Friday, July 27, 2012

Growing, Cooking, and Eating.

 Patipan squash with egg, roasted carrots, padron peppers with anchovies and creamy polenta.
 Grilled peaches and nectarines with goat cheese.
 Home made romanesco sauce for grilling chicken and making salad dressing.  Herbed couscous

 Wine grapes that are turning.  Perfect pincer foods for toddlers.
 chicken tacos with greens and baby potatoes
 Making flavored Kefir smoothies (blueberry mint with nutmeg and flax)
 Roasting a chicken with home grown squash and herbs on the grill (it takes longer than expected!)
 French fingerling potatoes
 The Peruvian purple potatoes we thought dead were in fact growing.  Rainbow carrots and green beans.
 Dad made creme brule
 homemade watermelon jello (real watermelon)
 3 different varieties of cucumbers in our garden
 picking blueberries
 GF roti (Kurakkan and tapioca flour) with coconut sambal
 Pickled watermelon radishes.

 Homemade yogurt with berry compote
Homemade marshmallows

Sometimes I wonder why I can't be like all those women who look perfectly put together and who have all the time in the world to do things.  I was reminded that we all prioritize things differently.  In this household, as you can see, we prioritize growing, cooking and eating real foods.

It is a LOT of work that goes deeper than taste and flavor.  It's about cultivating a family that works together, that does not take things for granted, that values the labor of growing food.  It's about working together, creating memories, about learning in small steps.  It's about making mistakes and learning from them, about sharing and caring, watching things grow and die.  It's about the time spent together even if it's the hardest place to do it- the kitchen.

In Montessori schools, the first area of work that is given to a child is what's called Practical Life.  This is an area which bridges the home environment to the school environment.  It's what's familiar and comfortable.  A child's first "learning" is to take care of himself and the home he comes from.  The greatest lessons in life are to care for yourself and to take care of another including our environment (the world).  Without this we could not exist.  Teaching a human being the most basic of skills is practical but essential.  These days it's almost a lost art.  The kitchen and cooking are dreaded "chores" in households today.  Don't get me wrong, there are days I'm happy to get take out.  However, the lessons for taking care of yourself is only possible to be taught at home.  We must model this behavior to our children and let them learn and struggle along the way.  It is easier and faster for us to do it, but there is no lesson they can learn in that other than "mom/dad will do it".

I'm so proud of the varied pallet my kids have and for their ability to recognize fruits, vegetables and herbs.  I can only hope that the few years my staying home will have a greater impact on their life, and who they become in the future.  "It all starts in the home" should really be narrowed to "it all starts in the kitchen".  Food is an essential aspect of our lives.  Sadly, we've come to the point in which we only know how to consume it.  The greater understanding of growing it and caring for the earth entail far more scientific and sociological principles.  These are unspoken lessons that are learned from our hands.

Cooking with kids, recipes coming soon!

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