Sunday, May 31, 2009
Women have a lot of weird hangups about food.
Arguably food is there to eat. But women have given it a weight and importance that goes beyond it's abilities to nourish. They talk about it gingerly, discussing the ingestion of food with the careful phrasing of cocktail conversation about Far Left Politics and the Second Coming.
It's a topic that is socio-political, cultural, genetic, and economic.
If you mention food to a woman you will find yourself in a conversation about dieting, coupon clipping, additives, and organic properties. You may be judged with the intensity of the Nuremberg Trials on your contribution to the state of the world.
If you talk to a man about food he will pretend to listen while he eats it.
Now I know there are calorie counting Jareds out there, and skinny artistic ascetic guys who are happy with a saltine cracker and a glass of water, and conscientious SAHDs who make sure that there children eat breakfast from the farmer's market, or have a balanced meal.
Many men I know are foodies, gastronomic wunderkinds that cook without measuring or timing...that create buffets fit for a king while making good conversation and holding a glass of wine or a beer.
These are not the guys I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the other kind...the kind that eat whatever they want because..here's the kicker...it tastes good...and food is fun and tasty and hell... it's here right? Somebody made it so somebody's got to eat it.
These are the kinds of men a weekend parent strives to be.
Successful weekend Momdadding has a lot to do with food. Sometimes our weekends kind of revolve around it. Eating is a big part of the celebration, the letting go, kicking back, and letting it all roll attitude of a Weekend Dad.
I can plan big outings, and camp in the yard, and play Star Wars action figures for hours, and the kids will tell me at bedtime that the best part of the day was the pizza.
I'm was born in the South, so I'm no stranger to food.
It is the focus of births, weddings, divorces, and death. It is the answer to every equation. And most of the men cook as well if not better than the women.
I was raised on chicken fried steak, and chili, and gumbo, and beef in all it's incarnations. I like Hershey's syrup on chocolate ice cream, and I know that pimento cheese is actually a food group. I was taught how to gnaw bones. I believe a meal can consist of a meat and two starches and no vegetables.
In Heaven I will eat fried shrimp every night and still have a small ass and clear arteries.
When I was little we owned a restaurant and often I was the advertisement...the skinny little girl in the window eating her way down though a pile of ribs.
When I was a teenager I became a calorie counting vegetarian and broke my father's heart.
As a mother I am careful to make sure my children have a balance or healthy close to the earth foods and the occasional surprise meals made like I remember.
As a weekend dad I am re-learning how to love food for food's sake. To eat food without worrying about where it came from, what it will do while it's in me, and where it's going.
I eat therefore I am.
Eat something, anything. Lot's of things that you normally say no to.
Eat them where you want, when you want, and revel in it.
Food is fun Weekend Dad novices!...this is perhaps the greatest secret in your Momdad arsenal. Your kids will appreciate it if you let them have two Popsicles before dinner and skip salad. They will remember it in their old age.
And there is nothing better than eating anything smothered in cheese and feeling absolutely no guilt or responsibility about it.
To get you started here are a few of our favorite recipes.
My Dad's Texas Chili
Really really simple. Really really easy.
You might want to play with the proportions a bit until you find the combination that makes your taste buds say Yee Haw.
1 lb ground chuck
1 very large onion or two smaller.
2 tsps of minced or chopped garlic.
3-4 Tbls of chili powder
1 Tbls cumin
Brown your meat and soften the onions. Just before they reach desired brownness add garlic and spices. Stir together until ingredients are an even red color (from the chili of course). Add water until the chili looks about like the amount of soupiness that appeals to you. (For me it's about 1 1/2 to 2 cups) This mixture will be watery and will thicken more as it cooks.
Cook on a med low heat for at least an hour, adding water as you cook to keep it at the original level. Do not allow the water to cook away too much or you will lose your flavor. Stir occasionally and stir again before dishing out.
This chili is probably runnier than you are used to and it's packed with flavor. You can eat it plain, over a burger, or like my family does...over a pile of vermicelli with cheese melted on top. We call it Texas Spaghetti and boy is it good stuff!(My dad actually used to cook a hot dog or two in the chili toward the end and eat it on the side. It's dang good but only for the strong of heart.)
Servings: We feed one adult and three kids with this and still have some left overs.
Calories: There are no calories in Texas, sugar.
Philly Steak and Cheese Tater Tots
Great for movie night. Sometimes we each get a fork and eat these out of the pan.
One each red and green bell pepper
One large onion
1 lb of boneless steak (breakfast or other thinly sliced boneless. Feel free to use the good stuff but you'll put so much cheese on top you'll hardly taste it.)
Take one bag of Tater Tots and cover with sauteed onions, bell pepper, and steak strips. Top with mozzarella cheese and pop in the broiler until cheese melts.
Servings: Up to five portions or one generous one.
Calories: 10,867,042 per serving.
Avocado Tomato Dogs
We used to have a hot dog steamer that made these perfectly. We finally had to throw it out after ten years when it started shocking the chef. I don't know if they make them anymore but boy is it a good investment.
Boil, steam, nuke, or grill your dogs of choice. Really you should be eating the all beef ones, but if you like ears and tails in your buns than go for it.
Warm your buns.
Spread a layer of mayo on the bun and stagger two slices of red ripe tomato (beefsteak preferably) and two slices of ripe, (not too ripe) avocado. Add pepper and eat.
These are really really good and elevate the hot dog to more of a meal.
Servings: A child will eat one or two and an adult could pack away four (ahem...not that I would know or anything.
Calories: The amount of calories one finds in a hot dog, some mayo, a bun, tomatoes, avocados, and pepper.