Long Time, No See

In Thinking About Food on March 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Or, What I Did On My Winter Hiatus

I made this:

and these:

and a bunch of these:

and this:

(Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t make the crib. I made the sheet. And the third picture’s of burp cloths made from old t-shirts, which came from cleaning out our drawers to make room for baby stuff.)

The Burger (so named because she’d kick like crazy in utero whenever I ate The Husband’s secret-recipe hamburgers) was born in early January, and I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch, nursing and reading food magazines and cookbooks. The single best thing I’ve read about child nutrition came not from a website or a medical journal or a parenting guide, but from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat:

Good eating starts in the cradle. … The moment baby is put to the breast, he or she learns that eating is one of the foremost pleasures of life; seeking that pleasure is also how he or she stays alive and keeps growing. … [An obstetrician] told me that one of the reasons breast milk was better than formula was that its taste changed all the time. Whatever a woman’s been eating informs the flavor of her milk, and so a breast-fed child has a varied diet from the very beginning. That’s to say, the baby learns that unpredictability is in the very nature of food, of life — that change and difference, within a secure context, are not frightening but desirable and to be savored.

Now that The Burger’s almost two months old [cripes!], and I’m finding time to shower and eat lunch and even sometimes cook a little bit, I think it’s time to return to Smart Cabbage and its purpose: to eat, or cook, a new food every week. I imagine the recipes and preparation will be markedly simpler than before — I don’t exactly foresee having the time to make a two-day pork bun, or to spend a whole day making a batch of tamales — but the goal of expanding my (and now my daughter’s) culinary horizons is an important one. I may not get to it every single week, particularly since not working outside of the house has me totally clueless as to the day and date, but hey: getting out of pajamas is a major coup these days, so blogging practically deserves a Medal of Honor.

Since I haven’t been working [hooray for maternity leave! boo for no second income!], we’ve been making a concerted effort to be better with our food dollars: cooking at home every night, packing lunch for The Husband every day, eating leftovers, planning menus and writing detailed grocery lists. The underlying theme to all of this is being organized — I take time to plan, keep the fridge (relatively) clean, find coupons online (I saved $28 at Whole Foods, suckas!). And (perhaps most importantly) I did a thorough inventory of our freezers and our pantry, making a list of contents of each and taping it to the outside so I can see at a glance what I’ve got. The challenge is to find ways to use up all of the ingredients we’ve (okay, I’ve) amassed over the past while. Tons of meat from our amazing meat CSA. Bulk grains and legumes that I’m sure I had a plan for when I bought them, but instead wound up languishing in pretty glass jars in the cupboard.

So what’s on tap in the near future? Fideos! Celeriac! Curry leaves! Ethiopian red pepper simmer sauce! Rack of lamb! Stay tuned!

  1. We will happily enjoy the fruits of your return to the kitchen next week!

  2. I saw Fideos on the menu at Xoco today! I have no idea what it is, but I’m looking forward to reading and finding out! Maybe I’ll get around to writing again.

  3. Good to see Smart Cabbage back. Will be better to see the family next week!

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