I grew up not knowing how to cook - I mean, seriously, my family ate at a steakhouse every night, and the wait staff knew us by name. I had no idea how to boil water when I got married! Our first Thanksgiving turkey was raw in the middle. But I've taught myself how to cook pretty well in the years since. Hubby still wants Hamburger Helper and mac & cheese from the blue box, but on the whole, I've learned how to cook from scratch.
(I once asked an older woman at church how to make her delicious macaroni and cheese. She began "oh, it's just cheese and milk and ..." and I said "I need to know how long to cook the macaroni." Fortunately she took pity on me and wrote down her directions in the most basic terms, and I can now make real good mac and cheese.)
And then the children moved out on their own, and it was easier just to take shortcuts now that I was cooking for just two of us, making easy meals that weren't necessarily as healthy as they could have been. Instead of making tortillas, I bought the big bag at the grocery store. Skipping the veggies at dinner.
Since losing the goats, I've been reduced to buying store milk, which isn't nearly as healthy as raw goat milk. I used to make my own yogurt, which I also used as a sour cream substitute. I've baked our bread for years, but I always used all-purpose, bleached flour.
At least I haven't changed completely: I buy raw local honey. We have a mini-orchard and I can the excess fruit. I buy whole milk without rBGH and I don't eat anything with artificial sweeteners in it (that I know of!) We raised a steer for beef, have raised pigs in the past, and plan to raise meat chickens this year now that we have found a processor. I make my own chili seasoning and taco seasoning. I shudder when our granddaughter comes to visit in the summer, with her sugar-laden cereals and fruit roll-ups. But, as I said, I've let a lot of things slip...
But I've had a personal epiphany, a defining moment so to speak, and I vow to eat better, to take better care of this body I've been loaned. REALLY better. As in REAL FOOD. And to try harder to raise a garden again this year, not just tomatoes. To go to the farmers market. To drink more water - I've found over the past week that the more water I drink, the less thirsty I am for soda.
And I plan to finally buy the grain mill that I wanted four years ago but didn't buy because I couldn't make a decision on which one to get. Learning how to use freshly-milled flour will be a real learning experience.
(All photos are from Morgue File)
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