Monday, November 23, 2009

"Everyone loves a home-cooked meal, but who has the time?"

To be honest.. I think we all have the time.. but the media and the makers of processed foods want us to believe that we don't have the time and that there are more important things for us to do with our time than to cook nutritious foods for our families made from scratch with real ingredients..

With Thanksgiving coming up, we have been watching the Food Channel thinking that we may get some new ideas for our feast. What has surprised us is how much of the dishes prepared on these food shows are made up of processed foods mixed together.... like everyone's classic favorite that has been around for quite a while.. the Green bean casserole... (can of cream of mushroom soup, can of green beans, can of fried onions... mix together.. bake). But so many of these dishes are made with store bought, processed foods filled with preservatives, HFCS, artificial flavor, pesticide residue, etc.

One night we were watching a Thanksgiving Cooking Special on TV... it was already underway when we tuned in.. IT seemed to be even more a show about using processed food to make a gourmet Thanksgiving meal for your family... The message really was.. Open these cans and add some other processed stuff to them and turn them into something new and exciting..... At the end of the show the woman said something like.. "now you can cook a fabulous semi-homemade Thanksgiving Feast."

Semi-Homemade... have you ever heard such a thing?? It made my mouth drop open and stay that way for a long while! When did homemade become something that could be done in a "semi" sort of way? 

Before I started writing today, I googled "semi-homemade" and was amazed to find that Google returned 719,000 instances of "semi-homemade" on the internet... guess I am adding to the numbers by posting this.... 

Semi-homemade is a movement for sure... designed to make us think that we don't have the time.. and to get us to buy products, and ready made food. I could go off on a big rant here against this movement but I really want to focus on the answer, another way. 

Just how much time does it take to make real food for your family?? 

Our friend Sara celebrated her 23rd Birthday this weekend and yesterday morning we had her over for a Birthday Brunch. I spent about an hour cooking this special meal and I want to take you through the process to illustrate just what can be done in an hour in the kitchen. 

~I started off with Ginger Pecan Scones. Gluten-free so that David could enjoy them too... I started with the scones because scones are best warm, not hot out of the oven.. so I wanted them to have time to cook and cool just a bit before the meal. Measured and mixed dry ingredients, cut in butter, added chopped crystalized ginger and pecans.. added egg and milk, mix together, shape and cut.. bake for 15 minutes... 
~While the scones were in the oven, I went out the the garden and picked some fresh arugula and celery for the fritatta, and some calendula flowers for the table. I also began cutting the veggies...sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, onions and garlic from this summer's garden along with the celery and arugula fresh picked. I cut up some mushrooms and grated the cheese from the store. 

~ Scones out of the oven, I got the potatoes, onions, garlic and mushrooms going in the skillet. Added the celery after a while and put a lid on the skillet to soften the potatoes. 
~Meanwhile I cracked the eggs, added some milk and beat them together with the chopped arugula to add to the skillet. Poured in the egg mixture and stirred it around, sprinkled the grated cheese on top and popped the skillet into the already heated oven from the scones, 350 degrees.
~ While the fritatta was cooking in the oven, I got some bacon going on the stove-top. By the time the bacon was done, the fritatta was ready to come out and be served.
~ Between steps, I did the dishes  and cleaned up the kitchen so that at the end of the meal, there was very little clean-up left.

This meal was more of a production than usual as it was a Special Celebratory Meal. But in the end it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Filling and satisfying and healthy. I take great pride in serving food that has history, a story. These stories shared around the table help to remind us where food comes from and how much our health depends on this wholesome food made with love. 
Because I take the time to care where our food comes from and to share that story, it is especially important to me to share these meals sitting around the dining table. Too much of our food is eaten in a hurry, at our desks, or in the car.. running.. when food is simply eaten to relieve hunger, we are left wanting. Food is life and our food should have a story and a life that does not include a factory or assembly line. FAST food is the fast path to dis-ease and dis-comfort in our physical bodies as well as a detriment to our spirit.

I know I am preaching to the choir here.. but REALLY... In my experience, cooking from scratch does not take that much more time.. maybe more thinking ahead... not that much more time!

1 comment:

pfirsch said...

We were just fussing about the same thing over Thanksgiving. Neither my sister nor I can understand how the show you mentioned stays on the air. Do people really need instructions on how to open a can? The best quote of our conversation was "If you can read, you can cook."

Homemade doesn't have to take forever and it does not have to be complicated. If you want to have a home-cooked meal, I think there is always a way to get it done.