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Showing posts from 2010

My Eulogy for Barbara Billingsley: June Cleaver Was a Feminist

Wearing pearls and an apron, taking pride in keeping house and living a life free from exciting and glamorous problems can not only be a valid and respectable life choice, but also an entertaining and empowering example for women. Millions of people agree evidenced by the fact that June Cleaver was “America’s Mom.”
“Keeping house” June Cleaver style meant living in a modest middle-class home that’s not of the McMansion size or scope. She didn’t own industrial quality kitchen appliances and serve five star dinners using recipes from the Food Channel while wearing name brand outfits. She wasn’t a hypersexualized object whom Eddie Haskell coveted. Yet, she was lovely, commanded respect and knew where her food came from because she cooked it herself. She lived within her means, fed her family unprocessed wholesome foods, communicated with them over dinner and maintained healthy personal limits and boundaries.  
When I choose to turn on the TV when I want to tune out, I’m all about entertain…

Slow Down

I came across an article that proclaims a study found that many Americans are clueless and distracted behind the wheel. This quote jumped out at me: "85 percent of respondents did not know how to react to a traffic signal where the light was yellow."
Think about this- most people don't know how to react when getting the yellow light indicating it's time to slow down. 
This seems to be the problem not only with driving, but eating. 
Our bodies give us clues when we are getting full so that hopefully we slow down and stop before we've gone too far. Most Americans eat on "the go" or while watching TV, or tinkering with their gadgets, just like they do while driving. Of course, many eat on the road, too. 
If we don't learn how to pay attention to the signals we can't know when enough is enough.
In the 50's, people didn't have the number distractions that we do today. Usually, when it was time to eat, people sat and ate. 
Rushing from one …

"Could you please pass the maltodextrin?"

Up until today, I had always loved Polaner All Fruit. It was truly just fruit with fruit juices. I like their ad campaign from the 80's when the awkward Southerner asks for the "jelly" and shock and horror ensue at the prim and proper dinner table.

I am disappointed to report that Polaner All Fruit now contains maltodextrin.  I've learned to check labels each and every time I buy a product since ingredients are always changing. Today I noticed new packaging with the added words: "With fiber." I noticed "maltodextrin"  in the list of ingredients followed by, in parenthesis, an explanation that it adds fiber. What? How?

According to the FDA:

"Maltodextrin ((C6H10O5)n, CAS Reg. No. 9050-36-6) is a nonsweet nutritive saccharide polymer that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by [alpha]-1-4 bonds and that has a dextrose equivalent (D.E.) of less than 20. It is prepared as a white powder or concentrated solution by partial hydrolysis of …

In the 1950's, Enough Was Enough

While out walking around my neighborhood today which is comprised mostly of  modest sized homes built in the 1950's and 60's, I was thinking about how, up until the past couple of decades of excess, enough was generally enough. There is a newer subdivision off one street filled with what some people would call "McMansions."  Instead of 1,200 square foot homes, each is about 4,000 plus square feet.

Sure, people tried to keep up with the Joneses in 1950's suburbia, but the benchmarks for bigger and better were far more manageable and affordable than what we have now, probably because credit cards and mortgages weren't handed out freely like today.

I think the current culture of more means means a normalization of overindulging and acceptance of the consequences..."tomorrow." Buy more now, pay more later. Eat more now, lose more tomorrow (which we keep putting off). We live in bigger houses which seem to match our growing waistlines.

The core of ove…

50's Kitsch in my Kitch helps me stay light

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I live in a "time capsule" 1950's ranch house and the kitchen is my favorite place in it! I had always dreamed of living in a mid-century ranch house like my grandmother’s where I spent many happy days as a young child, eating lunch at her chrome dinette set, admiring her figurines in her curio cabinet, watching “I Love Lucy” on her large TV with rabbit ears or looking out of her large multi-pane window onto the tree lined suburban street.
To her, food was love. Now I know that's gotten a bad rap from the celebrity shrinks who tell us that if we learn that food = love then we'll overeat when we want love.
I see it differently.
My grandmother made most everything from scratch, and she did so lovingly (and she always looked smashing with her hair up, earrings dangling, high heels clacking around the tiled floor and often left a red ghost of her lips when she kissed me on the cheek.) She was the best cook (in my opinion, anyway!) and fed EVERYONE. When she later m…

Giving up sugar, cold turkey

I had been purchasing Shady Brook Farms turkey cutlets for many years. Something I've learned is that manufacturers frequently change their ingredients which includes adding sugar where there once was none added. So I thought I should check the package of the cutlets. What the....sugar on my turkey cutlets?! Had it always been there and I just didn't notice the fine print? Also, there's loads of added sodium!

These are uncooked cutlets. Not frozen or deli meat. They are not advertised as "seasoned." No, these were, I thought, just the cutlets. Who really wants or needs sugar on their turkey? Apparently Shady Brook Farms thinks we do!

Now I opt for organic turkey cutlets with no additives when available.

Kids snacked in the 50's, today they graze

In the NY Times is an article about our current culture of kids and snacking. Here's an excerpt:
Apparently, we have collectively decided as a culture that it is impossible for children to take part in any activity without simultaneously shoving something into their pie holes.
“Children used to come home, change into play clothes and go outside and play with other children,” said Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. 
“There were not snack machines, and the gas stations only sold gas. Now there are just so many more opportunities to snack and so many activities after school to have snacks.”
Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day increased to 42 percent from 11 percent, according to a large study of American nutritional habits conducted by the Agriculture Department with the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the American Heart Association:

The prevalence of overweight …

Do you lust for cake instead of your husband?

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