One of my favorite things to eat is Mexican Food. I have slowly tried to get my husband to feel this same love, but it has been a slow journey. We do, however, have special evenings on Wednesday nights at our house. We call it “Nacho, Nature, Nova Night”. We do not have cable television, so we choose to instead expand our knowledge through that of the PBS channel. On Wednesdays, PBS shows Nature and Nova – two educational and usually scientifically based shows. In order to compliment this knowledge-fest, we have nachos.
Since my husband’s family raises bison, that is the type of meat we typically eat. Bison meat is healthier than beef and our bison are grass-fed. I use ground bison for the meat portion of our nachos. I also make rice to either put on top or have as a side. Our local Hy-Vee store carries produce from local farmers, so I am able to select tomatoes and other vegetables that are grown close to home. We even have a hydroponic vegetable greenhouse located in Dakota City. If you are ever up in this area, I highly recommend touring their facility. We also use Crystal Farms cheese products which, although aren’t considered “local”, are located in Minnesota, so it’s still a Midwest company. We typically use Old Dutch tortilla chips, which is another Midwest company. Despite being in a rural Nebraska town, we are still able to find local products that support our nutritional values and meal choices.
As I am typically the one that cooks in our house, this was not a new meal or experience for me. What we as a family are trying to work on is using dinner time as a time for meaningful conversation. In the past, we always ate in front of the TV, but lately I have been putting food on the kitchen table so we can sit down away from technology instead. I have also noticed that my husband will come into the kitchen and talk to me while I’m cooking, so eating at the table allows our conversation to continue. Throughout this semester, I have discussed my classwork and readings with him. As a farmer, it is interesting to hear his perspective on some of the topics we have been learning more about through videos and text. He agrees that some of the farming practices of others can be detrimental to our environment, but for the most part, farmers are trying to cultivate their land in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. They want the land to be in good-shape just as much as anyone else in order to keep crops growing well, while also cutting down their own input costs.
I think sitting down to dinner at least a few times per week relates to the community aspect that we have been discussing so much in the past few months. It starts at home with families, and the more we can place high value each other’s company, the more we can learn from each other. My husband and I both have varying schedules, so dinner time is important for us to slow down and catch up with each other. As we grow our family, we want to show our children how important family is and that conversations are key to forming close relationships with each other.