Food to Feed a Family of 20

67D9121F-DDCC-4A4C-8A6D-4395BF43BC4D.jpgHave you seen TLC's new "Family Night" show, 17 Kids and Counting?

I tried not to watch after catching an episode following Jon & Kate Plus 8 some Mondays ago, but the craziness has sucked me in. I don't necessarily seek the show out, but if it's on, I can't help but watch.

What makes this family so nutty? You may have guessed the chief reason: 17 kids, with more on the way! Come 2009, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar will have a brood of 19, if you count their new daughter-in-law and the baby on the way. [Edit: Just born a few days ago; there's a special about it on tonight.]

Assuming you aren't familiar with the show and are now wondering how that happened, suffice it to say this is a strongly religious and conservative family. They homeschool; the girls wear long skirts; everyone wears extra-modest swimsuits; they don't kiss before marriage; and they watch little television (ironic, no?).

Much as their insistence that humans and dinosaurs co-existed makes a more progressive-minded person such as myself cringe, the open-minded way TLC produces the show and the humor and enthusiasm exhibited by the family members manages the seemingly impossible and makes this left-field clan relatable.

Watch the show sometime, and you're bound to notice how trim and healthy everyone in the Duggar family is. It's not necessarily good genes: Episodes featuring aunts, uncles, and cousins show the extended family comes in a variety of sizes. That tells me that people within the household must be instilling a message of exercise and healthy eating as well as praying and Bible reading.

The Duggars have posted a collection of their favorite recipes on their family web site (the address flashes onscreen during the opening credits for the show). Scroll past the directions for homemade cleaners to find the food.

The recipes feature ground turkey and turkey bacon rather than beef and pork. The pancakes feature whole-grain oats, and most of the dishes include vegetables or beans (cheap and healthy, remember?). There's definitely an emphasis on simple, homemade foods that can feed a score of people daily without overly straining the budget (less than $2,000 a month) or chaining the girls (yes, the girls) to the kitchen.

The downside is that the recipes feature a lot of traditional convenience ingredients (canned soup, Velveeta, Cool Whip), plus the mysterious Liquid Amino (basically a sauce that contains a variation on MSG). Still, with a family that size, you can't blame them not wanting to make everything from scratch.

There's a marathon of 17 Kids and Counting on TLC on Christmas Eve. Anyone up for some Tater Tot Casserole?


1 comment:

  1. Haven't seen the show, but have heard about it.

    Checked out the recipes. You can easily substitute soy sauce or tamari for Dr. Braggs Amino Liquid. We usually have all three in our house, but if we run out, we sub one for the other without blinking an eye.

    Thanks for the fascinating post.