You don't need a "chef" to learn to cook

As I keep saying, cooking at home is much healthier and just as fast as many of the "convenience" foods available. Yesterday, for a party, I made a Thai-style green curry: tofu, bean sprouts, bell peppers in a basil-based sauce that I'd made in a huge batch frozen last summer. My friend, who drove down from Dallas, picked up a shrimp scampi box at Sam's to take to the party, so we made linguine to go with it. It took me 25 minutes from the time I started marinating the tofu to when I took the one pot (!) curry off the stove. It took us 15 minutes to make the shrimp scampi linguine. But boy ... was that shrimp scampi greasy! The glass dish we transferred it to was so greasy that it took two washes to get all the grease off. And that's the crap people eat day-in and day-out!

I've never understood people who say cooking at home is too slow. Because it doesn't need to be fancy. What could be faster/easier than a fish fillet rubbed with olive oil and lemon juice and stuck under the toaster oven? Toss a bowl of vegetables in the microwave with ground pepper and salt and you have a high-protein, high-fiber, low fat, full course balanced meal in under 15 minutes.

In a pretty good article promoting cooking (what use is growing your own vegetables if you can't cook 'em?), Amanda Hesser throws out a fact which astounded me:
According to a 2008 NPD study, of all supper entrees “cooked” at home, just 58 percent were prepared with raw ingredients.
and a recommendation which made me uncomfortable:
Mrs. Obama might want to expand her food message to include cooking. Just as she highlighted American fashion by wearing the clothes of young designers, she could call attention to cooking by bringing America’s talented young chefs to the White House for a food summit meeting. Then she could turn them into a national task force, asking them to reach out in their communities and give free cooking lessons to the next generation of cooks and eaters.
Of course, she's a food writer and she's thinking in terms of chefs. But restaurant cooking is nothing like home cooking -- and few chefs and food writers are able to make that transition. So, forget the chefs.

Folks have been making simple, fast food in their homes for millenia and it's that simple style that people ought to get back in touch with. If they start cooking, and then find that they want to take advantage of unusual flavors and exotic cooking techniques, then they should go look up chef's cookbooks and a more complex pantry.

But to start, all you need in your kitchen are olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. You don't need any equipment beyond a stove and an oven. In fact, you could get just as good results using a microwave and a toaster oven.

No comments:

Post a Comment