Pride is an important emotion whose significance is often overlooked. Of course, there is the bad kind of pride that can blind you, leaving you vain and rude. The kind of pride I like, however, is the pride a person feels in a job well done. Pride in a clean house. A nice dinner. A well-written brief. A completed marathon. You can be proud of little things and big things, both equally important to good self-esteem.
The other night I found myself reflecting and proud of my ability to give up certain pre-made foods in exchange for homemade varieties. I try to make as much as possible from scratch. I do this for fun, for taste, and for health reasons. There are three things I have completely stopped buying in grocery stores that I used to depend upon. For one, John and I haven't had salad dressing from a bottle in months, and we're eating a lot more salads as a direct result. Secondly, I used to eat soup from a can or carton all the time as a quick lunch, but after enough homemade soup I can't stand the "off" taste of premade soups. Lastly, I spent my entire three years in law school eating store-bought tomato sauce, but never again. It's not warm enough yet for fresh tomatoes, but with high-quality canned tomatoes I make my own sauce now in almost no time and with a lot better flavor. So I'm proud of my ability to give up pre-made salad dressing, soups, and tomato sauces. I still eat plenty of convenience foods, but in the meantime I'll celebrate the healthier fats in my salad dressings, the lower sodium in my tomato sauce, and the additional nutrients in my soups.
The other night John was away on business and I cooked some pasta from the farmers market, whipped up a pot of tomato sauce, and made good use of my Microplane zester on firm Parmesan cheese. This type of meal is my new no-effort type of meal, and I guess those bottles of salad dressing and canned soup will need to find their way to a donation bin sometime soon.
PS: Don't think we eat at home every night. When I'm not up for cooking we eat Chipotle or at the Google cafeteria. It's just that when I'm not up for cooking much, I still cook a lot more than I used to. PPS: Only John knows how big these bowls are and how disgustingly large a portion of pasta this was.