Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Contentious Cuisine

I quite enjoy food and cooking. The entire process is fun for me, from selecting from the grocery store the raw ingredients to cook, to planning meals, to preparing the food, and enjoying the fruits of my labor. It would be interesting to maintain a food blog, to chronicle my gastronomic adventures. There are a number of notable food blogs. Clotilde Dusoulier does an impressive job with her Chocolate & Zucchini blog, in which she exalts “healthy/natural eating — fresh produce, as little processed food as possible, artisanal products, a preference for organic or natural foods when possible.”

However, any narrative account of my experiences with food would quickly take a less than glamorous turn. In my family, food often seems to be a point of contention. Nary is a meal had without some complaint being registered. These are not civil statements of preferences, mind you.

Some diners seem to have the tastes and eating habits of preteen boys or girls. “This chicken has bones in it!” “Where is the white rice? I don’t like brown rice!” Two individuals are opposed to change; they have a problem with anything that is new or different. Unfamiliar foods or new manners of preparation result in statements of dissatisfaction or refusals to eat the offering. “What is this seasoning? It is burning my esophagus.” “That’s herbes de Provence.” A sudden shortage of “staple” items has been known to provoke outbursts.

One individual has a mild allergy to onions, allegedly. If onions are detected in food, major objections are raised. Onions have led to departures from the table in fits of anger. What doesn’t contain onions? We do not eat as much fish as I would like, as one member of the family is not fond of it, particularly if it is not cooked to the point that it is dried out. Insufficiently overcooked fish has, likewise, resulted in tantrums and storming from the table.

My sister has a “rule” that makes mealtime interesting. If the name of a dish does not describe a majority of the ingredients, the meal does not pass muster. Thus, vegetable soup and beef and vegetable stew, for example, are unacceptable. I do not know how T.V. dinners and “quorn” nuggets fit into this equation, but my sister consumes a steady diet of these foods (and I use the term “food” loosely).

Even meal planning is demotivating. If anyone is in the mood to think about it, which frequently no one is, most ideas are shot down. “That sounds too heavy.” “I am tired of beans.”

This crowd certainly takes the fun out of cooking. Let them eat T.V. dinners.

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