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Tasty Tidbits


Making Home Work
by Kate Wolford

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017

After much preparation, my parents have arrived and are comfortably settled in. We are having a great time, catching up on Universal Monster movies like "The Wolf Man," and, in a much different vein, "A Christmas Carol." The latter is the one with Reginald Owen, released in 1938. It is charming, but remember, with the holidays coming, the best "Christmas Carol" movie is the one from 1951, starring Alistair Sim. It's often under the title "Scrooge."

Back to the actual topic of this column: The joy of tidbit meals. Having my parents here puts me in mind of it, because that's how they eat, and despite some health problems, they are in generally excellent shape for two people in their mid-80s. At each lunch time, they go through the fridge and pantry, looking for edibles to enjoy, or ones that need to be thrown away.

The result is a varied, delicious lunch and a tidy refrigerator and pantry. On any given day, Mom might cut up some crudités and put out some French onion dip (which is fabulous with raw veggies, and less caloric than you'd think), bread, cold cuts, condiments, reheated side dishes from the night before, pickles, good quality cheeses, soup and crackers. That's for lunch for two to four people.

You may be thinking that that sounds like a lot of work for lunch, not to mention fattening as all get out. But I find it is little trouble, and that we all eat lightly. With the many choices, we take small portions so there are fair shares for all. Plus, the food is always of high quality, and eating it greedily is a bit like eating money—you don't want it all gone too fast.

Taking the tidbit approach does require some spending, and my parents have always bought great food. Life is short, and if a great California blue cheese is $35 a pound, then they'll buy a quarter pound and eat it slowly. But when they lived in Pennsylvania, they had three acres and grew lots of fruits and vegetables, so they are willing to save money, too. The rule they have always lived by is that a pair of fresh, expensive farmer's market pears, for example, is a much better buy than a dozen cruddy ones shipped in from who knows where at a chain supermarket. (To be fair, they shop at chain supermarkets too.)

I know the buy-the-best-you-can-reasonably-afford approach is a good one, and as I've documented extensively here, I'm not a frugal gal (nor am I a spendthrift). But unless I'm with Mom and Dad, I don't remember to do the tidbit lunch. I should, though, and I urge you to give it a try. A varied diet is a healthier one. Plus, for those of us who struggle with weight, eating our biggest meal at lunch leaves us time to burn more calories well before bed.

Cleanup is easy because we just put out the containers the food came in. So the bread goes out in its plastic bag, the cheese in its parchment paper, the reheated leftovers in the storage dishes they were already in, the lunch meat in the deli bag, etc. In other words, the tidbit lunch isn't pretty, but it's wide ranging and satisfying, and when we're done, we return the containers to their places or put them in the dishwasher or throw them out.

I'll be seeing if this approach keeps me on my new weight reduction program (more about that in a later column). In the meantime, I'll be grazing at lunch and enjoying my company.

If you'd like to share your own home memories or tips (or recipes), send ideas to tkwolford@aol.com. Or you can write me via traditional mail at The Farmer's Exchange, P.O. Box 45, New Paris, IN 46553.

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