Friday, March 04, 2005

Feeding my children

So I haven't posted a recipe in a while. Maybe soon. But in the meantime I thought I'd do a little list about why I write about food so much on my working mom blog.

1. Preparing food for my family and forcing them to eat is about the only thing I have time to do between work and (the kids') bedtime. Food is a huge part of our family life, even more huge time-wise than it was when I was a mom at home. But at least we have an extended bedtime routine with lots of reading and snuggling and stuff.

2. Personally, I'm kind of food obsessed, probably in an unhealthy way. Eating is comfort, mealtime routines are comfort, etc. There was a time a while back when Oprah and everybody was all into finding the deeper reasons for your poor eating habits. I don't have deeper reasons. I just really, really like good food, and lots of it.

3. At the same time, I'm really interested in healthy and responsible eating. Here's a nice post about vegetarianism. In our family we eat vegetarian dinners almost half the time. We also participate in a food co-op and frequent the wonderful farmers' markets in our area. I love this stuff.

4. Motherhood is inextricably bound with giving nourishment, at least in my mind. I like to think that if I'd given birth to my kids, I'd have been a devoted breastfeeder (my mom was, even when it wasn't so "cool" to be). I know adoptive breastfeeding is possible ... we tried it, briefly though unsuccessfully. Anyway, beyond all that, I love to feed my kids. I love it when they eat well, like my sweet little Abe and his "chili beans" -- any soup with beans, he calls that, and I make bean soups quite a bit. He loves it, and I love him loving it. I love Sam eating three pieces of pizza in a sitting. I love them both stacking up pancakes on their plates. It just makes me happy.

I have three brothers that could be categorized as "rebellious." They've left the Church and two are gay. I remember a time when they seemed to be constantly complaining about how my mom always wants to feed them. One brother in particular, even when he lived at home for an extended period of time, generally preferred to go out to eat rather than accepting the nourishment offered by my mother, who is an outstanding cook and baker and a generous giver. I saw symbolism there.

At the same time, I was reading The Golden Bough, and I found myself fascinated by accounts of "sympathetic magic." The book isn't here at work with me, and it's been a few years since I cracked it open, so you'll have to forgive my selective memory. But I remember accounts of mothers sending bits of themselves or bits of significant matter along with their children, to protect them and sustain them. The magic involved allowed the mother herself to be with her children.

I also remembered a strange conversation with a schizophrenic man in my home ward in Alaska. He told me that mother pelicans pluck feathers from their own breasts, bleed, and feed the blood to their children. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea. But the image struck home. I dreamed of a mother pelican, plucking her feathers, bleeding, then crying when her children would not eat.

So maybe this is why I bang serving forks and threaten to spank when my kids won't eat. And maybe it is why I put recipes on this blog. It's a deeper subject to me than it seems at first glance!

1 comment:

Kitti said...

Ana, I loved reading this post. I love it when my daughter (or husband, for that matter) eat the food I prepare. I take a lot of pride in preparing a nice meal.

I'm a dietitian so I deal with aspects of this everyday. People bring so much of their life experiences into their eating behaviors. It's all so fascinating to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I can relate. Have a great week.