Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Cooking Philosophy

Photo Credit: mcbeth

I like to believe it all started with a Carrot.

I must have been 4 or 5 years old when my Great Grandma K took me outside and let me pick carrots from her garden.  I vividly remember making a pledge that one day I would grow my own carrots in my own garden.  And I'd like to think that is what started my enjoyment of cooking and health.

A joy that has been fed by many along the way:

  • My Grandma M. who is always baking, cooking, experimenting and winning pie baking contests.
  • My Grandma S. who is always seeking out new herbs and alternative medicinal therapies to try for this or that.  She is the one who told me back in 1997 to avoid trans-fats in my food - years before most people even knew what they were.
  • My Mother-in-Law who is is very very good cook and is so dedicated that she cooks even on the hottest Maltese summer day.  I've seen her cook a hundred different things from stuffed eggplant to cake and never once have I seen her pull out a recipe.  She is the one who inspired me to learn how to cook so I don't need a recipe.
  • My Sister-in-Law who upon seeing chopped jarred garlic in my fridge days before I got married admonished me that it was not garlic and Europeans would never dream of adding that to their food let along give it the dignity of calling it garlic.
  • My Husband who was and is completely against microwaves, fast food and junk food. 
  • Living in Germany for 2.5 years had a big affect on my ability to try and enjoy new foods.  It was here I discovered great things like Brie, Arugula, chanterelle mushrooms, strawberries that aren't the size of plums, and many more.
  • My Dad who would always make time to cook with me and my two sisters.  Biscuits were a favorite of ours.
  • My Mom, who has never really loved to cook, but always cooked us healthy family dinners and put important seeds in my head that I will never forget.  About those little barrel shaped juice drinks from the 80s, "we're not getting that, it's sugar water." About Juice boxes, "that is just empty calories." About Diet Pop, "thats full of chemicals." and most importantly, that good food was like "manna from heaven"
  • My parents who I know I've mentioned individually, but together they ALWAYS let us help in the kitchen;  cooking and baking on our own and with them.

So for many years I have had these anti-processed food views about cooking, food and health but it has always been based on my experience rather than anything I've learned.  

Then I watched Food Inc.,
And read In Defense of Food
And read The Omnivores Dilemma
And read Fast Food Nation

And now I am educated.  I know why processed food is bad.  I know that most of the nutritional advice I've been feed by the "experts" was a load of junk.  I know that there is a human cost to the food I buy.  I know why I like our eggs, meat, dairy and produce to be raised organically eating the same things they were 100 years ago by people paid a fair wage to produce it.   And I am very happy to begin this journey of learning how to cook with these foods.


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