Monday, May 31, 2010

Simplicity in Eating?

I liked these suggestions for minimalist eating at mmlist.

I also liked this post at Kitchen Madonna: Go Monastic. It revived my wish for a wheat grinder but then, I am trying not to buy anything, at least not until I've thought for a long time.

In the meantime, the minimalist suggestions are sensible -- they fit in with the "sparing" ideal mentioned in Father Dubay's Happy are you Poor:

  1. Eat less
  2. Use fewer ingredients -- 2 or 3 in a main dish (not counting oil and spices)
  3. Simple preparation
  4. Eat "sustainably" -- local produce and a bigger proportion of vegetables and grains compared to animal products.
I also read about this One Bowl Eating. I guess there's even a book on the subject. It's funny, because this is what I often do when I'm trying to eat mindfully. You start with vegetables and then add some complex carb and maybe some meat or cheese or egg. I usually like strong flavor but am trying to learn how to eat food that is less seasoned in order to retrain my sensory system. The bowl shouldn't be huge -- the idea is that your stomach is only about the size of your fist and that the bowl should contain about that quantity of food. I have a glass bowl that is just about the right size.


  1. Some blenders can be used to grind grains. If you've got a plastic blender bowl, it will get scratched. Otherwise, it can't hurt to try! A flour sifter will sift out the larger parts, which can be either repulverized or used in cracked wheat cereal.

  2. I've been thinking about simple eating lately too. The food allergies here are at the same time the impetus to simpler eating *and* the complication of the matter! :)

    I have this urge lately to buy several things in huge bulk containers: oatmeal, wheat, sugar... maybe more, to simplify our meals further and simplify our shopping by needing to go out less.

    Eating according to the church calender has always intrigued me - of course there are the obvious fasts and abstinences, but I'm coming across more lately about eating simply in general and then more for feast days, etc. I just don't think I'm organized enough to pull this off, lol! And then there is the little matter of 6 other people with preferences and differing needs. I see so often on the minimalist sites that the people talking are single, only a couple, or AT MOST two kids. It seems so easy to have one bowl when you are single...but whole different ballgame when you are one of 7 or more.

  3. It does indeed seem that these minimalist sites are populated by singles and couples. Much as their ideas intrigue me, that also turns me off. As I was reading all the comments on One Bowl Eating, it was clear that the commenters were not serving up one bowl meals to households with three or four or more small children. I kept thinking that style of eating would have appealed to me back when I was single but just doesn't fit with my need to feed my family. Oh we do one dish meals often enough. Soup or curry or pasta. But especially the idea of getting rid of all the table settings except for one bowl a piece would drive me batty.

    I was just noticing yesterday that many of the children's meals look more like tapas than anything else. I set out a bunch of little bowls of food on the table outside: a bowl of orange slices, a bowl of baby carrots, a plate of quesadilla slices, a bowl of diced beets, a quartered peanut butter sandwich, some cubed cheese. The kids would pause in their playing, grab a bunch of food and then go or they'd stop a while and sit on the blanket and make a little meal and then run off. I had a one bowl meal of leftover Chinese chicken and peas served over rice. Some of the kids shared forkfuls of that as well. It was definitely not minimalist in the sense of the websites that claim that title; but I'm pretty sure there was at least a good chance that each kid got a balanced meal. And there weren't any battles over children having a dish of food they didn't want placed in front of them.

  4. I haven't done much serious reading at minimalist sites. In my case I don't feel qualified to sort out the Zen influences and how they might differ from Catholic thinking. Every once in a while I surf the web for simplifying inspiration and that's where I usually stumble across one of these sites.

    It would be fun to discuss how simplicity and minimalism work with Catholicism and with larger families.

    Your "tapas" for your little ones sound great, Melanie. I used to do that sort of thing when my children were all littlies, especially when they had little friends over who might be picky eaters or too busy playing to sit down to eat.

    When we were teaching Aidan to eat (he was G Tube fed for five years and had lots of food aversions because of sensory integration disorder) we did the same thing -- put a bunch of small bits of things out for him to get used to seeing, handling and eventually tasting.

  5. I would like to exchange links with your site
    Is this possible?


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!