Why I cook for my husband. Liturgy of Life. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Why I cook for my husband

I’m a modern woman and I have the credentials to prove it.  When I crossed the stage in my cap and gown they tacked MD to the end of my name I gained quick entrance into the professional world. My parents’ dreams were fulfilled, I stood tall on the weary shoulders of the women who went before me, paving the way into workplaces that only a generation ago were inaccessible to those of us with a double X chromosome.  I am not be intimidated by men in suits, and in fact when I’m holding a syringe over them those men are often intimidated by me.  I would not need a man to support me, my earning potential far exceeds that of my clergy husband unless he decides to pursue a career in televangelism. For a spell I was even the breadwinner of our family and my husband stayed home with our daughter. Our decision was met with applause all around. We were just that progressive.

The raised eyebrows didn’t come until we decided to change roles. I, aching for time with my little girl, and he itching to re-enter life outside our home. After many concerned phone calls the message was clear, my progress as a contemporary woman had actually limited my options in the eyes of many. Returning to the ancient vocation of  homemaker could only be seen as a step back into the dark ages.

It turns out that the change was good for us, all of us. He was able to more fully live into his skills and abilities, my daughter and I loved being together and I was able to pursue interests that I had never had time for before (hence this blog).  Joining the rank of housewife I could now dedicate myself primarily to caring for the people dearest to me, which for the most part, meant cooking for my family.

Why I cook for my husband. Liturgy of Life. Thoughts on Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I spend several hours in the kitchen everyday though I don’t exactly love to cook.   What I do love is sitting down to a nourishing table, knowing where my food came from and what is in it, having some idea of how it is acting in my body and most of all, eating something that tastes really good.

Cooking is a never-ending quest to me. I relish in learning how to take basic ingredients and turn them into all sorts of variety. Milk becomes butter, cheese, yogurt or ice cream. Tomatoes become marinara, salsa, juice or salad.  It turns out that all of the mystery foods that I imagined could only be created in factories, i.e., cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, fruit snacks, are relatively easy to make, tastier, less expensive and probably healthier when I make them at home and it’s a constant puzzle to get each one figured out.

Sometimes when I throw together a quick dinner with leftover sourdough pizza topped with olives, sauteed onions and mushrooms next to a pile of salad greens along with marinated beets, fermented sauerkraut, homemade feta and a handful of strawberries, topped in balsamic and oil with a squeeze of lemon that came from  my neighbor’s tree I feel like I might loose my mind in deliciousness and every hour of work that went into having that meal in the fridge feels so worth it.

This year have I committed myself to preparing lunch and breakfast.  In the past I  felt like those meals were meant to be eaten on the go, no reason to dirty a plate, let alone a pan.  But the reality is three times a day we are hungry and we are going to eat.  If I don’t cook for my family, someone else will and that someone doesn’t care near as much about them as I do.  They won’t make sure that they get a serving of greens with each meal, they won’t add turmeric and ginger and garlic and oregano, all of which add flavor and medicinal value, they will be glad to feed my family with the lowest quality, lowest price ingredients tolerable and pocket our money without a second thought.  So nowadays I cook and I love on the people I cook for in a way that no one else can.

This isn’t meant as a criticism of you if cooking isn’t your thing or if life just really does not allow you to cook as much as you would like, none of us have mastered this, we are all a work in progress. This also isn’t meant to insult those families where men have chosen to stay at home or are the primary chef in the family, you guys are awesome and I love the example you are setting.  What this is meant to be is an affirmation of all those millions of women who spend their days in front of fires and stoves stirring pots and flattening tortillas. It is a plea to recognize that an empowered woman does not have to wear high-heels or a pant suit, we can don our dusty aprons and still demand to be taken seriously.

I cook for my husband because I am a modern woman and I love to feed my family.

 

This post was inspired by my current read, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.by Barbara Kingsolver as part of the Liturgy of Life Reading Group series. We would love for you to join us.

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

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Growing in Gratitude and why local eating won't save your soul. Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

On growing grateful and why eating local won’t save your soul Thoughts on Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

The other night we gathered round for dinner. Taking our seats I looked down at my plate and gasped. Staring back up at me in my gravy drippings was a story. An edible story to be exact and one with many parts. There was the old friend and his family ranch, the hours he spent putting up fences, digging ditches, and the deer he killed and butchered for us.  And then of our neighbor who this year began her first garden, filled with arugula and carrots which she skeptically tended until it began producing beyond what she could eat.  Then there is the bread, ground from flour using a borrowed mill, and wheat, another gift, which became bread when it mixed with the sourdough that came to me after being  passed on, hand to hand, kitchen to kitchen, for over a century.  As I lifted my fork I saw my connection to the world displayed in my salad dressing, which I mix just like my Yiayia taught me, reminding me of the dirt out of which I was formed, and the people who made me and it tasted good.

Eating local is a privilege that I don’t take lightly. Of course it wasn’t always this way, not long ago food was produced in just about every household.  We are beginning to mourn that loss and find ways to help even those with limited resources regain their role as producer. Still, for the moment, local eating requires some combination of either land, time and money.   For many families, who are just scraping by, simply having food on the table, local or not, is something to celebrate.

 

Barbara Kingsolver Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Liturgy of Life Reading Group Discussion Questions

 

And that’s what it’s all about, however or wherever our food comes from, we have a spirit that longs to celebrate, especially around a full table (if this sounds familiar you might be thinking about the whole premise behind the Thanksgiving Holiday).

Our best living is done when we recognize that all things come from God and when we offer those things back to Him. We need to say, “Thank you,” not for God’s sake but for ours.  Every act of gratitude draws us toward contentment in the midst of a world that always gives us a reason to be miserable and tells us we will never have enough.

Eating local is a privilege. And those of us who can splurge on a $10 bottle of wine or a bar of European chocolate once in a while need to take our privilege seriously. Like it or not, money is power and we are consumers. Our purchases communicate our values to the world.  If we don’t ask where our chocolate comes from we will never know about the Ghanan boy who misses school to wield machetes in the cocoa fields giving us affordable chocolate for the low price of a lost finger or two.

And this isn’t just about food. Everything we purchase from our toothbrush to the paint on our walls come from somewhere and is made of something. If we want to know what we are supporting we need to ask questions.

Still, the worst part of all of this, is that even when we find the answers, even when we make good choices, we can’t save the world or even our own souls.  We will never know if when we stop buying imported chocolate we have helped that boy get back into school or left his family destitute.   There isn’t always a clear answer and my priorities and yours might not be the same.

We can hope that our efforts to shop locally and put money into our own economies will create accountability and do some good in the world, and I think it will.  But even if it doesn’t, purchasing with intention will change us.  It will free us from the allure of the quick and the easy. And it will open our eyes to our connection with the world and teach us to celebrate the story that is already being written on every dinner plate.

 

This post is part of our Reading Group series. Right now are reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We would love for you to join us.

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

 

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Dehydrator Kale Chips, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Liturgy of Life Readiang Group

I never thought I would feel this way about kale A quick and easy kale chip recipe inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I was starting to think that the purchase of my food dehydrator was a mistake. One can only eat so many raisins and banana chips.

That was until kale chips entered my life.  Thank you Barbara Kingsolver for inspiring me to eat my greens (we are reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in our reading group right now and we would love for you to join us).

 

And it’s no secret this book has sent me into a bit of a health food kick  ( I tend to go to extremes so watch out for the chocolate binge that will come in a few months).

I’ve been devouring books and lectures on nutrition and natural medicine.  And while opinions vary on a lot of subjects the place that everyone can agree is that we need to eat more greens.

 

Not only do American’s have a diet astounding low in vegetables we also grow in nutrient depleted soil so that even when we eat our veggies we aren’t getting the nutrition that our grandparents would have eating the same plate 50 years ago.

 

It turns out that there is a simple remedy to a variety of health problems,  cut out the junk food and eat more green. And of the greens Kale stands out for having a rich range of vitamins and anti-oxidants and being relatively easy to grow making it reasonably affordable.  This recipe is a simple way to cut out snack foods (often an area where we tend to pile in extra sugar) and replace with one of the healthiest foods available at our local grocery store or farmers market.

 

These chips are easy to make and we enjoy them as much as popcorn or potato chips (okay so my husband may not totally agree with that statement but he does like the Kale Chips and my daughter and I can’t even wait to get them off the dehydrator before we start munching).

A quick not about baking these in the oven. You totally can do it, just set your oven down as low as it will go and check them regularly. This will work though I find that they don’t cook as evenly, some parts were burnt others too soggy and you miss out on the real crisp and crunch that makes this an irresistible snack.

I have this food dehydrator, it has served me well and is less expensive than buying a pound of of organic kale chips on amazon, if you had any intention of making kale chips a part of your regular life (I know I’m sure this is something you have been dreaming about for months) than it will definitely save you money.

 

Quick and Easy Dehydrator Kale Chips

You will need:

Dehydrator Kale Chips, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Liturgy of Life Readiang Group

Food Dehydrator (or oven, baking sheets, parchment paper)

Kale (I buy the organic bags already washed and chopped, this is part of what makes this such a simple go to recipe for me)

Olive oil

Salt

Directions:

Wash and dry kale if needed. If not already chopped remove the stems at this point, chop if desired.

Toss with oil. Just enough to very lightly coat the leaves.

Dehydrator Kale Chips, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Liturgy of Life Readiang Group

Sprinkle with salt. Start with a  pinch or two, toss and taste. Remember it will taste saltier as it dehydrates.

I spend a few minutes tossing the kale, working the oil and salt into the leaves.  At this point I pick through my pre-chopped kale and remove big stems.

Dehydrator Kale Chips, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Liturgy of Life Readiang Group

Spread kale into food dehydrator or baking sheet.  Follow your dehydrator’s instructions or bake at your oven’s lowest setting. My dehydrator puts veggies at 135 degrees. These take between 2-4 hours. I’ve never had them burn even when I’ve left them on a little longer. Cooking time will depend on your temperature and humidity.

 

Remove once they are crispy. Store in air tight container (though we usually eat most of ours before we can put them away.)

Dehydrator Kale Chips, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Liturgy of Life Readiang Group

This post is part of our Reading Group series. Right now are reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We would love for you to join us.

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

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