The talk of America seems to be Jamie Oliver’s quest to make America’s schoolchildren—even America itself—eat healthier.
He serves up chicken, foccacia, stir frys, and various exotic dishes that some have never heard of, and as a result meets criticism at every turn.
What foods did you grow up eating? I grew up eating homemade hamburgers topped with green onions out of the garden, pork chops with real mashed potatoes mixed in with corn dogs and bologna along with a variety of convenience foods my parents decided to try.
Today a staple of my diet is some variety of stir-fry mixed with rice fresh from the rice cooker. That same rice is used to make breakfasts with milk and cinnamon—or even rice pudding when we have a lot of eggs!
Pancakes, biscuits and dinner rolls are from scratch these days as I discovered that the homemade varieties tasted better than the mixes and pre-made stuff you find at the store. Snacks range from splurging on inexpensive ice cream to homemade oatmeal muffins or cupcakes—even upside-down pudding cake whenever the craving hits!
My daughter loves vegetables as a result, frequently requesting her favorite food—broccoli. She loves home made chili and can eat a skillet full of corn bread in an afternoon if allowed!
It is easy to grab a pizza or nuke a burrito. It definitely makes for less dirty dishes! One thing I have noticed is that we spend a lot less on our simpler meals than we do when we eat out or hit the convenience section of the grocery.
The hard part is finding a cook book that actually has recipes from scratch inside. I stumbled upon my first one, but now I tend to aim for older cookbooks if I’m in search of a new recipe.
Take beans, for instance. Soak a cup of beans overnight in some water, drain the water and add fresh, then cook the next day until done. You can add meat if you like—we honestly prefer it without—a couple of pieces of onion, a little salt and pepper—viola! You have cooked a big hearty meal for pennies! Take a cup of corn meal (not the cornbread mix), add a cup of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 eggs, a cup of milk and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil or shortening—mix this together and pour into a greased pan like a skillet or a cake pan and bake in a 350F oven until done (about 30 minutes but look for the top to start cracking to be sure). A toothpick will come out clean when it is ready to serve. Add a couple of teaspoons of sugar for a treat the kids will love, or leave it out for traditional corn bread.
A meal like that costs very little and is quite filling. You can eat and eat on something like that and not worry about your hips spreading!
Of course, you can’t eat beans every day, so mix it up with other things, but if you just start with one meal a week you will start saving money and gradually begin to eat healthier and feel healthier.
Jamie was appalled at all of the junk food he saw in that ladies’ home—how much would he find in yours, and how much did you spend on that?