Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dinner Diaries by Betsy Block

For our fifth monthly "Living Richly" dinner this week, we enjoyed a presentation by food writer (and local Arlington, MA, resident) Betsy Block, reading from her book, The Dinner Diaries. Amusing, personable, and confessional, the book describes her ambitious makeover of her family's eating routine -- aiming for better nutrition, food safety, environmental profile, and more, all at the same time, while simultaneously wrestling with lukewarm participation from some family members.

Not everybody who tries finds eating well quite as difficult (!), in part because many people aim lower on one goal or another. A good food movement writer like Michael Pollan aims high on sustainable and local food, but doesn't seek so hard to meet nutrient standards (saying they smack of nutritionism). Others meet nutrition goals without having such high standards for home cooking from real foods. But, whether their own personal goals are hard or easy, anybody will relate to this charming description of the journey.

An excerpt from the publisher's site:
Maya comes upstairs Sunday morning to interrupt my meditation. "Mommy, Mommy, I have good news," she tells me excitedly. "Zack likes fried cheese!" She thinks this is good news because Zack is the only one in the family who doesn't like cheese, and this complicates things sometimes, as if life wasn't already complicated enough. He wouldn't eat pizza until he was seven, and while I can't say this kept me up at night, it did make for some awkward moments at birthday parties.

So, trying to stay in the meditative moment, I sigh, get out of bed because I meditate lying down under the covers - "I think they used to call that a nap," my husband, Andy, says - and come downstairs to find Zack sprinkling shredded cheese into an oiled pan until it comes together in a greasy, brown-edged clump. "Aren't you happy I like healthy, delicious fried cheese, Mom?" he taunts, then laughs wickedly. I shake my head and walk away; otherwise, I might do something I'll regret, like pick up the plate and dump its contents into the sink.

I'd always thought food was pretty straightforward: you're hungry, you eat; you're not, you don't. Then I became a mother.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

No diary journey here:

WSU drops reading program: Selected book eyed impact of agribusiness

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/may/21/wsu-drops-reading-program/

Parke Wilde said...

Thanks for the link. I had some interesting conversations with colleagues at WSU about that controversy and did a further post.

jhoncena said...
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