A Bone To Pick (book review) & Meal Plan – July 13, 2015

ham melt spaghetti collage

Last week, I had grand plans to add to my freezer several homemade breakfast meals.  I got as far as the cranberry muffins.  At first I felt like failure.  Then I realized that this is not about who does the most of everything each week.  It is about providing for my family, giving them good foods to eat.

Sure, I may not have gotten the handful of recipes made then, it does not mean I can not do it this week or the one after.  I have the plan, so I will take it as it comes.  And this morning we will be having some of those frozen muffins for breakfast, and I will be happy to use them.

This weekend has been a very emotional one for me.  Lots of memories and processing feeling, a lot of self-doubt going through my head.  When I feel this way, it carries over to the kids, by the mood in the house and how I deal with some of their behaviors.  This then sets them back a few steps and makes life even more difficult.  I try not to get into these moods and usually I can avoid it.

On Saturday we challenged them with a long drive, a get together with a lot of new (to them) people in a new place, then a long drive home.  Most of the day went surprisingly well.  By the end, however, we were all overly tired and ready for bed.  Not my best parenting time. By the time Sunday came around, we were all ready for some calmer times.  We changed up our routine and ate lunch at home, some comfort food (not at a restaurant) was in order.  Spaghetti it was and all bellies were happy.  This is also why we had waffles for supper, rather than our standard leftovers.  Our souls needed some good times to lift our spirits just a bit more before going off to Dreamland.

Food has been on my mind for the past several weeks.  Reading through A Bone To Pick by Mark Bittman will do that to you.  While I was aware of some of the issues surrounding food and farms, I had not spent a lot of time researching and looking into various topics.

Over the course of several years, Mark Bittman had an op-ed column in the New York Times and did just that.  He took a closer look at foods, where they come from, what really is behind all the research, then relayed it to his readers each week.  A Bone To Pick is a compilation of many of these columns.  6 sections containing 65 various columns, arranged by topic, cover such things as What’s Wrong With Meat and The Truth About Diets.

If you do not think much about your food already, after reading a few pages you will begin to be more aware of exactly what it is you are putting into your body.  This may not lead you to making any changes, but at least you will be making a conscious decision rather than blindly assuming that food is food and a diet is a diet.

I began reading the book, not quite sure what it was going to contain or where it would lead me.  The first chapter started out talking about Big Ag, Sustainability, and What’s In Between.  I was pretty sure this was going to set the stage for “all big farms are bad and we should all eat only organic, locally grown foods all the time, no matter what.”  What I found was a bit more toward the middle on this, though leaning away from traditional agriculture.  In the end, I could not really disagree with anything written.  Most of the issue with Big Ag had to do with how the environment and animals were treated or with how the resources were allocated, not with the nutritional value of the crop produced.

As Bittman worked his way through topics, he did not continue on the path I thought he would.  I was fully ready to be told that all meat was bad, we should only eat a plant based diet. What I found instead was something more balanced, less ‘this is THE way’ and more along ‘you can’t go wrong with this’.

The non-judgmental attitude taken, while giving tips and pointers to a better way of eating was something I appreciated.  This made it a lot easier to keep reading, even when things started to feel repetitive or slow.  When combining weekly columns into a book, this is bound to happen.  While a reader might not see this when the columns are a month or more apart, when they are only pages apart, it become more apparent.

By the end of A Bone To Pick, I had come to understand a bit more about how the food chain works.  As well as some ways that it can either help or hurt us.  It is really up to us to find a healthy way to eat; it is not impossible but does take some actual thinking.  A good summary would be, “Eat Real Food”.  If nothing else changes, aiming to have real food go into your body will be a great accomplishment and take you a long way towards better health.

A Bone To Pick was an interesting read, in that it opened my eyes to where some of my food comes from and got me thinking about what I am really feeding my family.  It is a bit slow and hard to sit down and read all at one time, but is something I am glad to have made my way through.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013

With the idea that homemade is better than processed, here is my menu for the week.  It is not all made from scratch, but we do eat out less than we have in the past.  I find having a plan is a big step towards avoiding the restaurant habit.  It is so easy to say, “I don’t know what we are having. Let’s order out or stop by and pick something up.”  If I was honest with myself, even a sandwich at home came be made quicker, healthier and more delicious than one at a restaurant.  It also does not take as long, once you figure in the time to drive there, order, eat and leave.  Add in kids and it is often much faster to just make a sandwich, omelet, or soup at home.



  1. Shakes
  2. Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins
  3. Cereal
  4. Bacon Egg Strata
  5. Shake
  6. Cream of Wheat
  7. Traveling


  1. Spaghetti with meat sauce
  2. Kheema (ground beef with peas), rice, beets
  3. Meatloaf
  4. Sandwiches, chips, apple sauce
  5. Pizza
  6. Leftovers
  7. Traveling


  1. Homemade waffles (from the freezer), scrambled eggs, fruit
  2. Lentils with Bulgar Wheat and Caramelized Onions
  3. Salad
  4. Homemade Tomato Soup
  5. Leftovers
  6. Traveling
  7. Traveling

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

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