Homogenized Shomogenized?

“HEY, YOU GUYS!” I shout Rita Moreno style above the clanking bottles at the bottom of my sagging grocery bag. “Chocolate milk from Twin Brook Creamery!”

The quaint glass pints with the image of Bessy reminded me of a simpler time when friendly milk men delivered wholesome milk that kids gulped straight from the quart.

A time before a host of funky chemicals necessitated scouring labels for words like GMO’s, Rbst, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin and search for assurances from purveyors like Twin Brook Creamery that their cows were happy, healthy and roaming free.

Twin Brook Creamery is a local, dairy farm that offers chocolate, regular white milk and cream — it’s available at limited locations that aren’t convenient for me to visit with my four kids on a regular basis. So when I do I stock up.

The kids herd into the kitchen and it isn’t long before rich chocolate milk clings to their upper lips like outlaw moo-staches from a spaghetti western.

“Mom, how come you never buy the white milk?” My eldest daughter Sophie asked.

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Chewing the Fat With Chef Tom Douglas

The kids and I chop the potent onion and garlic we picked up at the local Farmer’s Market.

There is definitely a difference between mass produced and local produce — like wild from tame. The cilantro was jalapeno green, wet and damply alive like flora in a rainforest.

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The fresh garlic looks prehistoric and nothing like its plastic jugged cousins of pre-peeled bulbs available at Costco. The husk surrounding the garlic cloves has a purple hue with little bits of dirt still clinging to the tendrils.

I watch my daughter, Sophie strip the seeds from her pile of poblano chiles. She’s 10 years old and a budding culinary master.

Today we were on another culinary adventure or what we like to call our “food experiments” – -in homage to Albert Einstein’s famed “thought experiments” of which E=MC2 was the result.

The E=MC2 of today’s “food experiment” is Chef Tom Douglas Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with grilled chicken skewers.

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Kids and Native American Art

“Mommy, I’m hungr—“ Patrick’s cry for ice cream was cut short by the slow, steady drum beat. Seagulls circle around Pier 57 in downtown Seattle.

Patrick scoots down on his knees transfixed. I watch my 4-year-old boy squirm his body toward the steel barrier trying to get his neck between the bars for a closer view of a Native American man in ceremonial dress.

A native vocal undulates like a bird taking flight and my head starts nodding in time with the slow, even drum beat.

“Mommy, I want to climb up on your neck so I can see better!” 7-year-old Amelia paws at my clothes.

A half-man, half bird rattles the head of a raven high in his right hand. His back is adorned with a fan of feathers and two raven feet. A red weasel pelt dangles down his soft honey colored leather pants. As he dances he brandishes a wing of feathers that he waves toward the crowd and up to the sky. The overall effect is mesmerizing and the crowd stands at attention.

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Mr. Rogers and Top Pot Doughnuts

“So let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since we’re together, we might as well say — “ I pause for effect as we cruise past the Seattle Space Needle.

“Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Baby Ty giggled at my crooning rendition of the Mr. Roger’s theme song. Four-year-old Patrick shouted for an encore with a fist bump.

Seven-year-old Amelia peered out the rear window as the Seattle Monorail shuttled past on tracks above our Routan.

“When I was a kid I’d watch Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” I stop, trying out how to explain Mr. Rogers to kids who weren’t alive during his thoughtful reign on PBS.

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My 4-Year-Old Wanted to Learn How to Cook, But I Was a Stranger to the Kitchen

Growing up I got the sense that the kitchen was the last place my mom wanted to be, or imagined her daughters to end up.

We were called “latch-key” kids in the eighties when “women who worked were having children and didn’t want to be stay-at-home mothers.” Or at least that’s what I read on the internet.

Back then the kitchen wasn’t perceived as a place of power but a trough of toil. And processed, convenience foods like Birds Eye, Lunchables, and Cool Ranch Doritos were the nouveau riche.

Scrappy kids like me cruised the neighborhood unsupervised and in packs wearing our splotchy Jams and checkerboard Vans to the local arcade for Ms. Pacman—our bliss.

When I became a mother at the age of twenty-nine I had never learned how to cook. During my college years I worked in restaurants and was fed by them. And by the time I was a young professional I ate a lot of cereal. Even after I got married, my husband (also a latch key kid and generation X’er) didn’t know how to cook and didn’t expect me to either.

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