10 September 2007


Let me be clear about something. I am doing this myself. Just me. I've talked it up to my husband and children, but I haven't asked anyone to join me. I don't like to dictate what others should do. And I didn't want to deal with anybody else's negativity. School lunches are hard enough even with a closet full of packaged foods.

That said, I cooked two New York State dinners over the weekend that everyone ate. On Saturday, we ate roast pork, apple sauce, green beans, and corn bread. I flavored the pork loin -- purchased at the Troy Farmer's market -- by inserting garlic slivers under the fat layer and dredging in flour with pepper and lavender. Apples are just coming into season, so I think I'll be making applesauce several times this month. I made the bread from corn meal milled in the Champlain Valley, substituting local honey for sugar.

Sunday, we ate homemade pasta, fresh tomato sauce, and buttered white toast. Making our own pasta has been a fun weekend activity in recent winters, especially now that the kids are old enough to truly help. This time it was my 8-yo daughter who I invited to help me roll and cut the pasta with the hand-cranked pasta maker. My 10-yo son was drawn into the kitchen earlier in the day by the smell of garlic cooking in olive oil. He watched as I chopped onion and red pepper very finely (the pressure! -- my kids are accustomed to smooth sauce from a jar) and asked after the herbs I picked from the garden (making do with what I have, I used oregano, marjoram, and lavender). Later I added chopped tomatoes and basil. I was charmed when my son -- who far prefers butter to marinara -- wanted to try a little sauce.

I'm finally hitting my stride. I have accumulated enough ingredients to put together a meal that feels complete. I like cooking and baking bread, I like the challenge of coming up with a dish or a meal with what I've got, and I like working with my kids in the process. It was a thrill to feed the family with my crazy diet and have them enjoy it,

Don't get me wrong -- I'm happy as a clam to eat cheese and apples for a meal. But I enjoyed having a plateful of food and eating until I was satisfyingly full not once but twice this weekend.

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