Some of you are new readers, so I wanted to be sure that you know how much is in the archives! Please do look at the menu bar (you might have to come to the site itself) and poke around, especially these days of me being a slow blogging blogger.
Since the topic of the moment in the comments seems to be food and how to get it, I thought I’d just gather a few things we’ve talked about before over the years, in case you forgot or are new here.
Funny how even the topic of which potatoes you buy relates to your goals and your vision, isn’t it? You have to know what your “things” are if you are going to make “first things first.”
You can’t always be throwing out all your resolutions when a new one comes along! Who needs this revolving door of anxiety, I ask you. Let’s just make do with what we have.
I care about food — too much so, actually!
I was talking with Sukie recently and we were laughing together about how we have to remind ourselves to do something other than cook, clean up, and eat!
Branch out a little with some other activities once in a while!
When I was younger and having a crisis over food, whether about its production, purchase, preparation, quantity, quality, whatever — I would descend into a bit of a mire of anxiety and then always return to these key “first things”:
1. We are committed to living on one income, with my role being to make the home on the day-to-day basis. Being the homemaker isn’t a drudgery — it’s the most creative thing most people will ever do! It’s important because it brings peace in your family.
But yes, that means that I put a lot of effort into making good, wholesome, healthy food for a large family (it’s usually way smaller these days!) and yes, our budget was always tight.
2. We have to trust that God sees that we are doing our best. Ultimately, our well-being depends on Him. We can’t guarantee good health or good fortune merely by our efforts — far less by trusting in our dollars to bring us security. Our priority has been to have good family life for the nurturing of the whole person entrusted to us. Health, as good a gift as it is, isn’t something to worship.
3. This bit from Joel Salatin that I pulled out in my previous post expresses what I think (not just about food, either): “Now that the high prices have attracted unscrupulous growers who enter the movement for the money, people realize that no system can regulate integrity.”
No system can regulate integrity.
As parents, we have to use our common sense about a lot of things. Just because something seems to promise purity doesn’t mean that it will deliver. Just because it’s labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it’s better for you or even that much different from the one that isn’t labeled that way.
There are serious issues with our food production, but I personally am not in much of a position to change things on a large scale. Sometimes I remember my trip to Egypt when I was a girl. I remember the meat hanging out in the market (on a hot day of course) with flies all over everything. There are always going to be problems, you know?
At some point we have to trust that if we do our best, we don’t have to worry. (We shouldn’t be worrying anyway. It’s pointless.)
4. I have to accept where I live. If I were to “buy local” all year, I’d be living on kale and parsnips for a good bit of it. I do still have one package of butternut squash in the freezer, so there’s that!
Maybe some of you live somewhere desert-y. Maybe you live in California and I am not bitter about your CSA box being all avocados, blood oranges, and strawberries, no. (Although these things also come at a price in water use.) Be realistic and thankful that you can get food from elsewhere if you need to.
When you can, get your food from nearby, but don’t make this a stress point. I do appreciate that the smallish supermarket (with good prices!) I usually shop at really does source things from our area a lot of the time. My meat and veggies might not be labeled organic, but they are very good, actually. And my ice cream is amazing and made right here in New England, so I’m all set! But it’s not my first priority for things to be organic or local, because I’m not convinced that it ought to be.
We are amazingly blessed to have good food, basically when we need it.
5. If I return to the system I’ve devised — knowing What’s for Dinner (and lunch, and breakfast) — and Saving a Step as I work, and knowing that my stash will support me — I can provide simple, wholesome food for my family (thanks to my dear husband who works hard and provides so well). My system doesn’t wear you out. You can still nurse the baby, go to the kids’ games, and even read a book. Most days.
My system is for your family — you tailor-make it according to all your needs. It helps you take into account your actual schedule — you finally figure out how to have the meal you need for a rushing-around day, a leisurely feast day, an ordinary day — whatever you have going on, you will be ready, because you key it to your calendar. Your food will be as much from scratch as you hope it will be, but you won’t be in the kitchen all day — unless you want to be!
I can’t explain all this in one blog post, but I have explained it in many posts, so do click on those links and see. On the menu bar there is a label: Dinner Every Day. Check it out. I’ve written about everything you need: How to shop, how to plan, where to get ideas, how to save money, how to save time — it’s all there.
Even with lots of kids and not much money, you can eat well. You must work at it, don’t get me wrong. And you won’t be able to buy everything at Whole Foods, but as Salatin explains, you probably shouldn’t even want to, even if you could afford it.
But you can do it! If I could do it, so can you!