Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More News from the Campaign Trenches

Birdy: "Instead of the whole big election, couldn't they just do eeny meeny miny moe?"

Meanwhile, while you're waiting--hopeful or panicking or some combination--why not make a big soothing panful of granola? The recipe is up here now.

Three bags of it have gone out to the comment-sweepstakes winners. I have a growing fear that I packed it while it was still warm and so what will arrive in the mail is a Ziploc full of soggy condensation, but surely you'll be too polite to say.

Also, I should mention, Ben turned 9. Nine years old. Which is halfway to eighteen, if you catch my drift. When I sighed aloud over this fact, Ben said, "Don't worry, Mama, I'm totally not going to college anyways." So phew.


  1. so catherine, my eli, is going to be 2 in january, which is only halfway to 4....and that is blowing my mind, so i cannot imagine how you feel. i cannot even imagine the progress that will be made over the next few years....the progress from, "eeewww! cow! mama! cow!" and, "big truck!! whoa! big truck, mama!" to talking about the
    (s)election and lying around working on projects together.
    can't wait to try the granola....sounds delish.
    happy birthday to ben!!!

  2. Anonymous10:07 AM

    If corn chex is considered naughty in your world than clearly I don't belong in this forum anymore. I have read all your work and was a devoted "Bringing up Ben and Birdy" and "Dalai Mama" follower. Over the years you have touched my heart and voiced my emotions and made me laugh, not just at your writing, but at myself. However, this new food column makes me feel awful about myself as a parent, instead of better - which of course used to be the joy of reading your column. I guess I should add "buy flax and wheat germ at the health food store and bake own granola" to the already ginormous list of duties and expectations we put on ourselves as parents... Of course in a perfect world, we would all feed our children as you do, but that is not always possible in reality.

  3. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Saddened by the previous anonymous commenter... I hear you : we eat all sorts of naughty aliments too ! And I consider myself lucky as I live with a working from home partner. We are all in different situations... Catherine's looking easy to do recipes are a source of inspiration for when I have the time to cook.

    Catherine, you made me laugh again : so Ben is totally not going to college? Wow. Hourra for this boy's determination and what a great consolation for the mama. LOL

  4. Wow, Anonymous sure is cranky today. You know, we each have our personal values and goals for ourselves as families, and I think it's ok to have "be the best parent I can" and "feed my children the best way I can" as two your goals, Catherine! My goodness.

    I just made granola for the first time last week, for our schools's Fall Festival bake sale, and it was so easy and so delish I made more for me this weekend. I haven't seen yours yet, but I'm willing to go to Disneyland to view it. Mine was borrowed from Deb at the Smitten Kitchen, and included almonds, walnuts, pepitas, sour cherries, dried pear, and dried fig...ok, I wish I had some right now.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing with us Catherine - you've brightened up many a day for years.

  5. Maybe when my 6 year old gets to be 9 like Ben, she'll work her way down to "I'm totally not going to college." Right now we are at the heartfelt, tearful (and too-late-bedtime) declarations of "I am going to live in this house FOREVER, right, Mom? Right?!? I am never, never, never going to leave here because I LOOOOOOVE YOU," boo hoo hoo. Sheesh, I should have put you to bed an hour ago :) I am dying to go make the granola! Thanks for the recipe! (And to Anonymous 7:07, we all choose how long we make our list of duties and expectations. I make mine too long and backbreaking some days, and that's my fault, not the fault of a random recipe. Cut yourself some slack on your list and have a happy day.)

  6. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Sometimes I just read food blogs for the writing (a truly great one is orangette.blogspot.com, btw) and I don't feel compelled to make a single recipe. It turns out that my husband and I really do make a lot of the things Catherine writes about (and we have pretty much OD'd on her baba ghanoush recipe in O Magazine), but even if we didn't I'd read it just for her writing! I don't think Catherine is in any way judgmental about how other people feed their kids; she is just honest about how she feeds her own. And some people's priorities are different. We don't own a TV and my kids will never go to Disney World, which seems shocking to some parents. Instead we might save the time and money to, I don't know, go to the food co-op and buy some flax and wheat germ. We are all parenting the best we can. If you feel bad about yourself as a parent, anonymous, it's really not Catherine's fault.

  7. I kind of get that comment, though. In my family we're doing quite well if the kids eat corn chex instead of Fruit Loops for breakfast! And I don't cook either, so the food column is kind of sad in a way. I think we just miss the old column, and the readers who are the most bitter about it are the ones who miss it the most :(

    By the way, I wanted to comment on the column, but sadly wasn't aloud (grrr). I wanted to tell the person who said "less talking about toilets in a food column...." to MYOB. "Plunge the toilet, plunge the sink!..." was the best laugh I had all day. Please don't stop putting in your humorous comments, Catherine. That's one of the things we love about you!

  8. He is not nine. No way!

    Happy Birthday, Ben!

  9. Anonymous1:24 PM

    I tried to leave this at Wondertime but couldn't. Someone asked (in the comments on the article about granola) for a granola bar recipe.

    Here is a link to a granola bar recipe at the King Arthur Flour baking blog, which I love. I have bought all the ingredients but not made them yet. Their stuff is usually good, though.

  10. Catherine, I never would have known you packed it warm -- my granola arrived yesterday in perfect condition. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to prepare and send it. You are as prompt a shipper as you are talented a cook. Yum!

  11. Ben doesn't want to go to a nice small liberal arts college?! My son, who is twelve, remarked the other day that he "might want to just go to Europe for a year before college" to live with his uncle in Paris! I'm not sure how my brother and his partner would feel about that...! Where do they get these ideas?!

  12. Hee hee, Isn't it nice to have Ben assure you he isn't going to college? My almost-five-year-old tells me that when he is old, old man he will still live with me. :)
    Love granola, can't wait to try this.

  13. Ha! That is VERY reassuring, Ben.

  14. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Hope Ben had a great birthday! Anonymous - don't feel bad - you could spend hours cooking like I do and have a child as fussy as my 3-year-old, who (unlike his sister) won't touch it if it's been near a fruit or vegetable, has a sauce on it, or is a chunk of unprocessed meat. Lately I've been baking grated zucchini into bread... he'll only eat it if it's got Nutella on it... I've reached the stage where I count the vitamin fortifications on the Cheerios and console myself that ketchup once had some relation to a tomato! But his doctor says he's just fine. And I bet your children are just as happy and healthy as mine!

  15. Happy Birthday to Ben. My little guy turns 7 next month and I can't believe it.

    I love your new food blog, everything always looks and sounds so yummy. Can't wait to try the granola.

  16. Anonymous, I feel you. I am not exactly know as a chef, if you know what I mean. I make shake n' bake and pasta. But, I read the articles because I love Catherine and want to support her. I sincerely think that Catherine would never try to act "better" than any of us. We are all unique. But, if you feel bad about youself because you don't buy flax seed and wheat germ, you shouldn't. I would say that most people don't buy that stuff. We buy pop tarts and regular ganola bas and Eggo's and stuff like that. But, I love Catherine's style and we still get a taste of he family in there, so I like it. Sorry it made you feel bad. I'm sure you're doing a geat job and as long as your kids are happy and healthy, who cares if you make your own ganola, right?

  17. Also, Catherine, Ben's consolation made me laugh out loud. He is so awesome!

  18. Thank you. You know, I was thinking of writing immediately back to you, anonymous, but I thought: I'm defensive, I'm heartbroken, I should wait and think. And I'm glad I did, because people have responded here with so much compassion for both of us that I am, as always, blown away. If you've been reading for a long time, then you know that I am actually a huge fan of Corn Chex, and have patented my own Chex Mix recipe, in addition to a Corn Chex nachos stroke of brilliance which I may be coaxed to post here. But I also happen to love to cook and eat--which is why I'm writing about that particular thing; also, I like to imagine that I can influence my children's health, because it helps me pretend that the world does not simply whirl away out of my control. I hate cleaning, however, and if I posted photographs of my baseboards or toilets, you would all feel dreadfully superior to me. We do pick our battles, don't we? I was hoping that my self-mocking tone was coming across better in the food columns, but I clearly need to work on it. Thank you for your patience.

  19. Anonymous12:08 PM

    You know, it got me thinking. Of course, many of us mothers wage a daily battle with insecurity. It's the reason we go to bed at night regretting this or that we said or did and wishing, oh how we lay wishing, we could just be more patient/present/healthy/etc. And one of the reasons we loved your column is that you so clearly recognize this struggle and we enjoy your sometimes self-deprecating humor because it somehow helps us forgive ourselves. I have no doubt your readers will continue to find this piece of you in your new column. But what I think is kind of nice about the new column is that you are now embracing the idea of sharing an area of yourself that you just plain feel good about--how you feed your family. We all need to do that. Find something about the way we parent that we don't beat ourselves up for when we are lying in bed at night and celebrate it. And it will be a little different for everybody. As sorry as I am to see the other column go, I am happy to see you taking this route. Don't worry about us. Just keep on being you. Cheers!
    --Cathy K.

  20. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Hi all... I was the one who wrote the original anomymous comment about feeling bad about myself after reading how wonderfully Catherine feeds her own family. Thank you all for responding. I never meant to blame Catherine for my own shortcomings, of course she is doing the right thing and she should be happy about that and celebrate it. In my heart I know I should be more mindful of how I feed my family and I happened to read the column after a day of failing miserably with sugar cereals, mini oreos and processed turkey kiolbasa (sp?) for dinner. Everyone is right, in the scheme of things it isn't a big deal and in the future I will use the column as inspiration to feed my family in a way I can feel proud. Thanks again for your comments

  21. Isn't it funny...anonymous was perhaps feeling self-conscious about not eating (or cooking with) foods like flax seed and wheat germ, and I often feel self-conscious when I do. I often cringe when I'm in public and give my daughter food that may be deemed too granola-y...like people automatically assume that means I don't like "traditional" snacks or can't understand why others would eat things that I may choose not to or an being judgemental about what they're eating.

  22. I can't believe MY baby is 11. *sigh* What's a mama to do??

  23. Anonymous12:57 AM

    I so completely get the control aspect of cooking healthy meals. In fact I may be a little too freaky about it. My mom put dinner on the table nearly every night when I was growing up, and it always had protein, a vegetable side dish, a starch and salad. She's a really tough act to follow, and I am only just beginning to realize that I don't have to follow suit. But I still can't bring myself to serve Ben cereal for dinner. (though I know he would not dispute it, might even love it!)
    Oddly enough, my blog has become more foodly oriented - is this an internet trend? She wonders.
    Oooo, word verification is "trazlers" : like "dazzling travelers."

  24. i just want to say let's all give Catherine a break here, what are we like old and can't accommodate any kind of change? Parenting column now family food column, see it's not that bad of a switch over. We still have Catherine's lovely wit, funny humor and now get to enjoy a lot more photos! I for one think it is great even if my husband and I will be the only ones eating our homemade granola and our two kids eat their Raisin Bran. One of these days they might add it to their yogurt but who knows? Families are as unique as snowflakes and we are all doing our very best. So anonymous and any other negatives, don't make any granola and be nice!!

  25. Oh I forgot to lend my support on Ben turning nine, I know right where you are, my son will be 9 in a couple months. Where did our babes go?

    As for my son's future plans, I'm not sure but he does like to tell most pregnant women including his young teacher a couple years ago that to have a baby, you MUST have a house and a job...so he has told me he is getting 2 jobs when he is an adult and will probably have to go to college for 6 years..where do they get this stuff?

  26. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Ha! My own son reminds me on a regular basis that 6 years old is almost ten years old, and I laugh but I also shudder a little bit. He also insists, almost tearfully like gacm's little one, that he refuses to leave home to go to college. His oldest cousin just started college, and he commutes from home, which for Henry is the ideal solution if one MUST go to university. Given that more than one of this kid's uncles still lived at home in their THIRTIES, I'm not thrilled about this seemingly-inherited trait of mooching off the parents into their golden years. I need some granola!

  27. I'm reading all these comments and being amazed, I mean totaly, completely flabergasted that any of us get past our children's 5th birthdays... Who knew parenting was so hard?... Its either food, or baseboards and toilets, or school, or friendships, or... or... or..

    These children are SO blessed to have thinking parents, even if we do risk committal by age 30..

    Happy birthday Ben, and happy Birth-day Catherine.

  28. OK Catherine,
    Love love ya do....
    In the strange world of granola land....
    You are answering a weird sensation I've had to make granola. I came across a recipe in Gourmet that got me interested ....and then your blog posting...so here's my question. Can or will they create a print button that will just print the recipe? I really don't want the whole website printed out....ads, headers and as much as I enjoy your writing I don't need it in my recipe book.
    Sorry to be a pest, I tried to post on the Disney site but alas....

  29. oh and i forgot to mention....
    for some reason I wasn't able to copy and paste from that page.

  30. Catherine and everyone,

    I have to share a conversation I had with my 5yo daughter last night. She's been very interested lately in how babies come out (no questions yet on how they get in!). Last night, she asked me, "Mama, how did I come out of you?" I told her, she looked at me for a moment, and then said, "Hmmm, was that - uncomfortable - for you?" It was all I could do not to crack up laughing (my actual response: Ummm, yeah, just a bit). Bless her heart....

  31. Anonymous10:14 PM

    The granola sounds good, but the whole discussion has really made me want some Chex mix! Problem - I'm in Canada, and I really don't think we have it here. I've googled for a while now, and the picture on general mills site doesn't look familiar, usually our family 'bits and bites' mixes are made with shreddies, and with enough salt it is pretty good, but not something I eat for breakfast otherwise. Has anyone from Canada out there found a good substitute? My first search was for the recipe on babycenter, and that was a time suck as I just wanted to read it all over again!

  32. laura in canada, you make me want to whip up a batch of the homemade chex mix and mail to you. Any ole' cereal will do, really. But, come on. No chex cereal? Really?

    It makes my heart (and by heart, I really mean stomach) ache. Email me at hanekja@jetbroadband.com and I'll mail you some in Novemeber. Seriously.

  33. Anonymous9:54 PM

    Hello fellow Canadian,
    I have tried substituting Crispix cereal for Chex. I can't really be sure it's a good alternative because I've never had Chex, but it's sort of the right shape!

  34. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Okay, so I'm totally not making granola - it's just not a big seller in my house. But, I am so much enjoying your food column. I love it. I loved all your other writing as well, but there is just so much joy and warmth in this new column.

    Cheers, and keep it up.


  35. Dear Catherine,
    really hard to imagine Ben is 9!! I started reading your column when he was not even three... Happy BD to Ben!!
    Love, love your writings, whatever the topics are!
    I also understand how some moms might feel just a little inferior knowing how amazing you are as a parent. You remind me of a good friend, who dose not have TV at home (i wish i didn't need to use TV to babysit at times), who is very crafty, and very involved in her kids' social life (playdates, excursions..). As my screen name reveals I am very insecure as a parent- feeling like an impostor of a mom in bad mommy days. That is exactly why I love your book and blogs so much. you are honest, and you inspire me to try harder while accepting my limitations.
    I printed out your granola recipe and cannot wait to try it soon!
    please keep them coming...
    amateur mom

  36. My oldest turned 16 in September, so all of you with boys who are littler think ahead and VOTE on Tuesday. Can't begin to tell you how much more important an election feels when your child will be registering with selective service in two short years.

    Now I feel ill.

    On a MUCH lighter note- when I think of your columns Catherine- all of them, past and present- I think they are about all of us moms being a little kinder to and more forgiving of ourselves. I was glad to see the original anonymous poster took everyone's comments in the spirit in which they were intended. We all have our days when we look back and think "I can't believe I" insert SAID that, DID that, FED MY CHILD that. So tomorrow we try again.

  37. Hello from the other side of the world! I, like most of you, have followed Catherine’s blogs for years & so many times have taken comfort from the fact that we, as mothers, aren’t perfect, every day is a lesson in patience. It is so nice to know I am not alone! To be honest, I, like Anonymous, was a little disappointed that the traditional blogs were being replaced by food blogs, but I am enjoying Catherine's new pieces. After reflecting (and thinking back to one of Catherine’s blogs where she said that now she has more time for doing things she loves), I think that with little ones you often go through times of madness and busy-ness (e.g. the first 6 months, where you don’t have time to do much at all except rock and feed the baby.) I find that slowly as they become more independent you find more time to do the things you loved before, like reading, or sewing. I take comfort from the fact that Catherine has moved onto a food blog – for me it shows that her life has reached a place where she has a bit more time to devote to the things she loves (or maybe she was always a domestic goddess?) In our house we try to make time for good food but generally its amidst chaos, with our energetic 2 and 5 year old boys pitching in. Half of me looks forward to having more time for the things I love but half of me already misses my little ones and the chaos.

  38. Anonymous10:10 AM

    I just want to say that I enjoy the new food column but still miss the old one. As other people have said...it uplifted my spirits on tough days as well. And when you went to bed after a tough day you could say that you were not alone and tomorrow you would try again and hopefully get a couple more things correct.

    on a different note...I've already early voted and it is so nice to not have to worry about the weather or the long lines on election day!
    Shari in NC

  39. Added to my Facebook (my new addiction)! Loved the animated "Barbie Christmas Carol" ad next to your post - a nice complement to the Corn Chex struggle.

  40. all I have to say is: WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  41. Whether I even try the recipes isn't the point; I love reading your writing and seeing the photos and imagining how good something might taste if I ever get around to finding out how to say flax seed in Italian. (Ok, I just looked it up, so one less excuse for not trying the granola.)
    The tofu is right up my alley! 4 ingredients, and I have 3 of them already! Plus my husband loves tofu, raw or in any form. I'm the one who is sort of eh about it. But this looks too easy and yummy not to try.

  42. Too funny! I know this was from, like, weeks ago . . . but I've been busy :)

    So on election day, we had our own election -- for dinner. Only, instead of being a cool election-night dinner, it was for post-election night (we had a half a pan of leftover enchiladas that needed to be eaten!)

    So we all put our super-secret ballots into the big jar, and 8yo says, "Right. So now we pick one out of the jar, and that's the winner." LOL It conjures up images of a vat the size of the grand canyon, with allllll our ballots in them. Mix them carefully and draw a new president!

    We set the kid straight :)

  43. It's been a while since I visited your blog. I think it's because, um, life keeps me from reading as much? I don't know, but I'm glad to be back.

    Oh, and as for anonymous' comment (I didn't read them all, so I'm sure others had their say), I'd just like to offer a tip: flax seed DOES help chase away the crankies. Especially when you mix it with chocolate and lard like I do at my house.

    Love your writing, Catherine. Always have, always will.

  44. I haven't read Ben and Birdy since Ben was 5 and now he's 9 and I feel like I've missed half his life... and my son is almost 5 and in dance class and I think, "I wonder if he will be as graceful as Ben?" Strange how we can have one-sided human relationships across time and cyberspace!!
    I missed your writing!