Frequently posed questions and/or comments

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So, you write a food blog, eh? Gosh, I was just about to ask you and your family to my house for dinner, but now I’m afraid to cook for you!
Please, please, ask my family to dinner. We don’t get out much. We love it when people cook food for us, no matter what it is. You might notice that, on this blog, I am only ever critical of my own cooking or something I’ve paid someone to make for me (i.e., in a restaurant). When someone has me in their own house and serves me food, it always warms my soul.

You like to cook? That’s great — I wish I did. My grandmother was a great cook, but my Mom wasn’t, and so I just never learned how.
Yeah, I’m right there with you. When I graduated college, the only thing I knew how to do was boil a pot of water and add a flavor pouch for my MSG-laced noodle dinner. Once, as a 9-year old, my sister and I wanted to make butter (we saw it on 3-2-1 Contact). So we made the churn out of an empty milk carton and popsicle sticks. And we churned, for hours, it seemed, a small amount of powdered non-dairy creamer with water added. My well-intentioned Mom never thought to inform us that we would never get butter. Thank goodness my Grandmother showed up that day, or else we might still be churning (we never lacked the willpower).

Point being, take the reigns, and go for it. You don’t have to learn everything at once; the best cookbook to help you understand what you’re cooking is The Joy of Cooking. Or, How to Cook Everything. And don’t be afraid to ask people questions. I’m always happy to answer, to the irritating point where you might not ever want to ask me again.

Do you only use organic ingredients?
No. I try to buy as many local/sustainably farmed ingredients as I can, and that modifier supersedes organic (although, most times, if a farm is using sustainable practices, it is also organic even if it doesn’t have the label). That being said, I will always choose organic over conventional when the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefit. And more often than not, if you’re buying foods that are in season, organic produce costs the same or just a fraction more than conventional (but you have to shop around a little to find the best deals).

Do you take your kids to McDonald’s?
No. What can I say — the imagery of Super Size Me really stuck with me, and I just don’t like to eat there. But this applies to the other fast-food joints as well (with the exception of Chic-fil-A, which is where we go when we eat fast food — only because I worked there in high school, and know that while it’s not exactly health food, most of it is actually made on-site).

I take my kids to McDonald’s. Will you judge me?
No. And in fact, if you have my kids with you for a play date, you can take them to McDonald’s (with the exception of my allergic one, and you can still take him, he just can’t eat anything).

How do you eat so much fatty food and still look so great?
Ok, I’ve never really been asked this question (outside of my daydreams, where I just might be asked this question by Alton Brown). But, I still get the wary look when I say that I never purchase low-fat or fat-free products, and when I try to convince my friends to do the same. I’m a believer in the premise that our bodies need fat, so I use it, in as natural a form as possible.  I’ve never read it, and I don’t recommend it outright, but I think a good place to start on reading more about this is a book called Eat Fat, Lose Fat (by Sally Fallon, a writer with whom I have a love/hate relationship).

What allergies does your son have? It must be impossible to feed him — I don’t know what I would do if my kids were allergic.
My 3-year old is allergic to milk, corn, peanuts, walnuts, cherries, and a host of grasses, trees, and other environmental irritants. The most severe allergy is milk — we carry an Epi-pen for that one (though we’ve never had to use it). He is thankfully not airborne allergic, however, and we still have all of the above items in our house.

I always tell people that, if your kid was allergic, you would figure it out. You don’t really have a choice; and once you get into a groove with the new way of thinking, it just becomes a part of your life, and it is quite manageable. I also try my best to convince well-meaning friends that I appreciate their desire to fix food he can eat; but it’s so complicated to avoid corn, it’s just not worth it. We’ll bring his food, always.*

* Update: As of August 2010, my now 4-year old is almost fully allergy-free. He was treated weekly over the course of the summer by a naturopath who uses the NAET method. It has been life-changing for our family, at times feeling miraculous. We still avoid processed foods and artificial colors/flavors which still seem to cause mild reactions (as well they should) — but overall our son eats what everyone else in the family eats (he still won’t drink cow’s milk, but loves ice cream, cheese and yogurt). Our Epi-Pen is currently collecting dust in the medicine cabinet ; )

What’s your favorite food?
Anything prepared really well, and in-season. The closest I come to shedding tears while eating is usually when enjoying really good sushi.

Do you ever stop thinking about food?
Yes, when I’m full.

You seem a little off to me. Have you ever considered therapy?
Sure have. Can I borrow your therapist?

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