This fantastic essay was written by my youngest brother, Jordan. I wish every parent in America could read this. (And have Janna as their mother!)
Candy is probably bad. I have been slow to take it from the kids though. When I met Janna, her kids had never had sugared cereal and her house didn't have a manufactured, processed food it in. I sort of corrupted her and brought home smack ramen, captain crunch and frozen pizza. A lot of it. She told me her opinion and then just left it alone, since she is constitutionally unable to nag. But over time I have been convinced. Lucy and Anna grew more and more picky. Every meal was a fight. They wanted hot dogs or ramen and refused all fruit and vegetables. They are junkies, spending each waking moment scheming for sweets. They get more excited about the prospect for cake than for going to the pool, seeing their parents or camping. And, I am ashamed to admit, that due to their effective prodding, they had the cake, or its equivalent almost every day. And then I snapped. I said no more. Janna was waiting and we sprung into action.
The farewell painful event: Anna found a quarter on our way into a Chinese restaurant. She asked to use it in the little turn candy machine run by the local retarded kids. I said sure and Janna looked at me funny. Lucy screamed about being left out. I forced Anna to share. She screamed. For various reason involving the candy Imogen started screaming, Lucy kept it up and Anna refused to be outdone. It lasted about an hour because we were in the car, which is quite conducive to screaming. So I acquiesced and since that day 6 weeks ago their have been no sweets except that we make them at home. I've finally learned; candy does not make kids happy.
Janna and I have been trying really hard to feed the kids good food. If possible, that means local food above all else. Organic is important, I guess, but it is unproven if the added expense does anything. So I am indifferent to organic. Local make sense. Why buy "organic" milk from a coporate farm in California from cows bred in Argentina that used 3 barrels of oil to be shipped all around the world? We know the people who produce our milk, our vegetables, our fruits and our meats. It's made right where we live and it's delicious. And it turns out, it's almost always organic.
As a bonus, the food we've been eating, prepared by Chef Janna, is really incredible and the kids have begun to down it too. Janna knows food. At first, they went to bed hungry. We served the meal of the night (vegetable pot pie, fried cabbage and grilled corn cobs.) and that was that. No prodding.
"Do I have to finish my dinner?"
And after 2 or 3 days, they got hungry. They started eating what was served and since their only choices where healthy ones, they are filled up with healthy food. Janna has made it possible. All the beef we eat is from her friend's little cow who was slaughtered because he kept sneaking milk from his milk-cow mother. Everything is fresh, local. She's canned peaches, nectarines, tomatoes and preserves for the winter. She's bartered to buy half a pig from polyface farm, in our freezer now. The grocery store is for sugar and flour, used to make the occasional cookies and homemade ice cream made with strawberries picked from a friend's organic local farm. If the kids want a snack, they get a peach picked on Graves Mountain last Saturday.
I have been converted.