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Staying On Top Of Family Meals: the Series

When Maddie first started solid foods, I
was so excited, flying into a flurry of steaming and pureeing and
freezing and spooning. I experimented as much as I could with
baby’s first foods, and enjoyed coming up with new and
unusual things for her to try. I was Mommy, the Super Nourisher,
willing to do whatever it took to feed my baby.

Fast-forward three years, and I’m not so excited any more.
The past three years have felt like one long, continuous dicing
session: dicing mango, chopping turkey, cutting up grapes into
eight (!) uniform pieces, slivering cheese – the list is
endless. I feel as if I spend half of my mommy life dealing with
the subject of food: planning meals, shopping, making meals,
organizing snacks, packing lunches, cleaning up from meals. And no
matter what I do, no matter how elaborate and delicious and
nutritious a meal turns out, I know that the clock moves inexorably
forward and the next meal is looming mere hours away.

There are nights when the sight of yet
another naked chicken breast begging me to work some sort of magic
on it makes me want to hit myself over the head with a cast-iron
frying pan. But I know that whether I’m blissfully
unconscious or not, my kids will still start whining when that
internal alarm clock screams “DINNER TIME!”, and that
unstoppable noise will probably penetrate my coma and drag me back
to consciousness, just with a really big headache. So I’d
better get cracking.

Because this endless parade of mealtimes makes me want to stab
myself with a spork, I’ve come up with some methods of
coping. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing these
methods, trying to pass on to you some of the shortcuts that give
me built-in break times from continuous mealtime planning.
I’m breaking it up into sub-topics (this sounds outrageously
organized, but I must confess right now it’s just a bunch of
scattered sentence fragments I’m hoping to organize into
literary and culinary brilliance as I go) and I’ll cover one
or two topics a week until I have nuthin’ more to talk about.

I have to say up front that I’ve blatantly stolen many of
these methods from my girlfriends, and feel no shame in that. I
also have to say that I am probably more of a from-scratch type of
girl than some people are, so please don’t let my suggestions
make you feel inferior or like a Terrible, Bad Mommy if you take
shortcuts that I don’t. These are just my suggestions for
finding a rhythm, for defusing the morning time bomb that is
Breakfast Time, for working ahead a bit so that sometimes you get
an actual night off from cooking. Use what you can, and discard the

And if you’ve got tried-and-true tips yourself, please send
them in immediately! I will blatantly steal them and pretend
they’re my own genius ideas.

Coming up first – breakfast. Too little sleep, too much to
get done, not enough time to do it. Something’s gotta give.
So get out your notepads (or “save” key on the
computer) and get ready – help is on the way.

Because a nourisher’s job is never done.


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