A long time ago, I heard the saying ‘the work of the home is love made visible.’ I don’t know who originally said it, but that message touched me.
I grew up in a farmhouse as one of 9 kids. My parents worked hard night and day to make sure we all had food to eat, clothes to wear and books to read. We were far from rich, but we were happy and healthy. Some of my fondest memories are of my mother cooking dinner, using ingredients from our garden and livestock. She took pride in crafting filling meals that fed all of us, leaving us to want for nothing.
When my own boys were young, I made a point to prepare dinner at home as often as possible, even if it was just Hamburger Helper and some vegetables or fruit. Not only was it a great way to ensure that they were getting enough nutritious food, but it also gave us a chance to spend quality time together as a family.
One measure going through the House this session I had a hand in crafting is a portion of House Bill (HB) 1351 which requires the Family and Social Service Administration to request a waiver from the federal government that would allow Indiana to make Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits used only for nutritious food and beverages.
Many studies have shown that the common perception is that low-income families who have less to spend on food have one option: cheap, fast convenience food –frozen meals with little nutritious value, inexpensive takeout or junk food full of empty calories.
I want you to know that is not the case. As the owner of a restaurant, I can tell you the price of fresh produce, raw meat and basic ingredients. If you are willing to put a little time and research into planning and preparing your meals, you can actually eat healthier for less.
My goal in advocating for these new SNAP guidelines is to teach families who are using these benefits that they truly can provide nutrient-rich, satisfying meal options to their children. To further emphasize my firm belief that these changes will help Hoosiers using SNAP to live healthier lives, I offer my knowledge of cooking to anyone who would like to learn from me. I am more than willing to teach you anything I can about the process of planning and cooking a healthy meal. I’m known for my fried chicken, but that is not all I bring to the kitchen. If you’re interested in taking me up on my offer, please call my office at 317-232-9850 and set up a time for us to get together.
My mother’s favorite time of the day was after all of us had gone to bed. She loved cleaning up the kitchen, knowing that her family was safely tucked away, full and happy. She perfectly illustrated my favorite saying, ‘the work of a home is love made visible.’ Her willingness to put everyone else first showed us how much she loved us. Her hard work and selflessness made me a better person, and I strive to live by those principles every day.
Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.