There's nothing like a block of frozen spinach to make you feel bad about your family dinner.
My mom, Fritzi, never heard of pesto. The only way we ever ate spinach was dumped out of the can, heated, and seasoned with vinegar or lemon juice. I had learned to like this at Camp Kiwanis where Camp Fire Girl food whiners were never tolerated. A week at camp and I was dang happy just to get some stewed whole tomatoes.
Seems like lately we are trying to feed ourselves and our families farmers market foodie-style at considerable time and expense. Yes, it is fresh, nutritious, and aesthetically pleasing. But wait. Are we wearing ourselves out and busting our budgets?
My sons will surely tell the judge that I served them horrible meals and they were lucky to survive. I would tell the same judge the same sad story about my mom's cooking. We lived and thrived, though, without fresh kale, pomegranate juice, or that tiny $4.99 bag of pine nuts.
A friend was feeling guilty because she fed her 87-year-old father canned soup and toast for supper when she had a killer sinus infection. Soup and toast reminds me of a desperation meal my mom used to make. She heated a can of salmon in a double boiler with a can of cream of mushroom soup, and Tabasco Sauce to season. She diluted it with milk to stretch servings, then ladled over saltines. Fritzi would open a can of pear halves or splurge with a can of Royal Anne cherries, and we would fill up on carrot sticks and conversation. Mind-blowing. Three cans = supper for a family of five.
Canned and frozen foods are much lower in salt than when I was whining at camp in the Sixties. At least Dr. Oz said so in the Time story. And yes, I made pesto with some frozen spinach, garlic, faux parmesan cheese, walnut pieces, and "sadder but wiser" olive oil. Gonna have the leftovers tonight without guilt.
© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder