Monthly Archives: May 2009

Processed foods. And me.

For years and years I avoided processed foods. I made cakes and brownies from scratch. I rarely bought pre-made spaghetti sauce. I cooked only fresh (or sometimes frozen) vegetables. The only processed food I’d make was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because it was such a comfort food.

If I made anything (except Kraft Mac & Cheese) from a mix, jar or bag I felt guilty. I’m not sure what I felt guilty for, but I felt guilty nonetheless.

Lately, however, I’ve been making more and more meals out of processed foods. I almost always have a jar of Barilla (or Rao or Bertolli or Classico — what’s ever on sale at Giant) in the pantry and often use it in place of the tomato sauce in a spaghetti sauce recipe. I rarely make deserts from scratch anymore — in fact I don’t remember the last time I made a cake or brownies not from a mix.

I’d noticed other people cutting corners by using processed foods and figured it would be ok if I did it too.

Really lately (like in the past couple of weeks) I’ve made a lot of processed food. The most notable is Bertolli’s frozen entrees. I’d seen them at the grocery store and thought they might taste ok and longed for a quick and easy meal to make when I didn’t feel like cooking or for something the kids could make for themselves. I finally bought one when it was on sale and served it for dinner (just Andrew and me, but Dean tasted it) and liked what I tasted. It was pretty good. And I didn’t have to cook the pasta, make the sauce, brown and cook the meat. All I had to do was throw it in a pan and heat it for 10 minutes.

So last night I made one of these meals for dinner. Dean had eaten, Clare was at Prom, Andrew had a sandwich earlier but I was hungry. I thought the food tasted good, but then remembered why I’d avoided procesed foods for so long. It wasn’t the price. It wasn’t to keep me busy. It wasn’t even the taste. It was because these things are unhealthy. I could feel my body absorbing the salt in the entree and I’m sure there are chemicals in the meals that would not have been in anything I’d made fresh. According to this web site, the portion I had last night (1/2 a bag) would be walked off in 158 minutes. That’s a lot of walking for an easy meal.Plus the sodium in that serving was nearly half my daily allowance. (assuming I’m a 37 year old 144lb female which I am not)

So, I once knew why I tried to make fresh food and limited my processed food intake, but the lure of convenience blinded me — made me forget the real reason I liked to cook from scratch. It wasn’t because I loved cooking. It wasn’t because we couldn’t afford to buy processed foods. It wasn’t because processed foods tasted bad. It was because they are full of things that should not be regularly ingested.

Damn. I gotta start cooking for real again.

My Prom, Her Prom

My daughter is going to prom tonight. She’s wearing a lovely dress, classy shoes and an antique Spanish lace shawl. But she’s not happy. She left the house (to go to a friend’s house to dress) ranting how much she hated prom. So, while she acquiesced to try on her dress for me, I won’t get to see her all dressed up for prom.

She’s going to prom with a group of girls she’s known for years and with whom she feels comfortable. She claims that the only reason she’s going to prom is because it is what you do as a senior. Go to prom.

I’d not thought about my prom for a while. I went to prom in my Junior year, but not my Senior year. I went with a guy — Dan. He was a friend. Possibly the best friend I had that year. He liked me. I liked him. As a friend. I’d met Jeremy by this time and didn’t feel comfortable really dating anyone else. I remember not liking prom, but at the time I thought differently. Interesting how time changes memory.

I don’t know if it was considered OK for a group of girls (or guys for that matter) to go to prom alone 1n 1974. I suspect not. At least it never occurred to me to go to prom without a date. I’m glad times have changed though.

So the differences between these two proms, 35 years apart (almost to the day)

Clare bought her dress <———> My mom made mine

Clare’s going with a group of friends <———> I went with one (male) friend

Neither of us looked forward to it.

Tune in later to see of she actually enjoyed it. (Although I suspect that if she doesn’t, she’s not going to lie and say she did)

And yes, I wish I’d been asked to help her find a prom dress. And yes, I wish she were getting dressed here so I could see her before she went and take her picture and act all Momish. But, as I keep on telling myself lately, this is her life. Not mine. (although isn’t there something in the manual on life that allows parents to see their kids in prom clothes? and take photos? And act all proud?)

Senior Project Meme

msmazzola wonders why people blog. She’s conducting informal research on the topic and asks folks to respond by posting their answers to the following questions and then posting a link to their post in her comments. (thanks Bridgett)

1. How long have you been blogging?

I began blogging June 21, 2001.

2. Why did you start blogging?

I was looking for a way to create a journal online — I’d been keeping a journal since I was in 9th grade and wanted a way to journal and make it public. I eventually found Blogger.

3. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?

I’ve found a community of people that seem to enjoy reading about my life and I enjoy reading about theirs. It gives me an outlet for my writing. I enjoy writing and having someone else read what I write makes it all the better.

4. How many times a week do you post an entry?

It depends. I average about 2 times a month. I’d like to post more, but real life gets in the way.

5. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?

I’ve got at least 75 blogs on my feed reader, but don’t read them all the time. I do, however, make sure I read the 15 or so under the label “friends”. I’ve only ever met one person on my “friends” list, but I feel like I know the others just as well.

6. Do you comment on other people’s blogs?

Yes, I try to comment many of on the blogs I read.

7. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Is so, are you satisfied with your numbers?

I do tend to obsess on my stats sometimes, but other times I forget to check. I’m never completely satisfied with my stats, but there are so many blogs out there, it is understandable that mine doesn’t get checked very much. I always love it when I get a new comment though. It kind of validates my writing.

8. Do you ever regret a post that you wrote?

I don’t regret much of what I write because I try to not write anything that can hurt. I did have a blog a few years ago that I did write some regretful things. I removed it.

9. Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog?

Yes, I think I am pretty honest about who I am — even in the blog I removed.

10. Do you blog under your real name?

Yes and no. I have a few blogs and some don’t have my real name.

11. Are there topics that you would never blog about?


12. What is the theme/topic of your blog?

A couple of my blogs are about everything. One is about birds. One is about accessibility. One is about my trip to Ireland. One is about our favorite recipes.

13. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why?

Yes, I have several. I blog about what interestes me at the time. Some go nowhere. Some go on and on.