Home-cooked challenge: A week without junk food

The New York Times | Posted on

Last Friday, I declared the Home-Cooked Challenge: A Week without Processed Foods. After the first weekend, I defined my goal: a return to better-planned meals after a season of over-reliance on pizza and pasta, and going cold turkey on the packaged snacks, chips and cookies that had oh-so-gradually taken over our pantry.

Completely doing without those too-easy options would, I reasoned, draw our attention to what we ate when, and why. We could still snack. We’d just have to think about it. (More on the return to better dinner planning in a later post.)

When I started the week, I thought I’d have to prepare things to replace those easy snack options. I had a few plans: roasted salted chick peas. Bar cookies. Granola bars. I even bought “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch,” thinking it might be fun to make our own Cheetos.

But very little of all that Suzy Homemade snack perfection actually happened. For one thing, I have a job, albeit an incredibly flexible one that I love. Arguably, making those snacks could be said to be part of that job (this job) this week, but the other demands it makes on my time didn’t let up to make room for the snack-making, and then there was all that life that kept getting in the way: the morning I spent helping return a neighbor’s horses when they appeared in our pasture, refereeing the question of whether ten dollars is an unconscionable fee to charge your sister before playing a game with her, trying to figure out how to get the cat pee our of our comforter.

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