Let's Eat - June 2012
New Column Will Cover Food from Soup to Nuts (Literally)
By Kit Waskom Pollard
New Column Will Cover Food from Soup to
When my son was 2 years old, my husband and I took him to a tapas restaurant,
where we watched him down half a dozen salty, grilled sardines. One by one, he
popped the fish, bones and all, into his tiny mouth, smiling up at us with a
look of total satisfaction.
I was a proud momma that day. There he was, my little boy, so adventurous, with
such a sophisticated palate. A gourmand-in-training.
Of course, it didn’t last long. Just a few months later, that same toddler
gourmand decided that vegetables and fruit weren’t to his liking—and, for
that matter, neither were eggs. Or potatoes, except in french fry form. Three
years later, we’re still at that impasse, and orange macaroni and cheese,
straight from the box, tops his list of favorite foods. Every night, dinner
with my son reinforces one of the big lessons of parenting: don’t get cocky.
After nearly seven years of food blogging and restaurant reviewing, I’ve eaten
countless meals in restaurants, managed one major
kitchen renovation, and logged more than a few hours at my own stove. And I
still think food is one of the most fascinating subjects out there.
Food is complex. On one level, it’s a basic necessity: fuel for the body. For
some people, their interest doesn't go very far beyond than that. But for most
people today, food is much more than just a delivery mechanism for the calories
we need to get through the day; it’s a way to explore new cultures, to learn
about history and agriculture and how the world works.
Plus, bringing people together over a meal can strengthen existing
relationships and create new ones. Food is educational, entertaining, creative,
emotional and—best of all—fun.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2005, women spent an
average of 11 hours per week planning and preparing food, or about 1.2 hours
each day, including time spent both shopping and cooking. But in the 1920s and
’30s, that number was much, much higher: between 30 and 42 hours per week, or
about four to six hours per day!
We might spend less time in the kitchen than our great-grandmothers did, but
that doesn’t mean food plays a lesser role in our lives. Thanks to easy access
to fresh foods of all types, plus time savers like healthy prepared foods and
our friend the microwave oven (as well as more help in the kitchen from dads),
preparing good food is simply less time-consuming than it used to be.
That means we’ve got more time to enjoy all the educational and emotional
benefits of great food, without having to deal (as much) with its everyday
hassles. Oh, we can spend our Sunday
mornings at the farmers market, lovingly selecting just the right produce for a
painstakingly constructed family dinner. But the beauty of the modern age is
that we have choices. If we so desire, we can just hit the grocery store for
ingredients, spending the leftover time in the kitchen with the kids. Or even
skip right over all those steps and enjoy the emotional benefits of a family
dinner in an inexpensive, but healthy and high-quality, restaurant.
All satisfying options, and all readily available to modern parents.
In this monthly column, I’ll explore all those benefits of food, especially as
they relate to being a parent—and a few of the hassles, too! I’ll cover
all aspects of the food world, from food growth and production to meal
planning, shopping, cooking, dining out, even cleaning up after a meal. I’ll
talk with everyone from farmers to chefs to waiters to parents rushing to pack
a lunch as they shuffle their kids out the door for the school bus. No edible
stone will go unturned.
If you have questions about the food world, I’ll answer them, and if you have
suggestions for column topics, bring them on! You can reach me via email me at email@example.com.
And you can bet that I’ll be sharing some of my own food stories: the triumphs
(sardines!) the disasters (more mac
and cheese?), and, most of all, the lessons. Because if there’s one thing the
“don’t get cocky” parenting game leaves room for, it’s a good lesson learned. BC
Kit Waskom Pollard lives with her husband and 5-year-old son in Towson.
© Baltimore’s Child Inc. June 2012