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Cooking All Things Homemade Is So Very Soul ‘Slow Food’

August 13, 2008

Some simple commentary by little ‘ol me about Slow Food and Home Cooking.

I was watching Oprah the other day, yes the Chef Maven watches Oprah, not all the time mind you, but sometimes – but that is not the point! This particular show had Dr. Oz (which btw I cannot stand that he wears his scrubs on the show – I wish he would wear normal clothes – anyhoooo, I digress), in which Dr. Oz tested the audience on their health and the aging process. Most people scored quite poorly, meaning they were aging faster than their actual years. Yikes!

One lucky women had received an ‘exceptional’ score on her speed or slow rate of aging. When asked for her secrets, answers were that she exercised nearly every day and the point I want to make here, she mentioned that she ‘made almost everything she ate, along with eating a good amount of fresh vegetables and fruits’.

This particular thought struck me, not only in awe, since so many of us can easily make reservations or order take out in some form or another; but what would it take to really make everything you eat by hand? I pondered several answers and looked to what I was already doing and how I could improve my efforts.

When I first heard about ‘slow food’ (more about that later) I learned I was already practicing good ‘slow food’ habits – who knew!? And if it was helping this particular women on Oprah to age slowly, and slower in fact than her actual years, well I decided that I have got to make sure I am on this band wagon and ensure I was eating mostly foods that I made at home.

Now I might be luckier than most in that, I know likes to think I know my way around the kitchen – ok I really like to think I do, but my boyfriend and I had recently decided to watch our budget very carefully. We discussed we shouldn’t go out to eat but twice a month, if that, in order to save more money. We already knew that almost always the food was better at home than in any restaurant. What was stopping us? Our Laziness? How was this hurting us in terms of our health?

Who knew that by not going out to eat would turn into a green ‘slow food’ good habit? One fact is this, eating home prepared food from scratch not only ensures you know what ingredients go into every meal or bite of food, you can make sure the ingredients are at their freshest and most importantly, making food at home is always cheaper and far more affordable than pre-made food, let alone far healthier for you and your family.

Convenience Shouldn’t Be An Issue: Now I am not talking about those ‘Banquet Frozen Meals’ which I see on sale sometime for $2.00 a box. But what are you really getting for that box? OK, I know convenience – but for the most part, those boxed frozen foods taste best when heated up in an oven versus the microwave. So if you are already using the oven for at least 20 minutes – you could have cooked a far more nutritional meal without the added additives and un-pronounceable words and chemicals.

A little Side Note: I have heard horrid stories that after we die, the time it takes for our bodies to decompose is far longer than it used to be – and the reason for this? All the added additives we have in our foods that we have digested in our lifetimes somehow sticks with us. Now isn’t that an icky thought? This sounds something along the likes that the ‘Myth Busters’ should figure out. I am seriously thinking of donating anything than can be donated of my body once I go and then being cremated and sprinkled around my favorite spots. Have you seen the costs in getting buried as of late? – I knew I digressed once again, but I think that this idea should be in another post, huh?!

Get Organized:
Again, since time is an issue for so many of us workers, let alone keeping the home front organized and cleaned, whose got time to cook? Well, when it is your health at stake and aging quite frankly not an issue with you? To answer this, there is no better way to help yourself and you family with these issues then by starting to cook and prepare your meals more at home.

Being organized certainly helps as does a well stocked pantry – both which should be a priority if you are thinking of cooking more at home. The internet is full of websites (including many of mine, natch) which will provide you with interesting recipes. Many sites offer you the chance to list a few ingredients you may have on hand and out pops several recipes for you to try.

So this week I have done just that – made all things homemade that I and my boyfriend have been enjoying. From iced tea, to lunches which included a tomato spinach pie or eggs special to diners which included linguine with meat sauce, homemade salad dressings, pesto and even an interesting homemade lavender honey bread just to name a few.

If you want to see any of those recipes, simply surf on over to my Dinner and Jam blog and do yourself one better and sign up to receive the recipes in your email box once or twice a week – its free.

Where I Draw the Line: There are somethings that I just won’t do unless under very special occasions, make from scratch, such as homemade orange juice (the price of enough oranges to make one cup of OJ is simply ridiculous) – nor would I go out of my way to make butter, mill my own flour, etc. You obviously need to make your own choices here people, but by using as much from scratch products and ingredients in your own home cooked meals, you will find that they really do taste a lot better than something heated up from a frozen box, are certainly more affordable than going out to dinner, and more importantly besides having good ‘slow food’ habits – you are spending wonderful time with your family and friends with homemade food that was made by you and with love.

And if you prepare and organize yourself, you will find that a roast chicken for example can turn into at least 2 other great meals such as a curried chicken salad with walnuts and raisins or chicken tettrazinni with vegetables to name a few out of my head – and no one will be able to tell it was leftover food – thereby creating more great meals, practice good slow food habits and saving money while providing you and your family with quality and healthy meals.

Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen:
This is a wonderful way to get our kids into the kitchen too, to help prepare many of the foods – how the heck will they ever learn to cook if they don’t help out in the kitchen and be a part of the family? Many studies have shown that if kids are involved in the cooking and preparing process of making food, they are by far more likely to eat what they have ‘shared’ in making. I am sure a child or teenager would be more interested in seeing how their ‘dish’ turned out, then if you made it all by yourself and just put it on the table.

Another easy way is to allow the kids to look through your cookbooks – yeah a novel idea, huh? And have them select a recipe to try. By having your daughter or son select what will be served for dinner and having them help you in the shopping and preparing the meal will not only save you time, but you will be sharing vital time with your children and your children will learn so many extra skills here I won’t even begin to list.

You might want to try it once before setting up a new system of doing this several times a week. I would also suggest selecting 2 recipes and doing both, so that if one recipe turns out poorly, the odds are the other dish would have come out just fine, which in turn will help provide your child with confidence and feelings of accomplishments – while you bask in knowing your kid just made cream of carrot soup and even liked it!

You could also have them select one item from each food group every day, this way one day they must select a vegetable dish, if they get to choose a dessert dish one day. Ideas are endless – like this article it seems.

OK So you want to know about Slow Food. I will share more about that in another post/article, but here are the basics:

Here is an excerpt from the SlowFoodUSA.com site to help you briefly understand what Slow Food is all about:

“Living the slow life with food as the focus is as rewarding as it is easy, and it can be done daily by each one of us. Ultimately, it is about pleasure and taste, knowledge and choice. Once we begin to take an interest in the enjoyment of food, and in finding out where our food comes from, we can begin to see the effects of these choices. When we shorten the distance—both literal and figurative—that our food travels to get to us, we are participating in the Slow Food movement. Slow Food is about coming together as a food community—connecting producers and co-producers, coming together on the farm, in the market, and at the table—to create and enjoy food that is good, clean and fair.”

So get cooking I say, learn more about ‘slow food’ and age slowly and gracefully!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 13, 2008 7:48 pm

    At least if you are concerned with healthy eating and getting the most nutritional value from your food. Dinner Table

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