So over the last few days on my Insta, I’ve been posting about how this week is my first trip out east to shoot The Kitchen since Anna Carina was born. And see! Here I am, on a plane, writing as I’d promised! That said, my current mood involves hugely regretting having put my breast pump in my checked suitcase… especially since it’ll be 12 hours before I see it and am able to pump again! I know I’ve mentioned in the past how cow-like I am in the milk production department. This means I don’t worry too much about not making enough milk, although I still have those moments when I feel I won’t make it as long with Anna as I did with the boys. Then the wise one (my older sister, Carina) reminds me that, regardless of what I feed her, it’s our love that will keep her the healthiest. That said, I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
By the way, mothering is such a tricky subject to share and talk about. I mean, I’ve been called out (mistakenly!) for not supporting formula feeding when the truth is I couldn’t care less! It’s just not my personal experience – since I’ve been able to breastfeed, my experience is with breastfeeding and how hard it is. And actually, when necessary, I have even supplemented with formula… being cow-like means that doing that occasionally won’t affect my supply!
That said, I do know that the comments come from a very personal place that has very little to do with what I post or how I mother. As moms, we just don’t want to hear it; most of us are just doing the very best we can. I guess that’s why I’m always hesitant to share too much about how we feed or raise the kids – I feel that it is inevitable that there will be backlash. It is simply impossible for all of us to share the same philosophies. I mean, you can find literature supporting almost any type of mothering style; regardless of our beliefs, we just take it VERY personally.
Today though, I’m sharing. I mean you’ve probably seen David on my Insta enjoying food like it’s nobody’s business. He hums while he chews. It is an absolute delight to watch him gnawing on a lamb rack, and it fills me to the brim with pride to see him eating a warm, rolled up tortilla with his carne asada. That boy can eat! His day starts with breakfast with Fau at around 7am (a bowl of oatmeal), followed a couple of hours later by some scrambled eggs and spinach. Then he’ll have an apple or a banana around noon before he takes his nap. At around 2pm, he’ll eat some sort of protein with some rice or veggies, and then dinner is usually a quesadilla or some leftovers from “la comida.” If he’s lucky, I might even sear a sockeye salmon… his fave! And the funny thing is: we don’t have any secrets! I guess he just eats what we eat!
Then again, he’s lucky; both of his parents are very into food. In fact, believe it or not, I’m actually the one who is more lenient about junk food! But Philip, who grew up with a mother who was an exceptional cook and who had an organic garden from which she cooked, can’t stand it. Not only will he not eat it, but he’d sooner go to the market and prepare an entire meal from scratch than have the kids eat it! It’s amazing! So actually… maybe that’s the secret…? We just don’t have a lot of junk in the house! And all of that food you see me posting? Believe it or not, my repertoire is actually much smaller than at the homes of some of my Mexican friends here in San Diego. It’s very cultural. The pride attached to our cuisine is very present in how we raise our kids. It’s like a rite of passage to bite into raw chiles between taco bites. Philip used to get made fun of at school when he was a kid because he’d open a lunch box with tamales or tortas and beans. His mom would sooner die than have him eat cafeteria food. And this has nothing to do with privilege: she just had really good taste! My mom was cool with us having Twinkies and Pop tarts, so I indulge every once in a while… but I am very careful of what I bring to the house. I mean, we are mildly obsessed with these vegan chocolate chip cookies, but other than that, it’s all pretty clean. Can it get expensive? Absolutely; but I see it as an investment. And it wasn’t always the way it is now. There were moments when I had to choose between paying a bill or picking up a rib eye and I always went for the rib eye. Fau and I would share.
And while the health benefits of eating good food are obvious, for Philip and me, I think it’s more about the family table. Believe it or not, even if we’re having burgers from In N’ Out, we’ll set the table and pour some wine! And, while at the table, we try really hard to have our phones put away. Instead, we’ll ask each other about life and school and politics (ew). And really, we just do the best we can. In the end, we are well aware that we could be having cereal for dinner every night and we’d be just fine because we have each other. I know it sounds pretty cheesy, but really, it’s the truth. For us, it’s a priority. And for Philip, I think it’s even more a priority than it is for me, simply due to the fact that I ate my meals on the go for 10 years! The man (on the other hand) needs to sit and eat with his family to be happy. That’s been a huge influence on how our meals go down, and I think Philip does a lot of the cooking for this exact reason. He often offers to cook so that we can have friends and family over when I’d choose to go eat at a restaurant and not worry about it. That said, it has been such a great gift to go back and focus on making sure we have time as a family, and I’m so thankful for it, recognizing that not everyone can do that. I couldn’t for many years… all those years when I was too busy working to put that very food on the table for Fau!
At the end of the day, I believe that’s why my feed is filled with so much annoying gratitude towards this life and this family. We fought long and hard to get here and, for those who want this; for those who want to be able to sit for a couple hours with the family in front of the healthy meal, I truly wish from the bottom of my heart that you make it there. On the other side, I’m 100% certain that the happiest memories my children will have in their young lives will be of the meals we shared at our table.
So… yeah. Love and real conversations and good food. Good food like this salad. Yes, see what I did? I totally just randomly made this recipe work with this blog post! But really… it’s a great salad!
Zucchini and Fennel Garden Salad
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 head butter lettuce, cored, leaves torn into large pieces
2 zucchinis, thinly shaved
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
Combine olive oil, vinegar, shallots, mustard and agave and whisk until ingredients are combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss lettuce, zucchini, shallot and fennel with vinaigrette. Top with Parmesan and serve!