a conversation between the farmwives
robin says… i remember a couple of springs ago, a wren made a nest in our summer kitchen. i spent many days that spring watching mama spending all day flying to and fro, returning with morsels to feed her babes. she would return to the nest and all those little beaks would open up for her, begging for nourishment. this is me i thought so often, back then i only had 2! question is, how do you keep up with feeding the family? sometimes it feels that i can spend the entire day in the kitchen and still they appear hungry the minute i step away. i have heard that the teenage boy eats more than any other and sasha is proving this to be true every day. give me some clues ladies, how do you do it? do you cook way ahead, maybe bake once a week? any order,structure. or suggestions? with thanks and love as we try meet the caloric needs of our families, robinCher says… Oh, how hysterical! I just finished cooking lunch and must have heard “I’m hungry” a hundred times this morning. Especially from my boy, Ira, who has a metabolism much like his papa’s. Robin, I can’t even imagine what it will be like when he is a teen. Whew. Some days I do much better than others at being one step ahead of the hungry little mouths. Those days that I don’t plan ahead can verge on nightmareish, and I am then reminded how helpful it would have been to just soak a pot of beans. Oh, well, eggs cook quickly and we have lots of them. One twist that I can add to this conversation is that for me, cooking means first building a fire, so I absolutely can not wait until melt-down time to start the next meal’s preparation. Through the winter months this is no big deal because we usually keep the fires going. And with lots of years of practice, I have gotten pretty good at building quick hot fires for summer cooking. (I do have the luxurious option of gas in the summer months when our outdoor kitchen is up and running, but I actually want a wood cook stove out there as well. I love cooking on wood that much!) So, when the cook stove’s oven is warm, I’ll usually throw some sweet potatoes in to bake, just to have ready for when someone is seized with hunger. And I do bake a big pan of cornbread fairly often, and this will last us a few days. I used to do a lot more traditional bread baking than I do now, but we suspect a wheat intolerance in our family, so I’m not consistent with a “baking day” any more. And, lastly, I will admit to purchasing a few snack-type items (like dried fruit & nuts) from our local co-op. The kids love it and then I get a break from also having to prepare their snacks! It is a daily dance, for sure… some days are clumsy, some are graceful, but meals don’t always have to be a fancy waltz or sexy tango to be nourishing. Simple fare works just fine, too.
Coree says…Oh yeah. I hear you. Thank God for sweet potatoes, kale, and eggs. Until my kids get completely tired of them. We’ve eaten a lot of popcorn this winter. We’re not great about convenience foods.
Robin, you are the first to enter into the realm of feeding a teenage boy. Bless you. I think you’ll be the one giving us advice in a few more years.
One thing I’ve found helpful to my sanity around mealtimes is to make a loose schedule of meals. For instance, Tuesday is noodle night (everyone loves that one). We also have a night of rice and dahl (Indian style lentils), another of venison, pancakes on Sunday morning are a firmly held ritual, etc. It’s not hard and fast, but it takes some of the pressure off my mind. I don’t have to THINK about what’s for dinner – just make it.
And, there are days when I very purposefully cook alot extra to help out when I know the next day is going to be too busy. We don’t have space to keep lots of leftovers, but now and then it sure can help. Sweet potatoes keep for a long time by the way.
Love from the kitchen, Coree