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On Sustenance

May 9, 2012

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.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2012 5:48 pm

    Delicious post! Never can decide which tickles me more: Your wonderful photos; your adorable kids; or the super writing. The whole package is sublime. 🙂

  2. May 9, 2012 8:41 pm

    Great photos! I love them.

  3. Kim permalink
    May 10, 2012 10:04 am

    For me, it’s not about judging the people who eat or feed their kids the processed, unhealthy foods (and of course I’m guilty of this too!), it’s about being angry at our society and the food industry that that stuff is even on our shelves and considered normal and ok to eat. Most people have no idea about GMO’s, differences in organic/non-organic, and the current state of farming animals unless they have an interest and do the research themselves. Does it mean imminent death if we eat these things? Of course not, but I don’t think we fully understand WHAT it means for our children in regards to behavior and lifelong health. Just my thoughts!

  4. May 10, 2012 10:47 am

    LOVE this. I’ve been buying the Sara Lee 100% WW “soft and smooth” bread b/c it basically looks and tastes like white bread (which wasn’t allowed in our house when I grew up) and I LOVE IT. And my kids eat it better than most other breads. And they prefer the smooth consistency of Natural Jif to the graininess of Santa Cruz all-natural PB (which I love).
    But every time someone else sees this bread I feel the need to proclaim, “I know it looks like white bread but it’s 100% whole wheat!!” Why do I care?? I mean, I absolutely LOVE a dense, nutty, grainy bread as much as the next YuppieMama. But for PB&J, nothing beats a pillowy soft piece of processed white (or “white”) bread.

    Honestly, I would venture to say that 99.9% of the people reading this blog are among those who are are INCREDIBLY FORTUNATE to have access to ALL kinds of food and the means to feed their families with it. In other words, if you own a computer with internet, I doubt you live in a food desert or a 3rd world country. I am grateful.

  5. May 13, 2012 11:21 pm

    I was in a store recently and saw organic dog food on the shelf. Hhhmm. As the mom of 2 kiddos who were severely malnourished in their first few years of life [and lack of nourishment played a role in their being placed for adoption], I am so over moms judging other moms about what we are feeding our children. I’m all for serving nutritionally balanced, healthy meals, but let’s be thankful that we can feed our families and thrive.

  6. May 15, 2012 2:15 pm

    Good point! I think about times 100 years ago and more when having lots of food at your fingertips was quite a luxury for some and a rarity for most. If my kids eat some stuff that’s processed, no biggie. The most important thing is that they eat generally healthy, nutritious food most of the time. Otherwise, I think we are setting ourselves up for some food issues that are much worse than the occasional Pop-Tart.

  7. Jen permalink
    May 24, 2012 12:25 pm

    I just stumbled onto your blog for the first time… and I love you already! Looking forward to reading more posts!!

    • Lillian permalink*
      May 24, 2012 2:03 pm

      Thanks so much for the kinds words – so glad you’re going to stick around!!

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