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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What kills us.

(in the photo: I'm eating steamed mussels at Redfish Restaurant in Port Orford. Hubby took this picture, sitting across me.)

You add up the hours and sigh. So much of our energy goes into thinking about food, exploring food, selecting food, preparing, eating, cleaning up. In one day, the activity of eating could take up half of our waking hours.

My mother's routine of getting the main meal on the table was to get up at seven, get us to school with a slice of bread and jam, a glass of milk, make the beds and clean the house, then walk across town to the meat market, the vegetable stands, the bakery. Along the way she caught up with friends and relatives. With her shopping bag full, she walked back home, slipped out of her heels and prepared the main meal of the day.  Housewives spent many hours in food preparation.

When we returned home to eat the main meal around noon or so, the pasta would be ready to go into the boiling water, the vegetables had been prepared, the meat was grilled or stewed.  Dad too had returned from his work, and after washing up, he'd take his seat at the head of the table and poured wine for himself and Mother, and added a dash to our water glasses. School work was discussed first, then other affairs.

My routine and my husband's, during our working years was nothing like this. I woke the children; they fixed themselves cereal, grabbed snacks, and all of us dashed out of the house way before seven. We all returned after six; the children had after school events and child care providers, hubby and I worked way past our eight hours shift.  Back in the fold, sharing a quick meal together, we all returned to homework or housekeeping chores that couldn't wait another day. Bill paying, laundry, vacuuming. Most of the time, we all collapsed in front of a television set to watch the news or a favorite program.

No wonder we relied on drive ins, pick-ups, take-outs, frozen meals, fast food meals, eat in your car meals.Who had the time to sit down, with a glass of wine, across the table with someone? 

We have arrived to a time in our society's evolution when what kill us is our modern way of eating.
We eat poorly.
In a hurry.
Under stress.


Eating has become a leisure activity, to be done only if time is available. No time during our working days. Better get work done while we can; while the Stock Exchange is ticking; while deadlines loom.

And so,  after horrendous commutes, we pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken's big bucket meal. Tonight, plenty of food. And no one has to clean up.
Tonight, we might be able to sit with little Abby and read her that favorite book of hers. Tonight, we might watch Jeopardy together.

Too bad we can't skip eating completely. 

18 comments:

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i like the weekends...when we can take that time to enjoy a meal together...during the week i try to do all the prep so when my wife gets home she can cook it...usually i get in late though so they have already eaten... : (

Helen said...

A benefit of growing older ~ having/making time for creative cooking. I enjoy the feeling of experimenting with recipes, creating new dishes. You are right about families of today, scant time to make the dinner hour count.

The Broad said...

Modern family life now seems to mean little time together. It's no wonder people don't seem to know how to do it any more. We don't seem to know our families, never mind the neighbours and community. Leisure time is spent in front of a computer or with a game console. But there are signs that some things are changing. For example, scout troops now have waiting lists -- a few years ago the numbers were decreasing enormously...

Rian said...

Hi there! Fairly new to Blogger, and just found your site. Agree with Helen that being newly retired certainly does give you time to use those creative juices. I too enjoy cooking much more now and am more willing to experiment. And it seems that most of our activities these days revolve around 'food'; meeting people for lunch, going out to breakfast, etc.

Eva Gallant said...

I went through a spell after retiring when I really didn't want to cook. Being home for 3 meals a day was strange! Now, I'm a little better about cooking meals, although I'd much rather eat out! Unfortunately, my budget doesn't allow me to as often as I'd like!

becky said...

it's true...while in our working years we find ourselves eating alone...whatever works to keep going once retirement hits, food is front and center, the main subject of the day

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I was never brought up on anything but home cooked meals and this has continued through my life. I have been to a MacDonalds once in my life and possibly once in every two years we had fish and chips. We have always had family meals, sounds like this is not usual any more. I am very surprised. I thought we were quite normal!! We go out to lunch in France, maybe once a month as a treat, but that is it. Diane

joeh said...

This seemed like an interesting post, unfortunatly i do not have time to finish it. GOing to grab a quick bite to eat, and then I got things to do.

cranky

Hilary said...

I'm ordering in and eating out more since my kids have grown than when they were young. Still, I do love cooking and I'd much prefer a home cooked meal at any given evening.

Rob-bear said...

Meals in a rush are but one part of the life in a rush mode.

Tomorrow, I am taking a day off. I will take my meals in a leisurely manner. I will think inventively about food. I will fix a few things that need fixing. Including, hopefully, my bicycle.

Thursday and Friday will be totally different.

And we sometimes wonder (at least the introspective among us do) whether we are at all sane.

Lydia said...

Since I left work we have eaten so much better. When I worked I liked to spend one weekend day preparing meals ahead for the week. Never was one for take-out, but frozen entrees were anther story. Those frozen meals have really improved in the last years; there is actually a selection of fairly gourmet stuff now.

I love that photo of you. You look like you are doing something right, that's for sure!

ellen abbott said...

I've always thought that whoever designed these bodies did a piss poor job of it for that very reason. Too many hours spent on preparing, cooking, eating, and cleaning up after. I don't think our modern life is much of an improvement though since the food and the rushing only serve to damage you.

Vagabonde said...

I also wish that we did not have to eat, especially when we travel – it takes time, costs and we are never sure whether the food will be good. The last two days we were lucky, we found an old “tea” restaurant in downtown Memphis and the next day one in mid-town Memphis called “the Beauty Place” which was a former beauty parlor from the 60-70s restored into a restaurant with unusual dishes. We usually eat a late breakfast a late lunch and fruits or cheese and bread for dinner. With our daughters grown and gone now it makes it easier to eat at unusual hours.

cheshire wife said...

All the mod cons in the world do not seem have improved our lives. The more we have the more we want. When I was working I often had to grab a sandwich and eat it when I could - no proper lunch break.

yaya said...

Where is Beaver's Mom when you need her? I remember meal times being the place we all gathered and we hardly ever ate out. Fast food places were rare. It's too bad we don't take the time for a nice quiet meal and conversation. We'd probably all be skinnier and healthier!

Amanda said...

i will forever be old school and believe in family meal time. i'm lucky in that i love to cook and had the desire and time to prepare regular family dinners when my kids were little. how i wish more folks could have had the experience you did when growing up - your mother sounds like she was a fantastic cook and i can see your dad pouring a touch of wine in your glass. i hope that this midday mealtime ritual still goes on today in italy.

Maggie May said...

Its all different form our Mother's day but I wouldn't go back there even though we are all rushed off our feet & stressed today.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. not having kids .. and we were away at school .. Modern eating is challenging - not for me or my friends .. but so many can't cook, don't know much about food .. and therefore don't teach their kids ..

We were brought up with fresh fruit and vegetables through the season - I'm very grateful to have been able to follow food through the seasons ..

Cheers Hilary