Welcome to the recovery version....
I know I'm all about the fresh food, and the cool food project, and the Farmer's-Market-this and CSA*- that, but there are plenty of days I am Glad Glad Glad we live in a world where easy, shelf stable food exits.
It is in my emergency kit, and it is in my pantry. And there are times that sort of feel like an emergency, and that is when they come out.
So when I went down with Strep Throat this weekend, I was really glad the supplies were there, and my son could cook his own dinner.
Was it pretty? No.
Was it even gourmet? NOPE.
But it was kindof nutritious, it was kindof balanced, and he was able to do it *all by himself.*
It was microwave mac 'n cheez & a cucumber.
The 2 great things about this -
1. He had done this enough, so he could do it himself, and
2. I had a fresh thing on hand he wanted enough to hunt out and eat. (He said it was fun just biting into a cucumber - something to think about in our bite sized world.)
The key is, we should eat real food more often than we do, and my goal is to help make it easy, tasty and fun, and something anyone can do.
But I'm no hater. Shelf stable food has an important place in our just-in-time society. Emergency rations, travel food, winter food... there are reasons for it - we just shouldn't eat it all the time.... And so much of it.
Which brings me to the second thing - teach your kids how to make a toasted cheese sandwich and/or quesadilla, and then have them make them.
(And then make them clean up.)
The sooner they feel like they can feed themselves, the sooner they will, and if they get used to feeding themselves in your kitchen, you can help them decide what kind of food will be in their kitchen, and what kind of food they will cook. If we never put them in a position where they need to cook they certainly won't know what to do when they have to.
My learning to cook story isn't particularly special, except I was allowed to try things. Oh yeah, and if something didn't taste good I was told so. Because there was "Yuck!" I knew I could trust "Yum!"
Kids know when they are being lied too - they just play along, but it makes it hard for them to know when you are telling the truth. And if you tell them something they made doesn't taste good when they are young, they'll bounce back - but if it doesn't happen until they are a teenager - Watch Out. There will be splatters.
(I heard Michael Pollan of _Omnivore's Dilemma_ on NPR talking about shopping for Fruity Pebbles for his son.)
*Community Supported Agriculture