Cooking with Care

You may have heard about how food tastes better when it’s made with the intangible ingredients of care and love. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past couple of weeks, while my church has acted as hosts for Greater Portland Family Promise. Being a host congregation involves a lot of activities, including spending the night at church and hanging out with the families, but many of them revolve around food: preparing meals, sharing dinner with the guest families, putting out breakfast foods, and helping get lunches together. It makes sense – food is, after all, a basic staple of life. I volunteered for a couple of sleepovers, but given my food focus, it was inevitable that I also si

Multiple Stomachs

My dad often likes to say that he has a separate stomach for dessert. Perhaps you’ve experienced this, too, or know someone else who does. But before last weekend, I never thought about the fact that, logically, if you have a dessert stomach, you must have a non-dessert stomach as well. This came up at a camping trip with a friend and her twin five-year-old boys. On Sunday morning, we had a big breakfast: sausage, pancakes (with raspberries picked by the boys), blueberries, and hot chocolate. I had brought two packages of sausages, but I only cooked one to start before moving on to pancakes. After a few good-sized pancakes, the boys said they were full. That left the question of whether or n

Do We Need Dessert?

Note: For more information about the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program, visit, or my website. Last week’s episode of Chopped featured four women who were pastry chefs. One of them, Chef Tracy, commented that pastry chefs often aren’t taken seriously because people “don’t need dessert” in their lives. She did clarify that even if it’s not needed, dessert brings “joy and happiness.” Which makes for an interesting question. Do we need dessert? Or to put it another way, do we need joy and happiness? I recognize that dessert does not necessarily bring happiness to everyone. It can be a source of angst at times, and despair, for those who feel out of control around sweet foods.

What I Take For Granted

It is so easy to take things for granted, to forget that what we have in our lives is not a given. Until something reminds us. For me, that happened on a recent weekend when I attended a training at my church for an organization called Family Promise. Their goal is to help homeless families get back on their feet, and they do this by working with churches who volunteer to host families for a week at a time. As part of the training, we went through a budget exercise. We were given a roll of Smarties, which usually contain 15 candies, and we had to decide how to spend our candy money across 8 categories. Each category a low (1 candy), medium (2 candies), and high (3 candies) price options – bu

Bill Nye and Fad Diets

What’s a calorie? Do fad diets work? What (if anything) is so great about the Paleo Diet? These are some of the questions Bill Nye looked at in Bill Nye Saves the World in the episode “This Diet is Bananas.” For those not familiar with the show, it’s a new Netflix series where Bill Nye looks at “scientific issues that touch our lives,” everything from vaccines to GMOs to artificial intelligence to the sexual spectrum to fad diets. With the help of panel experts, surveys, guests, and research, he tries to provide some clarity and new perspectives. I knew much of the information in “This Diet is Bananas,” but not all of it, and some of it was very nicely expressed. I liked how Nye started the

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