To not eat or not sleep . . . that is the question

ElizabethRachelsDaughterRecently, my daughter, Elizabeth (above), and I had a fun, and slightly ridiculous, conversation in the minivan.

“Mom, I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have to sleep. We could do twice as many fun things in a week and still get work done. Wouldn’t that be great?”

“People would probably end up working lots more instead of relaxing and doing fun things,” I commented, reminding her once again that her mom is cynical.

“Probably some people would, but others would take advantage of eight more hours in a day—almost 60 hours in a week! Plus, no more being woken up. Or that groggy feeling when you first wake up.”

“What I sometimes wish is that we didn’t have to eat. Think of all the time you’d save—no cooking, no clean-up, and no grocery shopping.”

AugSeptOct2013 166Elizabeth looked skeptical.

I continued, “Of course, our bodies would have to be rewired so we could still get energy. Just breathe it in or something.”

Elizabeth laughed. “But, Mom, wouldn’t you miss eating your favorite foods. And when would we all be together if we didn’t eat meals together sometimes? Besides, sleeping is a solitary thing. What’s there to miss if you didn’t sleep?”

“Dreams for one thing.”

And so the conversation continued—no sleeping versus no eating.RoseStutzman

For people who love to cook or love to eat, not eating wouldn’t be appealing at all. I’m one of those persons who loves to bake but doesn’t like to cook meals. I’d much rather bake bread than a casserole. My daughter is the one in our family who loves to cook. Luckily for both of us—me, the reluctant cook, and her, the beginning cook—we have two cookbooks on my shelf of cookbooks. I am now on my second copy of Mennonite Country-Style Recipes and Kitchen Secrets by Esther H. Shank and the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. And those copies are looking “well-loved” with stained pages and missing back covers. I mostly go to these two cookbooks when I am hunting up meal ideas or am in the mood to bake. They are also the ones I suggest to my daughter to look in.

MWL photoEstherShankCookbookI like the way Shank set up her recipes so that the ingredients are above the instructions for just those ingredients. I’m less likely to put an ingredient in at the wrong time that way. I frequently visit the microwave cooking and quick-fix sections when everyone is hungry now. One that I’ve used with family and friends many times is the soft pretzel recipe (page 235). People not only eat them, they often help shape the pretzels into all sorts of shapes. From young children to youth groups to adult friends, it’s a fun activity to do together.

More-with-Less is a great place to find healthy recipes that taste good. I no longer buy Bisquik because I make the Master Baking Mix (page 68) which tastes better and is just as versatile. While there is a pancake recipe using the Master Mix, I tried the pancake mix on page 73 and prefer that to any other. (Restaurant pancakes pale in comparison.) My favorite recipe is the Easy French Bread (page 63). I have been making this French bread since I was ten years old and discovered that I liked to knead. If we didn’t have to eat, I would have never discovered that or the fact that bread fresh out of the oven is incredibly delicious.

In the end, my daughter and I agreed that it was a good thing that God was in charge and had figured out that both sleeping and eating were essential for our lives. The alternative just wouldn’t work as well or be as enjoyable.

How about you, would you rather eat, or sleep?


Have you ever had a conversation with your child that seemed silly or maybe cyclical like this one, but where you learned something in the end?

Rachel Nussbaum Eby
Managing editor of Shine, new faith formation children’s curriculum coming this Spring from MennoMedia (with full roll out this fall!)