“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Tecumseh
Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go. Anthony Bourdain
The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift. Laurie Colwin
Food can bring people together in a way nothing else could. Yotam Ottolenghi
Food Glorious Food! Happy belated National Chocolate Day! With Halloween around the corner, the holiday season almost upon us, and all the chocolate treats the kids will bring home in their trick-or-treat baskets, food is on my mind. I give thanks for all who have nourished me over the years with great food; family, friends, and the occasional stranger. The beauty of food is that we all need it and we all love to eat our favorite foods. Even folks who have little interest in desserts and treats have foods they are passionate about and indulge in at a moment’s notice. I grew up in a healthy foods loving household. My mom was a trained nutritionist and chef. She had fabulous dinner parties that gave her ample opportunities to prepare new dishes in her chefs kitchen and experiment on old ones. From a young age, we were introduced to all manner of exotic and exquisite dishes from around the world, and it fueled my love for good food as an adult. There was a caveat to this heady, tantalizing, and fine dining experience in our home, Mom forbade sweets and junk foods of any kind. She was determined to keep us away from the typical birthday party fare of our childhood; cakes, cookies, sodas and such, that she rarely allowed us to attend birthday parties. Naturally, we were all upset about this ruling but were powerless to do anything about it. We were kids and being told we couldn’t go to a birthday party or have one because the foods served at them were forbidden foods was not fun. But, Mom was the queen of our home, her kingdom, and Dad agreed with her.
What is the point of all this? Humans are motivated by things we can’t have and by things we imagine we should have to make our lives happier. Food is a powerful motivator. We need it to survive and we enjoy it at every possible occasion. Food holds family memories. Food is medicine. Yet, moderation in all things, including food, is a critical lesson to learn and we can instill it in our children by not being so rigid about everything. Of course, we all know what happens when you slam the door on a child’s curiosity around foods other kids seem to gulp down at every turn, the child craves it even more. Whenever I had the chance, I swapped my healthy snacks for the “crappy stuff” at school, and pleaded with softhearted uncles and aunts to treat me to chocolates, cakes and those fizzy drinks that will remain nameless. Mom explained why it was important to eat your fruits and vegetables. We understood her reasons and loved her for serving healthy meals but, like typical kids, we wanted a little of the other stuff. She served us heaps of spinach, seasonal fruits and fresh fish on a regular basis. It was lovely but, the spinach got to me. My siblings and I would take turns dropping chunks of the stuff under the dining table and, later on at night, we’d quietly return to retrieve the evidence and flush it down the toilet or toss it in the bin. As an adult, it took me many, many, many years to look at spinach and not want to barff. I couldn’t eat it for years, and it was only after I married a man who loved spinach that I decided to give the damn thing another try.
“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” Guy Fieri
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Virginia Woolf
When a man’s stomach is full it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor. Euripides
I always encourage people to get out there, travel the world, see new things, experience new people, experience new food, experience new culture. What happens is that helps you to grow and be your best self. Karamo Brown
How did your childhood food experiences shape your relationship to food? As a child, it was a constant struggle to accept the house rules at home that contrasted sharply with the house rules we observed elsewhere. The list of forbidden foods was the usual snacks and sugary treats that some kids end up taking with them into adulthood. We got some of our share through friends and sympathetic uncles/aunts but, it always felt dangerous. I don’t like dangerous situations. I never have and so, it always left me feeling not quite satisfied by the experience. Imagine having a sugared donut in a hidden corner, gobbling it up as quickly as can be, and then wiping away what little evidence might still be lingering on your clothes and lips? That is NOT the way to enjoy any food, ever. Binge. Restrict. Revisit became a cycle during my teenage years away from home at boarding school and, like most teens, once boys came into the picture, looking a certain way became our raison d’être. Mind you, because I was athletic and a fashionista, I maintained my weight but some of the warped ideas I had around food soon led to an eating disorder and a visit to the infirmary. My Mom had good intentions but, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and what was lacking was balance around the subject of food choices. It’s all well and good to run a healthy, food from the farm household but, where kids are involved, offer them a few treats. Allow the kids to participate in the senseless but, delightful foods of childhood with their friends. Unless the kids have allergies, allow them to try forbidden foods once in a while. The occasional hot chocolate sundae, frozen ice pops, fizzy drinks or even bubble gum won’t harm the kids. Chill out.
Good Food versus not so Good Food motivated my food choices well into my adult years. Food is medicine and Moms are the best doctors when it comes to serving our kids our version of it. Because we grew up eating very healthy foods, I had great teeth and a strong constitution that saved my life numerous times. I was born with a congenital heart defect and many years later, when it surfaced and almost killed me, I knew my Mom’s effort and a lot of grace helped see me into adulthood. But the rigidity of her food regimen meant that I probably overindulged in those forbidden foods, once I left the safety of my family cocoon. Moving to America opened the door to an ever wider array of forbidden foods and I tried a few. Soon, sugar became a big part of my life and I continue to battle the temptation to have desserts with every meal. I don’t give into it because I am fully aware of what happens when we don’t practice moderation with all things. Yesterday was national chocolate day and trick-or-treat night is around the corner. Food is nourishment that can become punishment if we mishandle it. How are we handling our relationship with food? How did my experience impact my attitude around food with my own kids? Comeback for more.
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for SEPT 2018/OCT 2018 are:
09/01 – 03 Labor Day, 5 International Charity Day, 8 International Literacy Day
09/09 – 9 Rosh Hashana, 10 Suicide Prevention Day, 11 Patriot Day,
09/16 – 17 Emmy Awards, 19 Yom Kippur, 21 International Day of Peace, 22 Fall, 22 Oktoberfest
09/23 – 23 Padre Pio Day, 24 – 30 Sukkot, 27 World Tourism Day
09/30 – 30 Sukkot Ends
10/01 – 01 Nigeria Independence Day, International Coffee Day
10/07 – 08 Columbus Day
10/14 – 16 World Food Day
10/21 – 21 World Mission Day, 24 UNO Day
10/28 – 28 National Chocolate Day, 31 Halloween
Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2018?
“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” Benjamin Franklin
Oliver! on BBC’s Children in Need 2008
You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. Paul Prudhomme
Fitness starts at home. What you eat is what you will look like, just as what you sow is what you reap. Eat good food: eat fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and don’t go for sweet and trite food. Rakul P. Singh
We struggle with eating healthily, obesity, and access to good nutrition for everyone. But we have a great opportunity to get on the right side of this battle by beginning to think differently about the way that we eat and the way that we approach food. Marcus Samuelsson
How did my experience impact my attitude around food with my own kids? By the time I had my twins, I was no longer a subscriber of my Mom’s food rule book. Still, I ate healthy meals. I was a vegetarian, and I ate sweets whenever I wanted. I was so invested in making sure that birthdays were celebrated with the maximum vim and vigor for my twins that I ordered a Sylvia Weinstock birthday cake for their first birthday party. They were babies and could care less about the extravagance of that occasion but, I must confess, I was doing it more for me and my memories of an interrupted childhood devoid of birthdays. My children never had to sneak out to drink chocolate milk, a forbidden food in my childhood, they could have any childhood drink they wanted in moderation. We fed them fruits and vegetables and all sorts of healthy foods but, we tempered it with treats and popcorn or a bag of chips if we went to the movies. We didn’t eat meat but nothing was forbidden. Was my approach better? I would say it was different. I wanted my kids to learn early to make informed choices and to weigh the consequences of their actions. I knew that using the method that was my childhood experience wouldn’t work and I didn’t want them going down the same rabbit hole I went through during my teen years. Humans are complex beings, and even with the best intentions, we still make choices that might give others pause. I think it is very important to explore our relationship with food and to find a happy medium that we can live with. Food is medicine and, as such, we must consume it first for nourishment and occasionally for indulgence.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens was a favorite book from my childhood and because I read everything I could lay my hands on, I read this book more than once. Writing this post brought me back to the book and the famous Food Glorious Food song. It was a haunting book because the kids in the story were orphans dreaming of having a decent meal, even a fancy meal but, they were always served gruel. It is a story that reminds us to be grateful for our meals and my post is not by any stretch a critique of good healthy food but a call for moderation with all foods.
Food, Glorious Food
Album Oliver! (Soundtrack)
Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live ’til eighty four
All we ever get is gru… el!
Ev’ry day we say our prayer —
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru… el!
There’s not a crust, not a crumb can we find
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge
But there’s nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag… ine
Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!
Peas, pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys —
Food, glorious food!
We’re anxious to try it
Three banquets a day —
Our favourite diet!
Just picture a great big steak —
Fried, roasted or stewed
Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed —
Still worth a king’s ransom!
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Piled peaches and cream, about
Six feet high!
Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite
In this interlude —
Once again, food
Food, glorious food!
Don’t care what it looks like —
Don’t care what the cook’s like
Just thinking of growing fat —
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Food, glorious food!
What wouldn’t we give for
That extra bit more —
That’s all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
Home O Oliver! (musical) Food, Glorious Food Lyrics via LyricsFreak
Any Zen Antics stories via
Positive Motivation Tip: Food is the most natural medicine we can feed our bodies; use it wisely.
Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
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Tag: – Motivation Mondays
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