Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat: A food promise to my family

During our visit to the American Museum of Natural History this summer, I learned about how scientists study rock layers in order to learn more about changes in the Earth’s climate. I would submit that the same could be said of the various toy receptacles in our house.

Survey the strata of our toy boxes and bins (and, sadly, our glove compartments and center consoles) and you’ll find that the concentration of Happy Meal trinkets in a particular layer correlates directly to periods of unpleasant household climate. The army of Shrek Forever After figures occupying our playroom tells you all you really need to know of our May 2010.

I understand the potential impact of my fast food dependence on the work force, the food chain, the environment, and my children’s arteries. I’ve seen Supersize Me, read Fast Food Nation, even caught a re-run of Michael Pollan on Oprah recently.

However, I also subscribe to Food and Wine, never miss an episode of Top Chef and put Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw at the top of my summer reading list. In other words, it is their palates that I am most worried about. I cannot --will not-- raise children who consider stale nuggets of chicken paste to be the height of culinary achievement.

My promise is not to guarantee a steady diet of locally-sourced organics; I can’t do it. I can’t even say that I’ll never fall prey to the lure of a Happy Meal on a bad day. My promise is to make our meals a priority, to attempt to prepare tasty, interesting, nutritious foods from actual ingredients not concocted in a lab.

Failing all else, I promise not to allow our collection of movie-themed fast food freebies to outnumber my children’s monthly servings of vegetables. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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