That’s Not Food: Less Preachy, but Still Important

Between the scrum of last election and the hormonal chaos of a hysterectomy, I seem to have misplaced some of my obnoxious opinionatedness. I miss it a little. I’m sure you won’t. On the subject of food, for instance, wherein I have scrawled many a manifesto, I had come to be a little freaked about about pretty much everything.

MSG is still evil, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat it. I know how to eat well, it doesn’t mean I do it. Still, there are some things that just shouldn’t be allowed to be called “food.” One of those things is Sodium Benzoate.

I’ll make it short and quote my latest issue of Martha Stewart Food:

“Sodium benzoate is a preservative used to inhibit the growth of bacteria in acidic
foods. On ingredient labels, it is occasionally listed as “E211.” The substance also occurs naturally (albeit in very low levels) in many foods, such as cranberries, prunes, and plums. The USDA considers it to be harmless in small doses. [Sorry, I can’t help myself here–the main thing the USDA “considers” is the demands of big agribusiness.]

So much for less opinionated. Going on:

“You will find sodium benzoate on the ingredient list of salad dressings,
sodas, sports drinks, fruit-flavored juices, pickles, condiments and even some
cough syrups.”

OK. So what?

“Sodium benzoate has been connected to two health risks. One study
linked products containing the additive to hyperactivity in children, and others
have pointed out that combining sodium benzoate wtih vitamin C produces benzene, a known carcinogen [emphasis added]. You may want to avoid this pairing, which is common in some sodas and flavored beverages.”

“A known carcinogen.” Seriously, people.

All I’m saying is, just because it’s on the market shelf, please don’t assume the government wouldn’t allow it there if it wasn’t safe.

Just sayin’.

In conclusion, to make up for that moment of food preachiness, I leave you with this hilarious transcript of the 4/11/2009 episode of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me on NPR, wherein my quasi-hero Michael Pollan loses a food debate with my longtime favorite funnygirl, Paula Poundstone.

Peter Sagal: What should we be eating?

Michael Pollan: Food.

Paula Poundstone: How thick is your book?

Michael Pollan: It’s very hard now for us to know what food is. Because there are all these edible food-like substances now that compete with food in the supermarket. So a lot of the book is helping people distinguish between the edible food-like substances and the real food.

Paula Poundstone: But let me ask you something. One of the things that has made my live worth living is Ring Dings. And I feel that it is food. Are you going to tell me that’s not food?

Michael Pollan: There’s a few simple tests to figure out if a Ring Ding is food or not. How many ingredients does a Ring Ding have?

Paula Poundstone: Devil’s Food Cake — one. A creamy filling — two. And a rich chocolate outer coating. What’s the matter with you?

Michael Pollan: I would look at the package next time, that creamy — CREAMY — is not cream.

Paula Poundstone: C-R-E-A-M-E-Y. Creamy. What the hell’s the matter with you?

Michael Pollan: But…but but but but…There are special occasion foods.

Paula Poundstone: What do you mean special occasion? I said it’s what makes my life worth living. Are you suggesting I save it for one day a year?

Michael Pollan: I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your…

Paula Poundstone: You know, you may know a lot about food, but you don’t know the first thing about living, buddy.

I love you, Paula!

That’s Not Food: Less Preachy, but Still Important

Between the scrum of last election and the hormonal chaos of a hysterectomy, I seem to have misplaced some of my obnoxious opinionatedness. I miss it a little. I’m sure you won’t. On the subject of food, for instance, wherein I have scrawled many a manifesto, I had come to be a little freaked about about pretty much everything.

MSG is still evil, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat it. I know how to eat well, it doesn’t mean I do it. Still, there are some things that just shouldn’t be allowed to be called “food.” One of those things is Sodium Benzoate.

I’ll make it short and quote my latest issue of Martha Stewart Food:

“Sodium benzoate is a preservative used to inhibit the growth of bacteria in acidic
foods. On ingredient labels, it is occasionally listed as “E211.” The substance also occurs naturally (albeit in very low levels) in many foods, such as cranberries, prunes, and plums. The USDA considers it to be harmless in small doses. [Sorry, I can’t help myself here–the main thing the USDA “considers” is the demands of big agribusiness.]

So much for less opinionated. Going on:

“You will find sodium benzoate on the ingredient list of salad dressings,
sodas, sports drinks, fruit-flavored juices, pickles, condiments and even some
cough syrups.”

OK. So what?

“Sodium benzoate has been connected to two health risks. One study
linked products containing the additive to hyperactivity in children, and others
have pointed out that combining sodium benzoate wtih vitamin C produces benzene, a known carcinogen [emphasis added]. You may want to avoid this pairing, which is common in some sodas and flavored beverages.”

“A known carcinogen.” Seriously, people.

All I’m saying is, just because it’s on the market shelf, please don’t assume the government wouldn’t allow it there if it wasn’t safe.

Just sayin’.

In conclusion, to make up for that moment of food preachiness, I leave you with this hilarious transcript of the 4/11/2009 episode of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me on NPR, wherein my quasi-hero Michael Pollan loses a food debate with my longtime favorite funnygirl, Paula Poundstone.

Peter Sagal: What should we be eating?

Michael Pollan: Food.

Paula Poundstone: How thick is your book?

Michael Pollan: It’s very hard now for us to know what food is. Because there are all these edible food-like substances now that compete with food in the supermarket. So a lot of the book is helping people distinguish between the edible food-like substances and the real food.

Paula Poundstone: But let me ask you something. One of the things that has made my live worth living is Ring Dings. And I feel that it is food. Are you going to tell me that’s not food?

Michael Pollan: There’s a few simple tests to figure out if a Ring Ding is food or not. How many ingredients does a Ring Ding have?

Paula Poundstone: Devil’s Food Cake — one. A creamy filling — two. And a rich chocolate outer coating. What’s the matter with you?

Michael Pollan: I would look at the package next time, that creamy — CREAMY — is not cream.

Paula Poundstone: C-R-E-A-M-E-Y. Creamy. What the hell’s the matter with you?

Michael Pollan: But…but but but but…There are special occasion foods.

Paula Poundstone: What do you mean special occasion? I said it’s what makes my life worth living. Are you suggesting I save it for one day a year?

Michael Pollan: I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your…

Paula Poundstone: You know, you may know a lot about food, but you don’t know the first thing about living, buddy.

I love you, Paula!

Why I have time to blog

So, I lied about the Sophie pictures. But, I did get all the pics I wanted to post scanned and will do it this week.

Here’s why I have time to blog–because I had just put Lucy and Noah to bed tonight and was going out to move a rooster to a new pen before it got totally dark.
Noah got out of bed, so Lucy got out bed, and they followed me outside (with Ben yelling at them because they were walking on his newly-mopped kitchen floor–remember my love for child slavery?).

When she saw me venturing into the backyard darkness, Lucy was instantly panic-stricken. Her greatest fear was realized: I was going to feed the turkeys.

I wasn’t really. But in her tiny, tiny little three-year-old mind, the only thing I do outside at night is risk my life feeding turkeys. This is because about two months ago, I was coming back from feeding the turkeys and was straddling the wire fence between our back chicken coop area and the landlocked lot where the turkey cage was at the time.

I was still in my work clothes, because I’m a slow learner and was (again) doing farm chores in business casual attire. Ben had just come out to tell me that Lucy wasn’t staying in bed (David was working in his downstairs office). But by the time Ben got to me, she was on his heels, barefoot in the dark and upset. I commenced to get my foot stuck and fall backward over the fence, getting caught in some barbed wire that we’d pinned back from the crossing spot, and landed on my back with my feet tied up in the fence.

Lucy went into hysterics.

I kept telling Lucy, as I lied on my back in the dirt, that mommy was fine and not to worry, but the hysteria only escalated and she ran screaming into the house in horror. Ben tried to get my clothes unhooked from the wires, but in the end, I had to just pull them free to stand up, ripping my favorite “new” (DI) red shirt and work pants.
I made my way into the house and had to comfort Lucy at length while she cried, “Mommy fine? Mommy OK? Mommy NO FEED THE TURKEYS!!”

Then, at least once a day, every day, for at least a month she again counseled, “Mommy no feed the turkeys, OK?” And, if she saw me going out in the yard at night, she’d run out and grab my hand and lead me back to the house, saying “Ah, mommy’s tired, mommy want to go to bed. Mommy no need to feed the turkeys.”

It got to be that, even at mid-day, she’d randomly inquire, “Mommy feed the turkeys? Mommy OK?”

Apparently I’d rocked her world with uncertainty and traumatized her for life. Since then she’s been treating me like a fragile being. It didn’t help that I fell down the stairs a few weeks after that, of course right as she’d wandered out of bed, again, after being officially tucked in, again.
That only fueled her fretting.

So tonight, I shooed her inside while she began getting upset about all the horrific possibilities of mommy going outside at night, worried tears welling up even before we got back to the door. In order to get her to stay in bed, I promised mommy would stay inside.
So, I’m just waiting for her to go to sleep so I can go outside and move the rooster.

How does the story end? The four turkeys, all female, all likely to be well over 20 lbs when dressed, meet their doom on Saturday, because my sweet mother bought me a deep freeze over the weekend.
But somehow I doubt dead turkeys (and the bloodbath that will precede it) will put Lucy’s troubled mind to rest.

Why I have time to blog

So, I lied about the Sophie pictures. But, I did get all the pics I wanted to post scanned and will do it this week.

Here’s why I have time to blog–because I had just put Lucy and Noah to bed tonight and was going out to move a rooster to a new pen before it got totally dark.
Noah got out of bed, so Lucy got out bed, and they followed me outside (with Ben yelling at them because they were walking on his newly-mopped kitchen floor–remember my love for child slavery?).

When she saw me venturing into the backyard darkness, Lucy was instantly panic-stricken. Her greatest fear was realized: I was going to feed the turkeys.

I wasn’t really. But in her tiny, tiny little three-year-old mind, the only thing I do outside at night is risk my life feeding turkeys. This is because about two months ago, I was coming back from feeding the turkeys and was straddling the wire fence between our back chicken coop area and the landlocked lot where the turkey cage was at the time.

I was still in my work clothes, because I’m a slow learner and was (again) doing farm chores in business casual attire. Ben had just come out to tell me that Lucy wasn’t staying in bed (David was working in his downstairs office). But by the time Ben got to me, she was on his heels, barefoot in the dark and upset. I commenced to get my foot stuck and fall backward over the fence, getting caught in some barbed wire that we’d pinned back from the crossing spot, and landed on my back with my feet tied up in the fence.

Lucy went into hysterics.

I kept telling Lucy, as I lied on my back in the dirt, that mommy was fine and not to worry, but the hysteria only escalated and she ran screaming into the house in horror. Ben tried to get my clothes unhooked from the wires, but in the end, I had to just pull them free to stand up, ripping my favorite “new” (DI) red shirt and work pants.
I made my way into the house and had to comfort Lucy at length while she cried, “Mommy fine? Mommy OK? Mommy NO FEED THE TURKEYS!!”

Then, at least once a day, every day, for at least a month she again counseled, “Mommy no feed the turkeys, OK?” And, if she saw me going out in the yard at night, she’d run out and grab my hand and lead me back to the house, saying “Ah, mommy’s tired, mommy want to go to bed. Mommy no need to feed the turkeys.”

It got to be that, even at mid-day, she’d randomly inquire, “Mommy feed the turkeys? Mommy OK?”

Apparently I’d rocked her world with uncertainty and traumatized her for life. Since then she’s been treating me like a fragile being. It didn’t help that I fell down the stairs a few weeks after that, of course right as she’d wandered out of bed, again, after being officially tucked in, again.
That only fueled her fretting.

So tonight, I shooed her inside while she began getting upset about all the horrific possibilities of mommy going outside at night, worried tears welling up even before we got back to the door. In order to get her to stay in bed, I promised mommy would stay inside.
So, I’m just waiting for her to go to sleep so I can go outside and move the rooster.

How does the story end? The four turkeys, all female, all likely to be well over 20 lbs when dressed, meet their doom on Saturday, because my sweet mother bought me a deep freeze over the weekend.
But somehow I doubt dead turkeys (and the bloodbath that will precede it) will put Lucy’s troubled mind to rest.

Sophie’s Birthday (Day 1)

Today we acheived some high-yield, low effort birthday perfection. I did have to get up at 6 a.m. to have the requested Monkey Bread ready by 8, but then we took our time baking cupcakes tor today and the cake for tommorow (the real birthday: #8). The whole family ate burritos at the park, met some friends for play and cupcakes, all went swimming, played some more, Dave BBQd hamburgers, we watched Tale of Despereaux (sweet but preachy) while I cuddled with Sophie.

I knew I’d succeeded when I got a compliment from Dave for putting together such a nice day for Sophie, and both Sophie and Ben independently complimented my cupcakes as “looking just like store bought!” Um, thanks.

Noah’s line of the day as he prepared to release an untied balloon to fly across the room: “Prepare…to be…amazed. He also asked that his name be changed. I told him he could pick from one of his actual names: Noah Hyrum Charles. He asked to be called Charlie. I wonder if he meant that?

Tomorrow is the primary program and I’ve been practicing like crazy. I love my low-key calling and never stress about it (as you would know if you heard me play), but I really don’t want to pound out a sour chord in Sacrament Meeting. Especially when the chorister is so intense about it all. But energy and focus is low–I’ve been sick since Tuesday and if my lungs still hurt tomorrow my mom is going to test me for pig flu (she’ works in a lab).

I’m going to post pictures tomorrow without fail!

Sophie’s Birthday (Day 1)

Today we acheived some high-yield, low effort birthday perfection. I did have to get up at 6 a.m. to have the requested Monkey Bread ready by 8, but then we took our time baking cupcakes tor today and the cake for tommorow (the real birthday: #8). The whole family ate burritos at the park, met some friends for play and cupcakes, all went swimming, played some more, Dave BBQd hamburgers, we watched Tale of Despereaux (sweet but preachy) while I cuddled with Sophie.

I knew I’d succeeded when I got a compliment from Dave for putting together such a nice day for Sophie, and both Sophie and Ben independently complimented my cupcakes as “looking just like store bought!” Um, thanks.

Noah’s line of the day as he prepared to release an untied balloon to fly across the room: “Prepare…to be…amazed. He also asked that his name be changed. I told him he could pick from one of his actual names: Noah Hyrum Charles. He asked to be called Charlie. I wonder if he meant that?

Tomorrow is the primary program and I’ve been practicing like crazy. I love my low-key calling and never stress about it (as you would know if you heard me play), but I really don’t want to pound out a sour chord in Sacrament Meeting. Especially when the chorister is so intense about it all. But energy and focus is low–I’ve been sick since Tuesday and if my lungs still hurt tomorrow my mom is going to test me for pig flu (she’ works in a lab).

I’m going to post pictures tomorrow without fail!

BREAKING NEWS! I’ve ARRIVED!

You can imagine the surprise I felt just about a week ago, when I realized that, according to myself at 12 years old, I have officially arrived in the life I always imagined I’d have.

Granted, the 12-year old me, when imagining that glorious future self, wouldn’t have thought to be more specific about whether we rented or owned, where our money went each month, or whether the 3-year old was potty trained. In her hazy vision, she likely didn’t look too closely at how dirty the floor was.

But if she were to see me now (and I were to wear tight jeans and suck in really hard) she would probably think I’d done it.

I am married, I have had all my children, with a tidy two boys and two girls. I have a calling in the church, now actually do my visiting teaching each month and have FHE each week and my husband is in the Elder’s Quorum presidency (so apparently our family’s many sins are either forgiven or well hidden).

I now can pass as almost a stay-at-home mother (except for the part where I leave for five hours every morning), my corn is almost 10’ tall (to distract from the tangle of weeds below), I put up tomato sauce last week and one of my hens hatched 12 chicks. In essence, the dream of 1984 has been realized.

This is it. The jobs we have and the house we rent and the ward we live in now are all likely to be the same jobs, house, and ward we have five years from now. This is my life.

Acceptance is a painful relief. To want nothing more than one has—to see mainly the blessings and give little thought to what is lacking—it is such a gift. For me, it’s sometimes a gift that must be forcibly pulled down from the heavens sometimes.

In my heart (not my head) I secretly thought life would start when specific job, financial or health burdens were lifted, and that as long as they were not lifted, I was sure it really wouldn’t be living at all.

But it is.

This past summer, I pridefully prayed that the Lord solve the problem, not just make me feel better about the problems. Apparently, he thought my attitude about my problems was the problem that most needed solving, and that’s the prayer He answered.

The other day I read, “Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.” (Memoirs of a Geisha, p. 348)

For those of us who are inclined to live in the future, and have spent most of life anticipating the moment when a certain struggle or crisis would pass, it’s a big step to be able to say—complete with the burdens and crises—this is my life.

So, I’ve arrived!

What’s next?

BREAKING NEWS! I’ve ARRIVED!

You can imagine the surprise I felt just about a week ago, when I realized that, according to myself at 12 years old, I have officially arrived in the life I always imagined I’d have.

Granted, the 12-year old me, when imagining that glorious future self, wouldn’t have thought to be more specific about whether we rented or owned, where our money went each month, or whether the 3-year old was potty trained. In her hazy vision, she likely didn’t look too closely at how dirty the floor was.

But if she were to see me now (and I were to wear tight jeans and suck in really hard) she would probably think I’d done it.

I am married, I have had all my children, with a tidy two boys and two girls. I have a calling in the church, now actually do my visiting teaching each month and have FHE each week and my husband is in the Elder’s Quorum presidency (so apparently our family’s many sins are either forgiven or well hidden).

I now can pass as almost a stay-at-home mother (except for the part where I leave for five hours every morning), my corn is almost 10’ tall (to distract from the tangle of weeds below), I put up tomato sauce last week and one of my hens hatched 12 chicks. In essence, the dream of 1984 has been realized.

This is it. The jobs we have and the house we rent and the ward we live in now are all likely to be the same jobs, house, and ward we have five years from now. This is my life.

Acceptance is a painful relief. To want nothing more than one has—to see mainly the blessings and give little thought to what is lacking—it is such a gift. For me, it’s sometimes a gift that must be forcibly pulled down from the heavens sometimes.

In my heart (not my head) I secretly thought life would start when specific job, financial or health burdens were lifted, and that as long as they were not lifted, I was sure it really wouldn’t be living at all.

But it is.

This past summer, I pridefully prayed that the Lord solve the problem, not just make me feel better about the problems. Apparently, he thought my attitude about my problems was the problem that most needed solving, and that’s the prayer He answered.

The other day I read, “Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.” (Memoirs of a Geisha, p. 348)

For those of us who are inclined to live in the future, and have spent most of life anticipating the moment when a certain struggle or crisis would pass, it’s a big step to be able to say—complete with the burdens and crises—this is my life.

So, I’ve arrived!

What’s next?

still here

I’m still falling short of my goal of even just a weekly family update, so I’ll try to play quick catchup:

 

Ben and Sophie started school today (9/8) at Capitol Hill Academy.  Ben got advanced to 6th grade (skipped 5th) because he tested almost in 7th. Sophie will be in 2nd and is excited to be in school with her cousins (Kim’s kids) and the Oaks.  School is packed into 8-12 and is an intense workday, but they like the shorter schedule. 

 

I was able to negotiate yet another schedule change and now work 5-7 a.m. at home, go pick up the Oaks and drop off Lucy and Noah with Elaine, take all the kids to school downtown at 7:45, be at work by 8 a.m., leave at noon, pick them all up at 12:15, take home the Oaks, pick up Lucy and Noah, and go home for lunch and mommy life.  Tues and Thurs are a little different, as I have to keep my normal, 8-3 schedule on Tuesday for my team meeting and Lucy and Noah will either be with David, or if he’s travelling, with my mom, since on those days they both have a cute little in-home preschool with a lady in our ward.

 

This is just one part of a very grand effort David and I are making to settle down and make our lives more calm and less crisis mode.  He will be taking on as much work as he can, I will be able to step up my home/kids/family care, the school situation is good and stable, etc.  David’s actually going to get a UT driver license, so that shows you he has finally come to terms with our life.  

 

David got called to the Elder’s Quorum presidency this past week, and I think that will be good for him to feel useful.  He was a great gospel doctrine teacher, but he has missed the heavy service he used to have to do as a scoutmaster.  

 

I had a lot of health craziness the past few weeks.  In fact, I had 6 medical appointments (including a scope and a CT scan) in one week.  It was lame.  I’ll spare you the drama, but I’m probably fine.  The endometriosis problem that was left after the hysterectomy is just still causing problems, and I also was a loser on the waterslide at Lagoon a few weeks ago and subluxated my kneecap.  I couldn’t do the triathlon on labor day, so Ben was discouraged and didn’t do it, but instead we went on a hike to donut falls, and the knee held up ok.

 

Overall, it was a great summer, from the kids perspective.  We camped, went to Lagoon, hiked, swam, barbequed, played some video games, had birthday parties and generally were structureless.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the structure now.  From the parent’s perspective, it was a summer filled with tons of painful spiritual lessons on trust in God, contentment and submission and lots of personal growth.  I have immersed myself in the scriptures and in study and prayer and have come out with a much clearer view, although it’s always a work in process.  

 

Again, I’ll try to write more often.

 

xoxox