Food.


 

I think about food a lot. I eat a lot, fantasize about what I could make, fantasize about what I might be able to get other people to make for me, I think about shopping lists and recipes and environmental contaminants and ecological and ethical consequences about food, I think about nutrition, and I think about how I’m hungry just about now.

I love food. And even more than that, I love buying, preparing, eating, sharing food I can be proud of.

This isn’t always easy. If Pizza Hut or Chili’s, for example, are on offer, I’m nearly certain to accept. That doesn’t come up too terribly often here (thankfully) since there is only one Chili’s in all of Portugal, and Pizza Hut seems to appear just around big shopping centers and certainly not in my town. The other week, we were running errands, and My Man suggested Pizza Hut to soothe my hungrygrumpy soul… I accepted. During the meal I started to feel guilty about spending unnecessary money and eating gross (but tasty) food and wondering if we do that too much…Then I remembered that the other time we at at Pizza Hut was about 10+ months ago. So, you know. Once a year, give or take, isn’t too bad.

But food I can be proud of is awesome stuff. Like the fruit and veggies and cheeses and olives we get at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and Sundays, just across the street from our apartment. And the happy, newly opened organic farm with a fruit and veggie stand open on the weekends. Plus, they have amazing bread. And their pimentos padrón are frequently super-hot, which is a real treat. And they are organic, and local, so yay.

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We also discovered a sneaky gem at the Feira da Ladra last weekend. The Centro das Artes Culinárias (check out the website!) has a lovely market in which they sell traditional foods– cheeses, wines, artesanal beer,  condiments, etc. done the Portuguese traditional way…my take is that they are sort of a Slow Food organization that tries to maintain the knowledge of traditional food preparation, the quality of our foods, and to share the knowledge with others. It’s like a small Portuguese food museum. I got some really delicious peanut butter there. The ingredients? Toasted peanuts and flor de sal. That’s it.

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I’ve also been working (slowly) on a new variation of cookies– Indulgent Mamas, I like to call them. It’s a simple thing to occupy one’s time, yes, but I enjoy it. You can safely eat the cookie dough (no eggs!). There’s nothing that’s gonna kill yo’ baby if you are pregnant and making and eating them. In fact, the ingredients are pretty nourishing. You can let your kids lick the spoon. You can lick the bowl. Good times.

And then, enter Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. It’s a great read, if you’re late to the party like I am and haven’t read it yet. His sources are sound, his logic simple and clear, and the ideas are probably what you’ve been thinking mixed with some other things that might make your brain explode. It’s worth reading. I want to find a copy in Portuguese, force my husband to read it, and then to have him force his father to read it. (I’m hoping for more organic gardening in the homeland so Grandissimo gets even better fruits and veg from the Portuguese family 😉 )

Michael Pollan, as I said, uses sound sources. This means that the book drives a gal to more online research and reading. His website has good resources to start from. Of course, if you are reading Pollan, you need to jump back into the world of Marion Nestle. Get on into her website and work, and don’t expect to resurface for a while.

All of this, of course, drives me to be more mindful of my food choices and shopping choices and of how I and my loved ones eat, in general. Not that I’m not fairly mindful, but still. It brings it back to the surface.

And now Grandíssimo is awake after his extensive 10 minute nap, so I’ll be going  🙂

xx-Gradissima

 

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Today’s recommended reading for Gradissimites…


Because you need to laugh. And then because the one HuffPo weed piece is a decent follow up to awesome Jezebel weed piece. I was going to give you some teaser highlights for each piece, but I don’t want to ruin the laugh-pee effect when you read the articles.

Do it.

While you’re reading, I might try to finish that other post I was working on…. 😉

(If you like “Go the F#ck To Sleep”, you’ll enjoy this one.)

Because even though I’m not stoned, and you probably aren’t either, it doesn’t mean we’re not both wishing we could hi-five this mama.

And apparently it’s a thing, so now we’re briefed 🙂

xx-Gradissima

Time


Moms don’t go crazy because they are inherently crazy. There’s no ‘mom’ gene that I know of that makes us snap. We go crazy because of years of time deprivation. Time? Years of a lack of it? Yes. Yes, exactly.

Time spent doing things, even things you love, is not the same thing as time spent doing whatever the hell you want and need to do for yourself. It’s not that we don’t want to do what we’re doing–we do (“we” being my totally unauthorized way of speaking for all mothers… which at this point, you should realize, I don’t). I’m five months into this, and I’m already losing my shit. Not because I don’t want to be a mother– or a stay-at-home mother– or even what is shaping up to be one of those attachment parenting mothers– because I do. I am doing what I want to be doing. My life right now is a result of planned, deliberate, luck-drenched choices I’ve made. 

However, no matter how much a person loves his or her job, is fulfilled by it, challenged by it, believes in its purpose– everyone needs breaks. And the nature of this job, folks, is that those breaks are few and far between. Even in the best, most privileged circumstances (I count myself, absolutely, to be in this group.)

I don’t mean for this to be one of those Reader’s Digest rants, or something that your mom’s friend or weird, yet folksy neighbor had stuck to their refrigerator or sent you on Facebook… even though I’m rehashing the same material, my education and upbringing somehow leads me to cringe at the comparison. They make good points, those trite little tidbits on mothering– the time invested, the socially invisible work, the effort that goes into the job without easily demonstrable outcomes at the end of each day (unless you get metaphorical on that sh#t, which is fair, but it isn’t the same as having a PowerPoint or report or sculpture or amount of cash or something else that the rest of society can look at and say, Yep, you’ve been working!)… And I agree with all of those points. Who wouldn’t, assuming we’re polling a group of people without their heads up their asses.

But my thing right now is the time. Life is spectacular, and I can roll with all the sh#t that comes along with the job because it’s worth it, but I also need time to myself. And as a stay at home, exclusively breastfeeding, first-time mother, I don’t have that. Even when I’m not “working” in this metaphor, I’m always on call. Always.

Case in point– my husband came home for a couple hours this afternoon so I wouldn’t lose my shit, and I’m taking a break from this short post to go breastfeed. —- Two boobs, a poop and a puke later, I’m back.

Ok, so my already dubious sense of focus is disrupted. I had some stuff lined up about Hanna Rosin, the stupid mommy war stuff and what it might signify, whether “soccer mom” is now a derogatory term, and what that  might mean, a bit of feminist analysis of the “crazy mom” trope…and also some stuff about how my husband is a rock star, my dog is the coolest, and how I’ve got the greatest kid in the world, bar none. Oh. There was likely to be some basic grammatical editing involved as well.

But as far as time goes, at least I just had some. And that short bit of time to myself (which is now over– My Man just headed out the door back to work) makes me feel sane again. I feel good. Screw the editing. This was time well-spent. 😉

Notes on “Sneaky Cookies” recipe…go muffin tops!


I’ve been playing around a little with the Sneaky Cookies for the past couple days, and I thought I’d share a few notes…just in case you haven’t tried them yet.

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If you are waiting for something a bit more decadent (but still pretty darned full of goodness), then hang on for my Gradíssimas …I like to think of Gradíssimas as the perfect chocolate chunk cookie with a choose-your-own-adventure variation, depending on your emotional state at the time of making them 😉

Until then-
Gradíssima