Friday, October 20, 2006

Food for Thought

Continuing with the theme of the effect of home life on society, here are some things to think about regarding meals.

Families actually enjoy sitting down to a plate of prepared food, or else they would not frequent the restaurants and eating establishments. There is something more to meals than food, for the ritual connected to a meal has a big impact on the mind. Compare the action of opening the fridge or pantry door and taking something out of a box and putting it to your mouth to munch on,(even fast food establishments have more protocol than this!), with the ritual of sitting down at a table and first looking at the food that has been carefully prepared. Notice the activity it takes to bring the fork to the mouth and eat it, compared to grabbing a cracker or a chip here and there and grazing until satisfied. Just the very fact that it takes longer to eat with utinsels, gives the body a more reasonable time to adjust to the food that is being sent to the stomach. For that matter, serving the soup or salad as an appetizer, was for the purpose of slowly getting the stomach used to food, before a big, hot, hearty meal hit it all at once, resulting in a stomach ache.

Rather than launch into an elaborate explanation about how lack of meal times at home contribute to the demise of young people and the ultimate breakdown of civilized life, I will send any brave souls to a link that will explain what I was trying to tell in the previous article, about how an author interviewed people in prison as to their childhood habits and discovered that a great number of them did not have mothers at home to prepare good meals for them. The article is called The Starving Criminal by Theodore Dalrymple and can be accessed here:

In this article, he talks about the lack of appetite in an era of plenty. It makes perfect sense to me, since there is a lot more to eating than food. I know that when I am unhappy or upset, I lose my appetite. There are certain situations that cause my desire to eat, to greatly diminish. As it turns out, it is only natural not to want to eat in situations in which your body and mind cannot fully relax.

So ladies, there is a lot more to staying home and a lot more to mealtime than this century knows, that the 19th century knew and practiced. They taught it from their homes, but the 20th century progressives thought institutional living was better, which included most meals away from home, (meals in colleges, high schools, head start programs, etc.) Many young people are reaping the sad results of it.

My husband's family ate all their meals at home, because their father did not like to eat out. He had been a bachelor til the age of 35, and once he got a wife, he was determined to eat at home. His children grew up "with their feet under his table," as he said, and they didn't eat out, either. It was a real treat when occasionally they broke with tradition and ate at a restaurant.

In my youth, I did not realize the importance of eating at home with the family, but after having my own children, I understand better, the reason for it. At home, you have less self-consciousness. You can say things that you believe, or wonder, without a dozen other ears picking it up and judging you. Parents can pass on their advice to their children with confidence. We had to sit across the table from each other and look at one another and be together, sharing the same food and asking for things to be passed, being courteous not to take the biggest helping, and leaving some for others.

Today, many families divide up during meal time and take their plates to their favorite places in the house and eat, apart from one another. I do think at least that is better than being away from home, but it is not the ideal. One reason that this habit persists, is that in some families where family members challenge the values of the home, eating together becomes so disagreeable that it is more desireable to eat alone in peace. We have a long way to go to bring back the valuable tradition of eating together at home.

Children feel they can be themselves when in the home, away from peering eyes and nosey neighbors. Mealtimes, bedtimes, --all times are good times to be home. That does not mean that you are locked up in your house 24/7, but that your foundation and anchor is the home. It cannot be your foundation if the most fruitful hours of the day are spent in someone else's home, or in institutions. Many of the people interviewed, stated that they did not really understand the purpose of meal times, beyond just eating for fuel. This article brings to light more of what I was trying to get across in my previous article. I think we probably don't know the impact we can have on our own nation, just by learning to eat at home.

At first, it might not seem appealing, but if the father will be the provider and let his wife stay home, there is more likelihood that this can be accomplished. The two of them can embark on the exciting adventure of gathering together the tools and supplies they need to have truly happy meals ;-). Everything from a cookbook to a bright table cloth, nice dishes and cutlery, to good cookware and bakeware and serving dishes, can make it actually more fun to eat at home than to eat out. Think also of the good you are doing in the family, by preventing the problems that this man described in his article.

I just know the first question that will come to everyone's mind is: What if sadness or depression or problems cause you to EAT ALL THE TIME? Well, let me ask you this: when you are unhappy, or there has been an upset in your life, or you are not feeling well, does it make you want to prepare a three course meal with a soup and an entree and a side dish followed by a dainty serving of pie and cheese with a proper cup of tea in a tea cup and saucer? If this is what people would do, instead of opening a bag of chips or a gallon of ice cream, they would not have the same problem of added weight, that they do, today. The problem is, that they do need, in times of stress, a goodly prepared meal, with all the time it takes, which would settle their minds. The activity of preparing it would prevent weight gain. I purposely do not keep much in my house that is easy to eat. Practically everything I have, has to be prepared. That way, when I am feeling out of sorts, I don't reach for a bag of cookies. If I decide to have some cookies, I will bake only one quarter of the recipe and eat them all, which is about 4 cookies. The effort of doing this from scratch is just so much labor, that I'm not likely to do it all day long. Ice cream can be a problem, so I may only buy enough for everyone to eat at once, and not be able to store any back in the freezer. If my husband and I have no family at home and want ice cream, we may buy a container small enough for two. Vegetables are purchased fresh and cooked or stir fried. This year, if I wanted vegetables, I dug up a carrot or two, broke off an ear of corn, and picked some tomatoes. I thought while doing it that it is certainly harder to over eat when you have to dig it up yourself every time you get hungry! While I don't think every one is able to do this, it is certainly a lesson in comparison. We may have a package of frozen vegetables reserved, but for the most part, nothing is very fast-foodish in our kitchen, on purpose.

If you buy a bag of cookies, you are more likely to binge. If I get a craving for potato chips or tortilla chips, I peel chips off a raw potato and cook them in a pan or in the oven. I do the same with tortillas by breaking them off into pieces and cooking them in a little oil. This prevents bored or restless eating, because after I've had to stand there and cook, I'm usually lacking the energy to cook more, and then it is time to do something else. The act of cooking actually is part of eating, for the preparation does something natural to the appetite, that reaching into the bag does not. I believe that there is a lot more to it than we actually know or can explain.

You might try Mr. Breakfast at
and also check out some sites about the affect of breakfast on your body. If you don't like breakfast and never feel you can eat it, you can do one or two things. 1. Stop eating dinner at night so that you will wake up ready to "break the fast," and 2. have a late breakfast. Personally, I find it hard to wake up and hit my body with a heavy meal, so it takes me awhile to get an appetite. One site I read showed how a big breakfast fuels the body for the rest of the day, so that even if you do not eat right, the breakfast will carry you through without affecting your health. One reason has to do with the way the body draws on its own resources if you don't eat a breakfast, and it taxes your insulin and other things, so that you crave the wrong kinds of foods. When I find that, I'll post it here.

The painting is called "At Breakfast." from


Anna said...

I found your post refreshing. Growing up in a busy, disorganized home I recall very few meals where everyone in the household actually sat down together. At a young age I had an image in my mind of what meal time should be. As a young woman still living at home I would try to bring the family together for meals, only to be teased about how "old-fashioned" I was. Now that I run my own home I arrange as many sit-down meals as I can and my husband and I both love the family discussion time it provides!

Anonymous said...

I will tell you, after reading this article this morning.... I got that pan out this morning! We had french toast. I have a middle son that doesn't like to eat breakfast... his dad is like that too. Well, lately, I have been making him come to the table anyway! He can sit with us and drink his coffee..he is close to 18 years, but I have been making him sit down, even if he doesn't eat! This article only helps encourage me to keep doing this.

Anonymous said...

Good article! Does anyone else here dislike buffet restaurants? We recently returned home from visiting relatives in another state. During our stay, they took us out to 3 different buffet restaurants! All that jumping up and down while everyone refills their plates at different times makes conversation almost impossible. And because they "want to get their money's worth" people always overeat. I doubt they are getting it, though, because everyone knows the bottom line is what is important to Big Business, the quality of the food is questionable. And you almost always encounter inconsiderate people in line, or unsupervised children dipping into the food in ways they shouldn't!! I would almost rather have had a fast-food burger or simple sandwich at their home! Of course, we were polite and made the best of it. Just wondering if I am alone in this.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just love your site! A Friend of mine from the Homesteadblogger area sent me over here today with a link, and I just adore what I've read so far and have cherished your words!

I totally agree with everything you've stated in this post about making dinner and eating at home. I can't wait to read more of what you've posted the next few days as I take a break from chores and sip my tea! Thank you, and I can't wait to see your other writings when I have the time!

Cherish the Home said...

Blogger ate my comment so I'm going to try again--however this time I'll copy my comment first before hitting 'publish'....just in case! (o;

Anyway.....I **really** enjoyed this post.

Lady Lydia, I think you have untapped the true secret to weight loss--Cooking from scratch!

At the very least I think it's important for us to stop eating out of bags. If I must have chips or cookies, I will pull out a serving size and put it into a bowl/plate before eating.

I think in our culture mealtime has become more about eating and less about having a true dining experience.


Lydia said...

Regarding bagged cookies, here is something worth pondering over: my mother, and many like her, never had a cookie jar. I never heard of cookie jars til I grew up. During her time as a mother at home, she baked cookies, but they were either eaten on the spot as they came out of the oven (getting all the fresh goodness) or packed away in homemade lunches for the next day. If someone had suggested a cookie jar, these women would have wondered, "What for?" because there would not have been cookies to put in it. The bread was the same. When it came out of the oven, it was eaten almost immediately, and she managed to save some of it for sandwiches the next day or two, but no bagged bread sat around the house. Now to continue with my point: the bagged cookies and bagged bread do not have much real flavor, compared to the fresh baked, so we eat more of them, trying to get some of that homemade satisfaction, and even trying to get a good feeling in our souls. That is one reason I don't keep bagged goods in the house, and if I get a craving for something, I buy one donut or pastry and eat it fresh, and do not bring home more than one per person. So if you want something "that's not supposed to be good for you," at least get the best you can buy, i.e. the best chocolate, and eat only one truffle. The problem with the bagged goodies is that they so lack in taste and richness that we have to eat the whole bag in order to feel any kind of satisfaction.

Lydia said...

Also if you are going to eat something that is very rich and not on your diet, eat it in the morning, rather than at night. It gives you all day to use up the calories from it. However I find that when you eat a hearty breakfast, you lose the desire to eat sweets, and do not want to snack all day.

Lydia said...

For breakfast I had a 3 egg omelet made with onions and a sliced red peper (capsicum), with a glass of fresh orange juice.

for lunch I cooked two little red potatoes, peeled, with a handful of fresh brocoli florets, aldente (spe?) or just until cooked.

for dinner I will have a salmon patty, and ear of corn and some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, and then later on I'll have a piece of home made apple pie (made by me) which i'll post the recipe for some day, with a spoonful of the most expensive vanilla bean ice cream I can find. If you only have a little, you don't have to worry so much about the price. And it is better to eat the very best.

Now really, wouldn't you agree that Americans weren't so fat when they ate everything without worrying about the grams of this or that, and they didn't have all the guilt that went with it. If you eat food that is available and in season, you ought to be able to eat it without guilt. I often wonder, don't you, if eating with guilt actually causes weight gain!

Cherish the Home said...

Thank you for sharing your menu for today, I enjoyed reading it and it gave me some good ideas.

Also, your post inspired me to cook supper from scratch....we had homemade soup made from mostly leftovers and homemade cheddar biscuits(I got the biscuit recipe from a fellow blogger). (o:

I saw something on tv the other day where they said the average dress size for women in the 1950's was a size 8 and now the average size is a 14. Maybe the difference is what you're saying. Because I don't think people counted carbs or ate low fat in those days. I also bet it's because more people cooked from scratch and ate at home.

I also recently read in Prevention Magazine that the climate control in our houses makes us gain weight. They said when the body has to work to stay warm or to stay cool, it burns more calories. I thought that was interesting.

wendybirde said...

I remember hearing about this study, wish I knew where to find it, it was years ago, that craving a food deeply caused as much weight gain as eating it. When folks had a lot of cravings, they gained, even if they ate spartanly. And i think there is something to this. If we feel deprived and empty and longing then we gain, gaining weight to fill that unnamed longing, that lack of nourishing. The study connected it with chemicals we secrete when we crave and long, our feeling of deprivation, our longing for something, it secretes them.

Really, its also soul longing I suspect. Its like what you said here, "the bagged cookies and bagged bread do not have much real flavor, compared to the fresh baked, so we eat more of them, trying to get some of that homemade satisfaction, and even trying to get a good feeling in our souls." More and more I am suspecting it is our LACK that makes us gain. Downing a bag of empty feeling cookies out of a bag when we actually deep down want fresh baked nourishing bread at the table with our loved ones, etc, this is still lack. And with lack and deprivation we naturally go into survival mode inside then, and look what our ancestors did in survival mode: for one, they stored up weight as protection against future crisis.

When we feel noursished deep down, and safe, I suspect our bodies are then so much more relaxed and then more able to run well rather than be in survival mode.

I really enjoyed this post. If true change begins at home, then true change at home likley begins at the table : )

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

This is so wonderfully written, encapsulating my thoughts upon the West's modern way of eating, with all its inherrent problems! Whilst the authorities here in australia run around like headless chooks crowing about the woes of an ever growing 'obesity epidemic', with lobby group after lobby group longing to legislate this that and the other, no one has even given thought to the differences between now and even 20 years ago when it comes to food. Not one commentator even suggested returning to 'cooking from scratch', as this would imply people would need time to do such, leading to, yes, guess what, women returning to the home in order to provide for their families and themselves! any one of us here over thirty most probably has fond memories of our mothers cooking from scratch and baking, whether rich, or, as my mother was, with only a widow's pension to keep her and us two kids.

I raised this upon a morning talk show much to the horror of its lady presenter, who blanket-stated 'just because it may have been appropriate then doesn't mean it's appropriate now'. she wasn't even listening!. We rarely had commercial biscuits or cake in the home. The only thing mum bought ready-made was bread. I have the fondest memories of returning home from school on wet winter afternoons, freezing, being able to take a hot shower and warm up, a steaming mug of cocoa (and later tea in my teen years) with home-made scones fresh out of the oven, wrapped in a clean linen tea-towel greeting me on the dining table - not even cream and jam, just a little butter and maybe honey. heaven! How many children today have this simple luxury to remember, their mother able to sit down with them and talk over simple afternoon tea? Also, as teens, we walked to school, walked from class to class, played sports (being an all-girls school, inter-gender issues were not an issue, all our sports teachers being women themselves) and walked home. The boys would then drop their bags, head out and ride their bikes in the local park, making ramps, jumps and so on, till the various mothers called them home for tea, yes, in the early '80's! I expect home schooling offers as much if not more opportunities for keeping growing children physically as well as mentally active.

now, its all changed, as pre-prepared, fast food is ever more readily available - harrowed parents stopping into the food court, or to pick up take-away Thai for their families or emptying the contents of freezer-bag and jar into a pan. This generation of teens and young people is said to be the first in 200 years who will most likely be outlived by their parents if things don't radically turn around and turn around fast. all the legislation in the world will not solve the food problem; simple, delicious, proper home-cooking and dining will - giving families a time to stop and unwind after a busy day, talk, share, cement relationships and so much more. yes, the art of dining is indeed being lost, as are vital cullinary skills once passed down from generation to generation, with one third of people aged 25 unable to cook. the dangerous commercially prepared or restreraunt food lifestile can be measured by the number of 'trendy' new aapartments being built in 'up and coming' areas in all large cities without stoves or proper kitchens!.

When do you think society will finally wake up and return to the old paths before it eats itself to death on processed, pre-packaged, take-away, restaraunt and ready-meal food?

I ever give praise to our Lord and Saviour that, even with significant sight loss, I both love, and am an adept cook, be it a morning tea for my husband's family, or an old fashioned Australian roast for everyone.

Mrs. E.

Lydia said...

As was the cookie jar, so was the bread box: no such thing hanging around growing stale. Although Mamma made multiple loaves of bread, it just didn't warrent being stored away, as it was eaten so fast. Bread loses its vitamin advantages within hours after being baked, so it was no wonder all 7 of us kids were so healthy. We didn't have the allergies or the weight problems or diabetes, even though we ate plenty of sweets, all the way from homemade hot cocoa to berry jams. There are foods that are insulin nuetralizers, such as fish, cheese, meats, and other proteins, that we ate. My husband, who works at the airport part time, says he is always amazed at the many children and teens who carry bags of medicines and who are diabetic, which is partly a result of the "bag eating." There are people who just eat, from one end of the day to the next. This is that soul-hunger. Part of eating is SMELLING the food, and the bags have no smell to them compared to hot, home cooking. That also has an effect on the apestat, a natural scale in the mind and body that tells you when you've eaten enough. Once that has been altered by binge eating or by constant snacking, it makes you gain weight. The opposite are the anorexics who don't eat because their apestat has been altered emotionally. So we have two problems. But I am getting off the original topic, which was how lack of mothers at home cooking for their children, causes criminal problems in the west. Now when I say a breakfast, I don't mean cereal and toast. Please check out Mr. Breakfast for breakfast ideas. Protein is a must, if you want your chldren's minds to be stable, and modern breakfasts are sweets and simple carbs--not good for you. When this began in the early60's, men would go to work and get grouchy halfway through the morning, because women thought that is what they should feed them. Children's learning abilities went down also. Doctors went on the radio and warned everyone that we had too much salt and too much this and too much that, and the old fashioned potatoes and meat meals gave way to pastas and breads. Nothing wrong with that, but we cut out the important cell-building proteins. Certain fats are essential for a sense of well-being. When we cut down on fat, we'll be hungry, and eat more snack foods. Avocados, eggs, fish, certain meats, cheeses, etc. are all part of the building material needed for the mind. So yes there is a connection. One girl I knew who had been on drugs, told me that part of the reason was that her mother worked, and was more concerned about buying nice things for her, than about cooking meals and being a homey mother. That act of huddling aroundt the table and ceremoniously partaking of food, with all the utinels and things, becomes replaced by the drug paraphanelia. That is one thing I've always said: if afternoon tea ceremony with its tea spoons, tea cups, tea table, tea towels, strainers, small bites of fancy foods,etc. could be restored as a teenage habit, they would be less likely to use drugs.

Lydia said...

Yes I had heard that too, that moving around to keep warm, used up more calories. When we were more active as a nation, we even got too warm in cold weather and shed our sweaters and jackets. Now we are more sedentary. Women at home have a great opportunity to shed weight by being active in the management, cleaning, and organizing of the home. There is always a cupboard or closet to clean, or a floor to sweep.

Lydia said...

But if you are going to buy cookies or some kind of chocolate, get the top of the line, the super deluxe, the absolute best, and you will find you are satisfied with one or two.

mamajuliana said...

I really enjoy your blog. You are such an inspiration! My husband was raised in a family that never ate out and we are continuing that tradition. We are one of the few families that eats a homecooked meal every evening. Our daughter is in charge of the baking. She is learning the art of gluten-free baking and cooking, (she has celiac disease.) Our family has never been really able to purchase the bagged type bread and cookie/bakery items...I guess my children are spoiled-from NOT eating out or BOUGHT baked goods!
Thanks again for your blog inspiration~ I enjoy reading it often!

Vanessa said...

Thank you again Lady Lydia for a well-timed post!

I have added Mr Breakfast to my favourites. I have a lot to learn With my husband being diabetic and not taking care of himself, I am hoping that with medication and a good diet he will be better and start new habits. He eats out of a bag a lot and I wish to change this. I truly hope my coming home will inspire him to desire what is in his lunchbag and not what is out there for him to have a 'quick fix'.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this article Lady Lydia. As a child we always sat together as a family to eat and I have continued this tradition with my own family. It is so good to sit together as a family, no TV, no reading at the table, because then we can talk and catch up on each other's news. My husband is very busy days and evenings so it is a good time to catch up and be together.

I am also a believer in what my Nan (a wise lady of 84)said: in life take everything in moderation. I have applied this to my own eating and drinking and I have never been overweight. I eat full fat items, and I don't drink low-sugar drinks that have been topped up with artificial sweeteners. I do believe that much of the 'diet' food available today is full of chemicals and other additives to replace what God did so much better. We need full fat items like milk, etc, to gain the full amount of vitamins and minerals. Reduced fat items are often chock full of thickening agents and salt to improve flavour; and they have half the goodness. Chocolate is another case in point - it is good for you (especially dark chocolate) in moderation. If we would only eat natural, home cooked/baked foods in moderation then we wouldn't be calorie counting and visiting dieticians all the time.

Jenny said...

I have just spent the day cooking for my family,really I have spent my entire marriage cooking. Cooking from scratch is the only way I know but I do agree that if you are going to buy cookies and treats you should buy the very best you can. Life is too short to bother with inferior products. I don't know how they manage to fit so many strange ingredients into the most basic foods.
If you need to stick to a budget and you care about your family's health you need to be in control of what is in the food they eat. There is nothing better than knowing that something that you have made is somebody's favourite and one day you can teach them how to make it and when they make a home of their own they can take that recipe and all those memories with them.

Lydia said...

Diet foods can actually create more weight problems. They are not satisfying, so one tends to want to eat more of them. Also they fake sugars and fats in them do something to the body's ability to process calories. The fat all collects in the middle of your body and forms its own diabetic system. It is difficult to get rid of this kind of weight gain. Statin drugs also block the body's ability to process sugars and fats, resulting in overweight.

In an old cookbook written by a woman in the 1800's she writes that most Americans suffer from lack of weight, and too few of them have enough fat on them! She therefore included instructions on how to cook and improve the appetite.

Today although everyone is overweight, they still lack good appetites for normal foods made from scratch. If you are going to eat an apple pie, pick the apples fresh from a tree or from the produce section, and make the pie really fresh, rather than canned, frozen, or from the bakery. You will find that one slice is very satisfying, compared to commercial pies, which take you several slices to feel good. Besides that, the aroma of baking is part of the appetite and digestive process; part of the thing that enters the brain. If you buy things ready made, they miss the smelling part of eating.

Another article written in the 1800's online (which I can't again) was a doctor writing about the comparison between Americans of the time and their European counterparts. He said that the Americans were not very "pretty" and had not enough fat on them, and their muscles were showing and they were very senewy, even the women, and he didn't think they looked healthy because they were so thin. However he was amazed that they could have twins and both would survive! Or that they could have very large families and all lived through childhood. No doubt they were not eating the rich concoctions that made people get fat and develop all kinds of problems.

(Read more about the dangers of statins to your health here and here http:// )

Anonymous said...

The statin articles are so interesting and just show how careful one must be these days and not always take new health advice at face value. The difficulty these days seems to be that doctors are all too quick to prescribe drugs to mask problems rather than root out the cause - the excesses of modern life; that is, too much alcohol, drugs (both prescription and illegal), chemical impregnated foods, etc.

Lydia said...

I agree it is best to avoid so much soy products. It is supposed to be good for you, but in the form that it takes in just about every food or salad dressing there is, it is not good. Now we have people getting fatter and young people developing much earlier than they should, which is partly due to the larger consumption of soy products. I noticed even my most favorite mayonnaise, Best Foods (or Hellmans in the south) has soy in it whereas it used to have another oil in it years ago. I will try to print some recipes for salad dressings so you can make a bottle of it and put it in the fridge; also when I get time, show you how to make home made potato chips, as they are more flavorful and you'll be surprised how much one small potato makes!

Anonymous said...

This site has recipes plus tips on converting recipes to be healthier -

Anonymous said...

Please accept my appology Lady Lydia, I simply could not resist including these!

Salad dressing for mesculan, garden salad or European Coleslaw.

Two parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil to 1 part lemon juice or verjuice (if available), as many cloves of crushed garlic as you like (leave it out if you don't)
teaspoon of mild grain mustard (if liked)
a little brown sugar or honey
a little salt and pepper to taste.

When making Greek salad, add a little oregano to the dressing also.

Many variations are possible, such as using herb-infused oil, apricot kernel oil for a more delicate flavour, a few drops of walnut oil, replacement of lemon with balsamic vinegar (with a few drops raspberry vinegar etc for a little more flavour).

Home made mayonaise does not require many ingredients at all, rather time and just a little patience.

It's best to make it with a delicate oil such as macadamia, apricot kernel or extra light olive oil (extra virgin being too intense).

This is poured, in the gentlest stream you can, a little at a time, to egg yolks you're beating constantly. The two ingredients will emulsify and form your basic mayonaise, to which you can then add perhaps a little mustard, tiny bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Mixing very finely crushed garlic into the mix will give you aoli.

The first dressing can be shaken thoroughly in a jar (lid very firmly in place) to blend the ingredients, which will last several days in the refrigerator (shaking well when you need to use it, as the oil and lemon/virjuice/vinegar will separate oute)

Home made mayonaise is best used immediately. My mother used to make a version of mayonaise using a little condensed milk, involving a cooking process over the stove - this variety not to my taste). However many ladies may like or be familiar with it. Mum left a now very battered and dog-eared handwritten cook book containing a recipe for the latter in it.

After trying these, you'll never buy comercial dressing again.

In closing, here's a delicious salad you can serve with asian foods such as curries (from indonesian to Indian), African or Maritian dishes and so on.

One green mango
1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled (unless VERY fresh)
As little fresh red chilli as you like (if heat is not your thing, use the big red ones or red capsicum)
fresh asian beanshoots
shallotts (the green spring-onion variety)
lime juice and a dash of fish sauce

shred the green mango on a mandolin (if you're game)or one of those nifty manual food processors or apple grater.

finely julienne shallot and capsicum, finely chop chilli if using it.
shred the basil and half of the corriander.
add remaining ingredients, season to taste and toss thoroughly. Delicious on a hot, humid day.

apple, mint and yoghurt raita
one small granny smith apple, finely diced,
1 cup, thick Greek-style yoghurt
mint to taste
squeeze of lemon juice.

Mix all ingredients together and serve with everything from Turkish to Torres Strait cooker. replace apple with grated or finely diced Lebanese cucumber for a change.

Banana coconut salad

slice just ripe bananas, sprinkle with lemon juice, roll in fresh shredded coconut or desicated coconut and serve with above dishes.

Coconut Sambal
1 cup fresh shredded coconut,
Red chilli
finely minced onion
a little lime juice
sfew drops of fish sauce.

and finally (from a dear malaysian friend of mine)

colourful side dish

julienned red and yello capsicum
diced ripe tomato (use red and yello romas if you can get them)
finely shredded minced ginger, about 1.5 inch.
red chilli (as little or much as liked)
Lime juice.

and finally, soothing salad for hot curries.
finely diced fresh pineapple (roughie is best)
a little finely chopped red chilli
A little Spanish onion, served in tandom with a simple lettuce and avocado side dish.

As you can see, my culinary favourites are gained from Australia's near neighbours and the many cultural influences upon our style of cooking.

Yes, i've rambled, but well, its Delicious and refreshing, especially coming into our australian summer!

Mrs. E.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of breakfast, If you're one who cannot stomach a hearty breakfast first thing in the morning, fruit is an excellent starter.Water melon, rock melon or honeydue both soothe the stomach and really wake one up. Fruit only takes half an hour to digest (except for avocado, dates and banana, which takes an hour.

go about your morning for a little while, prepare your breakfast, and it'll go down much more nicely. A simple boiled egg with toast is a nice start (wholegrain bread an excellent choice). as has already been mentioned, this is utilized slowly by the body, giving energy to get oone through their morning till lunchtime without hunger pangs etc. if one is active or cooking for active children and husbands engaged in physical work, a really substantial breakfast will be burned up.

I've found personally, even cooked cereals such as porridge really leave me fatigued and dropping off about half an hour after eating such, whereas a fruit and savoury breakfast gives me the get up and go I need along with a feelingof apetite satisfaction. Of interest, throughout Asia, breakfast food as such is not eaten. Rather, fruit and left-overs from the night before (or banana rice etc) are eaten. In Egypt, a bean dish with the unfortunate name of foul (renounced foo-el) is eaten (and delicious, I might add).

For nutritional value, low fat and high fibre, you can't go pastthe humble baked bean. On toast, it'll keep the furnaces firing till lunch without a problem.

Mrs. E.

Theodora Elizabeth said...

I definitely agree with homemade food being so much more satisfying and filling. I made a large pot of a very hearty chicken noodle soup this afternoon. A small cereal-sized bowlful was more than enough to fill me up. I had a cup of tea this evening, and that was enough.


Jenn said...

Lady Lydia,
You've outdone yourself with this one. What an intriguing artcile. It made me feel good to know the things we do without much thought can make such an impact! It also got me to thinking of ways to improve still. :D


Lydia said...

Go here for an article about cooking at home vs. eating out. I love to eat out but have become more picky about where I eat, and always try to choose a place that will give the best nutrition and has the best atmosphere.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

As one or two of you may know I collect vintage and antique homemaking books. One of the main things I have learnt is that women from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries took meal planning, meal times and economy in food very seriously indeed. Food needed to be healthful and wholesome (and they knew what that was even before the discovery of vitamins), it needed to be properly presented at the table (not too posh, but there was formality)and portion control was regulated so that the food bill did not force the family into debt. In those days people paid more for their food than they did on rent or mortgage, food was absolutely respected, they were also more thankful for their food because they knew their good health relied on it. I often wonder at the fact that there are very few *luxury* foods nowadays, foods that are *really* unaffordable to the average person. I've just made a lot of mincemeat for Christmas. 70 years ago or so that would have been a very special event, not just because it was part of Christmas prepartions, but because the ingredietns were so very luxurious a large part of the Chritmas savings would've gone on them.

Anonymous said...

I had to smile regarding the last lady's comment re the value of food, its respect and worth (both in monitary and festive terms) I too am a maker of mincemeat (having set down a batch in July to be ready by December along with one Christmas cake already having found a home with my parents and others to make in the coming weeks).

Dried and glace fruits at one time were, as so rightly pointed out, luxuries reserved for special occasions only in contrast with today's prices.

here's a rough account for all ingredients necessary to make two boild fruitcakes (a favourite here in Aus - I'll give the recipe if wanted).

2 small pkts real glace cherries (about $2.50 each)
1 x 1.5kg pkt dried mixed fruit ($3.50
1 x 250g block butter ( from 90c to $1.50)
1 x 500g soft brown sugar - more than enough for about 5 cakes ($1.00 - $1.50)
1 regular jar Golden Syrup - enough for 1 - 2 years, depending upon how much used ($2.00 - $3.50)
1 jar black treacle (same as above) ($3.00)
spices, used all the time so not factored in.
same for baking powder.
true free range eggs - half dozen (2.50)
1 kg plain flour ($1.50)
small bottle brandy - enough for three cakes ($7.00 - $10 .00)

As you can see, in a monthly budget, even moreso spread over a year, the expense to make even half a dozen of these luscious black fruit cakes is not much at all, especially when many of the products are constants always in one's pantry.

Same goes for fruit mince (in which I actually bought the candied peel, sultanas and currants separately in order to have the preportions of each I like)

The same goes for baking ingredients which are a staple in my pantry - even exotics such as pandan syrup, orange flour water, rose water, clarified butter and fine semolina not breaking the bank at all.

The same can be said for tea, coffee and cocoa/chocolate; once the domaine of the very very rich, only becoming affordable by middling folk in the latter parts of the 19th century.

To my knowledge, the only foods of great expense now are Truffles and saffron (a 1g box of the latter fetching $6.

More down to earth, a small punnet of raspberries usually sells for anything between $5 and $10 in my part of Australia when in season, with blue berries being similarly priced at present.

Mrs. E.

Lydia said...

Mrs. E.: I've been reading about health in the 1800's and you mentioned the food of the very rich. The resources I have found, show how the very rich, being privilege to some of these foods, came down with the worst illnesses. Their food being more refined, and less natural, would have contributed to this. They were also the first segment of society that the modern drugs were tried out on, even in the 1960's. The drugs caused them more problems, but became icons of the modern age. The glace cherries are made in a peculiar way, which you might find makes you recoil. I understand they are drained of their natural juice, then in some way bleached, and put in a jar. The ingredients of a jar of glace cherries are a bit different than that of real cherries in their natural form, or even the canned cherries, which are still more natural than the glace ones. So, I wonder how the other fruit in fruitcakes is made. It is possible, however to make a nice fruitcake using dried fruits, and today, you can buy dried cherries.

edwardianbeauty said...

Nice article about foods. I need all the tips I can get because I need to lose weight. I am trying to get over my food cravings now. Wow Just a spoonful of ice cream I eat a bowl lol.