I grew up eating home cooked meals. I remember early mornings before school my mom used to make us porridge – until we begged her for Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes. She gave in with regards to the cereal, but she never did when it came to lunch, snacks and dinner time.
School lunches were sandwiches and an apple, orange or banana. Jam sandwiches. Cheese sandwiches. Peanut butter sandwiches. The odd avocado sandwich. My lunch box did not contain the snacks which are put into lunch boxes today (Goldfish crackers, factory-wrapped cookies, granola bars). When we noisily entered home after school each day, we always claimed we were starving. My mom offered a sandwich, a fruit from the bowl on the dining table, or if we were lucky a biscuit from the batch she had baked that day. I remember my sister opening the fridge to search for leftovers from the previous evening – leftovers she would eat cold or warm up on the stove.
And then there was dinner. Made from scratch. We used to help cutting onions (why did I always get that job, I wondered), peeling carrots, chopping vegetables. Never did my mom buy frozen food from the supermarket and warm it up in the oven. Lentils, macaroni, stew and rice, split pea soup and dumplings, spaghetti bolognese, ratatouille, pork chops and vegetables. I remember sitting in the kitchen with my mother, helping out or doing homework, while she made the evening meal.
Now that I have my own family, I cook from scratch too. Fresh produce is bought, chopped and cooked for our main meal. Each day I cut up fruit for my family so that they can eat this juicy sweet treat. For school lunches my children either get fried rice, pasta if we had it the night before, or sandwiches. For a snack they get some apple, grapes or a few baby carrots. Occasionally they get a packet of Goldfish (crackers in the shape of fish).
Why do I go to all this trouble when it is so much easier to get fast food, or the frozen meals that are found in the supermarket fridges? I do so to avoid the chemical preservatives and sweeteners that are added to these foods. If I do buy a packaged food in the supermarket, I look at the ingredients and often put it back. At times I do give into temptation and buy that box of biscuits. However I do try to keep the following slogan in mind:
By trying to focus on eating fresh food, I am hoping to give my body the nutrients it needs – and not the toxins it should avoid.
Do you live by the above slogan?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013