Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

Monday, July 23

Keep it Simple

It’s the witching hour. We’re all starving. I’ve been running all day and now it’s past 5 o’clock and who knows when my husband will be home to watch these kids. I’ve got great food in the house—oh, I had the best intentions-- but I’ve been too busy with work and playdates and the bajillion other things going on to plan out whole meals.

The baby is dribbling water from her sippy cup all over the kitchen floor and her muddy little feet are painting brown streaks that I’ll have to wipe up later. Clara is pressing my patience to the wall asking question after question jumping from idea to idea so quickly my answers come out as tongue-twisters. If I answer at all. The fact that she dances around the kitchen like a mayfly while she does this makes me wish I’d made it to yoga more often so I could do that ujjayi breathing thing.

Even the radio, tuned to NPR, is exhausted with its habitual recitation of death and destruction.

I’m pulling chicken and lettuce and carrots and broccoli out of the fridge, happy for the fresh, lovely farmers’ market finds, but frustrated because I don’t have a chunk of uninterrupted time to really concentrate on a recipe or try something new.

“Can I help?” Clara is just getting to the age where she’s interested enough in cooking that I can give her something simple to do and she’ll be entertained for 1.354 minutes. Tonight it looks like I’m just chopping things and throwing them together and I can’t think of an activity for her that doesn’t involve a sharp knife.

“No, honey, I’m just going to make something really fast.” First I can’t think of anything new to cook and now I can’t even conjure up enough imagination to find something for this poor child to do. I understand the allure of pre-made, frozen dinners.

She heads for the door to the back deck where I’ve got a few herbs growing in pots.

“Mom, how about we put some rosemary in the salad?”

Rosemary? She knows what this is? And what to do with it?

Since she was a baby I’ve been rubbing her hands in the rosemary bushes we pass on our walks and encouraging her to breath in its spicy smell. She pulls a sprig off the smallest plant, brings it up to her nose and inhales with her whole body.

“Mmmmm,” she sighs. “That smells yummy!”

The dinner is simple and fine. Moist and flavorful chicken breasts fried in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. Enough to make leftovers for lunch. Salad with romaine lettuce, broccoli and a little rosemary with a dash of balsamic (my guilty, non-local pleasure).

Maybe I’m over-thinking this food and cooking thing. Simple and improvised seems to be working just fine.


Anonymous said...

Aww, that's so lovely that you include your kids in the cooking process! My mom doesn't really cook, so we were more involved in the pizza-ordering process than anything. However, I think it's great that your children are going to grow up knowing, well, what rosemary is. Haha. Love the blog so far! So glad to have met you at the BlogHer Conference. :)

Kristin said...

Hi, Katherine! I just had to laugh when I read this post -- I call that "magic" time period between the afternoon and whenever daddy's coming home the witching hour too. It truly is: everyone is typically starving, my youngest is whining, the older ones are bickering, I'm exhausted from a full day of juggling, my husband's not home, and I'm a complete mess of indecision on what in the world to fix for dinner that will make everyone happy. Nightmare. Sometimes I can't breathe until we're all sitting at the table and all I can hear is the click of silverware.

Anyway, it was such a pleasure meeting you and Iris at the conference. I loved the fact that you were the very first person I met there. You made me feel instantly comfortable and no longer overwhelmed at the prospect of meeting so many incredible women who are far more tech savvy than I can ever hope to be.

I love your blog and will continue to be a fan!!

By the way, I love the photo of Iris and her cupcake.

Best to you and your family,

MichelleK said...

Another great post. I've been reading the last few, and wow...our lives are pretty parallel, except I live in Canada (Victoria, BC), and listen to the CBC instead of NPR...otherwise, sounds pretty similar! I get no greater pleasure than sending my kids out to the garden to collect carrots for dinner. It makes me smile a deep down happiness. My tomatoes haven't made it to the table yet...2 yr old (my baby) keeps inhaling them as they ripen. It's wonderful!

I have you on RSS feed now, so keep up the great writing!