Recipe Rites

I always knew we Americans liked our processed and prepared foods, but I was stunned to learn that at the turn of the 21st Century, we spent 41.9% of our food dollars on food away from home — almost one in every two meals.  In 1960 we spent only 21% of our food budget on food away from home, meaning we’ve doubled our dependence on food from outside the home in a single generation (1).

In the land where fast food is King, cooking for my family from scratch feels like an act of rebellion.  This is true simply because it’s an act that bucks a trend, but there’s more to it than that.  There is something sacred about the sharing of food.  The time and energy that my family invests in the kitchen preparing meals — and at the table enjoying meals — grounds us, strengthens us and binds us.  Further, as I eat the foods I’ve eaten since my childhood, I am connected not only to my parents, but also to my grandparents.  Likewise, as I teach my children how to cook these recipes, I am connecting myself to the seven generations to come.

In magic we talk about rites of passage, ritual events that mark a person’s progress from one status to another.  I expect my boys, aged 3 and 7, will be looking forward to such rites as getting their driver’s license.  For my part, I am going to make sure my sons go into the world knowing how to feed themselves.  In their last year at home, we’ll hold sacred kitchen rites and I will mark their progress into adulthood with their successful cooking of each recipe in our family’s canon.

In preparation, I am beginning to document the recipes and an attendant Pantry List for the foods my family has really eaten, day in, day out, year after year — for generations.  Check out Recipe Rites for all posted recipes.  Keep in mind these are simple dishes — no sophisticated palate or ingredient list required.  Bon Appetit!

© Jennifer S. and, 2012.


(1) via 100 Years of U.S. Consumer Spending: Data for the Nation, New York City, and Boston.


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