by: Rebecca Taylor

“All the news ever talks about is fat free this and organic that,” complained Monica Moulton to her friends. It was Friday night and they were having their monthly get together, this time at Simone Vien’s house.

“I know, sometimes you just don’t know what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Researchers are always changing their minds, one day you should be drinking milk and then a few days later there is something bad for you in it,” replied Carmen Philips.

“Funny that we’re talking about this now, at our monthly pig out,” teased Simone.

“I think we can all agree that chips, pretzels, and fudge brownies are not something you should be having every day, but once in a while isn’t going to kill you,” retorted Carmen.

“All that talk about putting the nutrition content on the menu and the calorie count, who wants that? If I go out for a meal at a restaurant once in a while, I’m going to choose something that I want to eat, not the item with the lowest amount of calories in it,” said Simone.

“I can make an edible spinach salad at home but I’m no good with those fancy pasta dishes. Macaroni and cheese is about as fancy as I get,” said Monica.

“Well you’re a single mom working two jobs, it isn’t like you have the time to cook, and I’ve had supper at your place before, you manage the four food groups,” replied Carmen taking a handful of pretzels from the bowl on the coffee table.

“Yeah, bagged salad and pizza,” retorted Monica laughing, “some cook I am.”

“Pizza has all four food groups, you probably wouldn’t want to eat it every night, but it’ll do.”

“I hate packing lunches for my kids and I’m home all day and have the time to cook,” said Carmen. “I never know what to make and so many things contain traces of peanuts which aren’t allowed because of the possible food allergies. I’m so glad some companies are starting to put the peanut free symbol on their boxes, it makes shopping so much faster.”

“These get togethers are great because it gives us all a chance to relax and have fun once a month but what we should be doing is getting together and making meals that we can freeze, then our lives would all be so much less stressful,” said Simone.

“It would make things faster wouldn’t it but how much would we cook?”

“We could make enough to last a few weeks, and some nights we could throw things together like we are now,” said Monica.

“Some of those cooking shows say meal planning is the way to go,” answered Carmen pouring herself another glass of wine.

“I don’t know how much more planning I want to do in my life, I seem to be living from my agenda with coordinating all my work shifts, babysitters, soccer practices and piano lessons, to have to plan meals on top of it all,” replied Monica sighing.

“We could get our kids involved and maybe Carmen and I could get our husbands involved too. We could all get together and make the plans and then us ladies could go grocery shopping and then we could cook together and on the nights we aren’t using our meals maybe the kids and husbands could help out.”

“It’s worth a try. It’ll help us all have healthier lifestyles and then maybe the kids will be able to apply it throughout their lives and it won’t be so hard for them when they’re our ages,” answered Carmen.

“We can’t cut out all the foods that are supposedly not good for us because eating should be fun, not all calorie counted, measured portions,” replied Monica between bites of her brownie.

“We can do this, none of us will give up our favourite foods, and I don’t think any of us are going to go overboard and become tofu eating vegans,” replied Simone her blue eyes twinkling.

“To each their own,” teased Monica, “I guess the tofu eaters are entitled to their own opinions.”

“Like my little Charlie’s love for peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I understand peanut butter and jelly, the thought of PB & mayo isn’t appetizing to me but if he’ll eat it,” laughed Simone.

“Hopefully we can find a way to get my two to stop being such picky eaters. With the little bit of time I have to cook and the fact that they hate any kind of vegetable that isn’t a French fry,” answered Monica.

“We’ll hide the veggies, don’t you worry, and as long as you bake the French fries they’re vegetables,” answered Carmen.

“We can do this, we’ll get it all figured out and we’ll all be eating the things we like in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of junk food occasionally.”

Monica, Simone, and Carmen got themselves organized, they got together more often and planned and cooked together. They got their families involved and learned how to make some fun new dishes like a grilled veggie and pasta dish, rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves cooked in a tomato sauce and a quick and easy stew recipe. They learned how to manage their time, their menus, and their lifestyles while still enjoying their favourite foods. The three friends still got together once a month to pig out and have fun together, sometimes they just talked or watched a movie but more and more they were sharing new recipes, ideas and takes on cooking. They learned how to cook and have fun all in moderation.

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