House and Home

February 03,2009
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Growing up with just one brother, I often was aware of the eating prowess of a teenage boy. My brother is more than five years older than I am, so I have early memories of him eating...and eating...and eating. I would have one pop-tart package, he would have the rest of the box. He would plow through a pound of lunch meat, I'd have half a sandwich. While I was picking at my dinner plate like a bird, he was getting his third helping. My earliest memories of boys and how they eat was clear: Boys eat a lot; teenage boys eat a ton. I had temporarily forgotten how.much.boys.eat. when I had a flashback while grocery shopping recently. (Isn't it funny how you have moments in life where a small, incremental change suddenly hits you with its full weight at odd moments?) In the last five years we have departed from being two working adults who ate many of our meals at work or after work socially, out of the home. Before R and G were in our family, I venture to guess our grocery budget was less than a third of what it is now. I don't keep formal accounts of our grocery expenditures each month (I took accounting pass/fail in college and barely passed), but I was in Trader Joe's checking out the other day, when I realized our family eats a LOT of food. As the cashier and I struggled to find room for all the bags of food in my cart, I wondered how I would keep enough food in the home for all of us once R and G are both school age. I mean, if I feel like I am leaving the grocery store with half of the store's merchandise in my cart now, can you imagine what it will be like ten years from now? I do state all of this with a hint of pride though: First, my boys are thriving and healthy. They (usually) eat fairly well, and their appetites reflect their growing bodies. Second, we are fortunate enough to be able to keep up with their burgeoning appetites. Whenever I have a second of self-pity over the amount of food our family requires, I immediately become acutely grateful for the bounty we can provide for the boys. Third, the volume of food we now are eating allows us to benefit from the whole idea of buying in bulk. I am not a big Warehouse Club fan, but buying a three-pound bag of apples has its cost benefits and, to my amazement, they are all eaten within an incredibly short amount of time. While we aren't exactly being eaten out of house and home yet, it does feel like we are headed down that path at times. Thankfully, I think I have made my peace with the issue. After all, would I really want it any other way? SPC