I wanted to wait until the end of the month to start the new blog here at WordPress, but I looked at my calendar and noticed that I have scant time between now and, well… sometime next year for working up a new space and adding spiffy content. With that realization came the idea that I would start straight up by hyping the reason I started yet another blog about Mister C: Hopefully it will eat the others and we can settle down to a single blog about my kitchen escapades. That will allow Life at GreenWood to regale readers with tales of GreenWood Studio and our quest to Not Starve as Artists, updating the screaming masses of fans with What’s Happening at GreenWood on a schedule that more befits a temperamental dreamer like that pain-in-the-ass Clyde Gilbert… I can tell by your glazed expression that you’re deep in thought, so we’ll scoot along the line a bit and come to the subject of this… inaugural post:
Let’s face it, the evolution of the Nuclear Family has decreed that we become busy, impatient and harried Americans. Now we’re fat and depressed too: because we’re so busy we eat far too much processed food that we don’t even taste. For most people, lunch means you’re back at the office eating at your desk or driving to the bank, eating in big bites because you have to get back to work soon…. yeah, something like that. So many people I know have their own version of this dance, and of course I know all the steps to Take-Out Tango all too well. It’s easy, and it seems to be a deal until you tally up how much money is spent for fast food over a month or so- and when consideration is given to the quality of the food and why you feel you have to eat in a hurry… most folks sigh, shake their heads and order a pizza… or try to diet. Diets rarely work- they’re like New Years’ Resolutions or Lent sacrifices… Pizza… mmmm Pizza. It’s like braaains for zombies… but that’s another book.
I don’t believe it’s necessarily a case of what we’re eating but rather how we’re eating: Trying to cram dinner into the 20-minute space between walking in the door from work and whatever comes next in the evening’s docket leaves no time to spend with family and friends. Little League and cheerleading takes you all over town, so you’re (not) enjoying another drive-through dinner or take-out eaten just before bedtime. All you’ve heard on NPR is true: take-out is full of things that should be consumed in moderation- mostly fats and sugar, and don’t even start about the salt. Fats and sugar are cheap, high-calorie fillers that makes fast food so inexpensive and easy to prepare. Salt lets your taste buds know you’re eating, and covers up the bland taste of processed foods. Burger and a soda? There’s your fat and sugar, need salt? That’ll be six bucks and we’ll have it ready at the window…
Acknowledging my tendency to rant, I’m writing a cookbook instead of going on the lecture circuit; that way you can shut me up by simply closing the book. I have a title, and I bet you can guess it in under a minute. My goal is 104 recipes or main dishes before I publish the first installment. Why 104? Well, it’s the goal of having two home-cooked meals per week- something to simultaneously anticipate and fear, because you’re going to have to spend time with your family– “Oh God, please- that’s why we filled our lives up with all this coming and going and rushing- do we have to?” you may wail. Maybe you don’t particularly like your middle child, or your sister-in-law who just moved in with her two angry kids, and your meddling mother or aunt is two doors down… I know, I know. Preparing meals for the family lets you run the show, at least for a couple of hours, and hey- if you’re like me and your workday ends with a tipple or beer then you can sip away while making dinner. It’s my opinion that long as you don’t burn the house down and the food is tasty you’ll be appreciated more than if you brought home a rotisserie chicken and opened a can of corn. But why would anyone want to spend a half-hour preparing dinner, then cooking and serving it, and afterward face the fearsome job of cleaning up? Am I nuts to ask you for an answer?
Try this two-meals idea only if you want to have a better quality of life. Decide to spend more time with your loved ones, your roommates or your good friends- and make part of that time the preparation and sharing of a good homemade meal. Don’t look for much in the way of slogans or proclamations from me, either. Aside from the proclamation I just made, that is. And the one before that… What I meant to say is: It’s your good time. It’s up to you whether or not you want to end your evening with a dallop of ice cream or snifter of brandy. I just like to cook, and spend time at the end of the day with my family. It’s a way of drawing down the shade and saying “OK, I’m done with the day, time to enjoy the evening”. It’s helped me become a better guy, a better Dad, and cooking for the family is a way of showing I care in a primal male fashion: “Look, I made this for you.” It can be a great end to your day, and at least in my life it reminds me that each day ends with my family in our home, or in a place they are loved. Insert sappy New-Age-Dad altruism here, I’m out of ideas….
I’ll be posting what I made for dinner, and the roads I took during the preparation. Added to that will be my attempts to entertain you with my literary wit, family anecdotes and caustic observations. I’ll include some recipes but I’d really prefer to sell them to you in my cookbook(s), but you know I won’t be able to resist sharing a particularly good meal with you-