Finding your health in the kitchen

June 3, 2018

With so many recommendations to eat healthily, I find the necessity for all to go back to Home Cooking.

But for the great majority, this is something that is more of a challenge.

 

The fact is that at this time most adults grew up in a house that both parents were too busy for the kitchen and families were eating pre-made meals that only needed to be reheated, buying food from a take-out place, and/or going out for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Nowadays it’s so easy to do a drive-through at your favorite fast food place!

So, did architects start designing houses without kitchens? No, kitchens are now actually part of the main living area of the house. It used to be that you had to go through a door to get to the kitchen as it was a sacred place in the house. Yes, it was. The kitchen was the place where all these fabulous, nutritious foods were created for the family.

When I go to a friend’s house, as a Chef, the first place I go to is the kitchen area. Most of the kitchens are so nice! They look so clean and pristine. They are equipped with so many cool, sparkling gadgets. I’m normally like ”Wow, when do you want me to come help you cook dinner? This kitchen is amazing!” The most normal answer sounds something like “No, we don’t use the kitchen to cook. We just use the microwave to heat up food. We only use the kitchen to make coffee or prep drinks.”

In my mind I’m always saying, “such a waste.” I’m a chef and my home kitchen does not even have half the gadgets these kitchens have and does not look anywhere as clean and shiny. Of course, I use it every day, I come back from working in a kitchen, and go into my kitchen to cook dinner for my family. Most of the times it takes me 30 minutes to cook dinner from scratch. Ok, yeah, you can argue that this is because I’m professionally trained to cook. But the training I consider the most important is common sense. You can learn the skills to cook pretty easily; what you need to do is train yourself to use common sense. So What is common sense in the kitchen? Well, sounds like knowing how to turn on the oven and let it get hot, turn on a burner, fill in a pot with water, place it on the burner and let it boil. Place a skillet on a burner with some fat and let it sizzle but not catch fire. Open your fridge, hopefully is not empty or full of already made containers, make a quick mental list, or write on a piece of paper- your phone or tablet works also- of what you have, open the pantry and do the same, look in the freezer as well. Ok, now if you have some veggies, a piece of meat (beef, chicken, fish, etc), eggs, bacon. You are ready to create your own dish, or grab one of your beautiful cooking books you have to decorate the shelf of your kitchen, find a recipe you like and see if you have all ingredients you need, if you don’t just make it with what you have. Or you could google a recipe including ingredients you have on hand. You will need at least a cutting board and a sharp knife to be able to chop some veggies. Yes, if you never cooked before, not even had water boiling on the stove, you will need to learn some kitchen skills, I’m willing to help with that.

 

 

The other issue is the fact that most people are afraid of being in the kitchen: grabbing a knife to cut some veggies, turning on the burner or the oven to cook some food. So the best way to befriend with the kitchen is to start by turning on a burner. If it is electric, see how long it takes to get red; if it is gas, see how the flame changes size as you move the dial; if it’s induction you will need a pot that is induction-read ,with a  regular pot will not work , you can place your hand on it and it will still be cold. Place your cutting board on the counter, get your chef knife, a potato peeler, and a potato. Peel your potato, you can certainly find a video on how to do this, cut it in half with your knife, cut the halves again. Place in a small pot with just enough water to cover. Place on a burner on medium heat, add a pinch of salt, let it boil for 15 minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Get another small pot,  place shelled eggs in it, cover with water, bring to a boil on the stove. As soon as you place the pot on the stove set your timer for 12 minutes; when the timer goes off, place the pot under cold running water in your sink. After a couple minutes check if the eggs are cold enough to handle, crack the shell and peel the eggs. There you go, now you have some beautiful hard boil eggs. D rain your potatoes with a colander. You are now ready to enjoy eggs and potatoes. Would you rather have scramble eggs? Crack as many eggs on a bowl, the normal is 2 to 4 eggs. Use a fork to whisk the eggs. Place a skillet on a burner at medium heat, the best way to know when the skillet gets hot is placing a piece of butter, about 1-2 tablespoons, as soon as you get the skillet on the burner. Once the butter melts and starts sizzling you are ready to pour the eggs, whisk constantly to incorporate the butter to the eggs and let it cook until the consistency you like your eggs to be. Normally it should not take more than 1 minute.

Some say, “If I use my kitchen all the smells from the cooking are going to invade the house.” Instead, they use scented candles to have good aromas in the house, like, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, mint, birthday cake, or anything one can think of to scent their houses. Those are all scents that can come out naturally from cooking!

Any time I get guests at home they say they love how my house smells. Yes, it is scented, but with the food that I cooked that day. If I baked a cake, it would smell like vanilla or chocolate, if I made something with curry, it would smell curry; if  I smoked a roast, smoked beef, etc. You tell me if you don’t like to enter a house and smell good scents from the food you know you will be enjoying or have already enjoyed.

 

So going back to the beginning, I strongly believe that a great part of becoming healthy has to do with getting back in the kitchen and doing some cooking for yourself. Buying fresh ingredients and knowing where they come from. Knowing what goes into those recipes, using items that you can pronounce and are not from a lab but from the land, air or water, items that you can have growing in your garden.

It is nice to go out and have some fun time with friends while eating, but it does it really have to be an everyday thing? I’m pretty sure that if you do it every night, it’s not with your friends but with your family, and what better way to enjoy dinner with your family than in your home with food you cooked yourself?

 

So get some energy, get in the kitchen and get dirty!

 

 

 

 

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