concentrate, buckweat, datem, monoglycerides, brown rice, oats, triticale, citric acid, barley, flaxseed, millet, calcium sulfate, grain vinegar, stevia extract (a natural sweetener), soy lecithin, calcium carbonate, nuts [walnuts and/or hazelnuts(filberts) and/or almonds], rice protein, whey, soy flour, nonfat milk.

Bread I baked today:

Bread flour, water, whole wheat flour, molasses, butter, salt, oats, yeast

I particularly like the cellulose fiber in the first list. Cardboard? Also cultured dextrose and maltodextrin being the natural preservatives.

Item 2:

On another front, I recently passed this article on to faculty at my school. I really liked it not just because it critiqued the massive marketing that is happening around the Lorax movie, but it also critiques the book, something I had not really done before. It jumped out at me again as I bought a new bottle of Seventh Gen dish soap.

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I Want/I Don’t Want

Billions of dollars are being spent to make me want things. I don’t want to fall prey to these huge corporations to fill their coffers, and I don’t want my thinking molded by their ads. I don’t even want my thinking to be molded by the many terrible personalities portrayed in media. I kid myself in thinking I can isolate myself from the influence that surrounds me much as the Atlantic Ocean surrounds a lone fish.

I seek to build resistance to these same influences in my children. The same culture, however, is filled with critical thinking even if it, too, is a fad at times. The recent food movement, part of a cyclical pastoral movement, is no exception. I have read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Farm City among other books on the topic. As a child, I lived through the last surge of food consciousness and spent countless hours tending the fairly large garden in our backyard. All of this push back from mass-produced food and popular culture creates a culture of its own, and that culture is now being fully merchandised and promoted. One of the several toy stores near our house has a display in its window of a whole collection of Playmobil farm themed figures, equipment, and buildings. There are very few farms or farmers nearby, so this offering is about make believe just like the pirates and the castles. Yet, I am drawn to this particular set, and in this I am swayed by the billions of dollars that did research to see what types of adults live in this area and what they would purchase for their children. But, golly, I want it!

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