I had a pb&j for lunch today. Straight-up white bread + Jiff + Smucker’s strawberry and I enjoyed the heck out of it. Earlier this week I bought a whole lot of big-name-brand chicken at the grocery store because it was all 40% off and it’s hard to beat that.
What was that I heard? An audible GASP?
Just kidding – sort of. Why am I even telling you this? You might think I’m being weird and not understand why I’m even pointing this out. I hope that’s the case. But if you can get a chuckle out of me thinking there are people out there gasping or cringing at the thought of white bread or non-organic-or-grass-fed-pasture-raised-chicken or something that contains high-fructose corn syrup every so often, stick with me here. I want to talk about this.
I thought a lot about adding the caveat above that the pb&j wasn’t at my own house because I don’t have any of that here, but who cares? We all read so much on blogs and Facebook and all around us about perfect, beautiful foods and about all of the “shoulds” of how we should feed ourselves and our children. It made me think while I was yumming it up with my sandwich. It made me think of the photos I took of the strawberry rhubarb crisp I made yesterday because I’ve really been wanting to work on food photography because it’s insanely hard for me. So I spent the afternoon cooking and photographing and trying to style food and I didn’t even like it. I just can’t get on-board with rhubarb!
I started ruminating about how good a pb&j uncrustable is in the summer, packed to take to the pool or beach with a juice box and some pretzels or chips and a piece of fruit. But I would feel self-conscious about feeding that to my kids and it’s so ridiculous that I don’t even know where to start. I know that there are many people reading this who are rolling their eyes at that, but I think there are a lot more of you who get where I’m coming from. If I make pb&j I need to clarify that the bread is whole wheat and the jam has ho high-fructose corn syrup and the peanut butter has no hydrogenated oils. And -Oh! – don’t worry, chips aren’t a regular thing around here and neither is juice.
This idea of perfection and that other people never ever feeding their families anything but organic, local perfect food (whatever that actually is depending on the day, person or current trend,) or feeling like if you don’t strive for that, you should be ashamed, is getting really old (along with a few choice other parenting topics that result in constant judgement.) I try really hard to make simple, good meals with real ingredients. It doesn’t always happen and I know it doesn’t always happen for you. Can we all just get together and be completely ok with that? Educate ourselves, strive to give ourselves and families food on the whole that will help us to stay healthy and strong and grow and understand that it’s ok if it’s not always perfect? And be thankful for the food on our tables? Setting ourselves up for an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to food is a really great way to live with a lifetime of unnecessary guilt and to perpetuate the mentality that only perfect will do. I don’t want to teach that to my kids.