Saturday, August 14, 2010

Welcome to Get Real Cooking

My cooking philosophy is pretty basic. Food must be economical. I am very tired of all these fancy chefs, doing fancy things to fancy foods. It is nice to dream, but in reality, I can't afford to make that kind of food. Since I am NOT a fan of Reality TV, that’s probably the main reason I find them so irritating.

On the positive side, there are some real class acts I cannot help but admire – Julia Child and Emeril come to mind immediately. Both of these chefs are trying to make their food accessible. For fun ideas, I love to watch all of Guy Fieri's shows and the Bitchin' Kitchen is a real hoot.

As part of being economical, food should be grown as close to home as possible. It only makes sense to grow or pick your own and to support your local economy. Flavor and nutrition are at their best when food is freshly picked.

The food we eat should contribute to our health. Organic is great, but not when I have to pay twice as much for it and it isn’t as fresh as local. I also totally avoid artificial sweeteners. I generally avoid most other additives such as MSG, artificial colors and flavors. You should do your research. Some artificial colors and flavors are naturally based. And beware of pesticides.

I use very little Teflon or aluminum. Cast iron skillets and stainless pans are the rule. In the microwave, I use paper or glass with wax paper to cover - no plastic!

I don’t fry many foods in fat. I decrease the fat in almost all the recipes I make either by cutting back, changing the cooking technique, or substitution. A can of canola oil spray is always in use in my kitchen. Don’t butter your vegetables in the kitchen. Let your diners do it themselves at the table.

I add salt to very few recipes. Instead of listing an amount for salt, I usually list – “salt & pepper to taste.” If any processed food has been used, (especially canned soups and cheeses), you can be pretty sure you don’t need to add any extra salt. Again, let your diners do it themselves at the table.

We live on a hill and our water comes from a well. Think water conservation. This relates to cooking using as few pots and pans as necessary. I try to simplify cooking techniques to use fewer pans, to be simpler and to conserve.

We live in an old farmhouse without central heat and air. We do have free gas thanks to six gas wells on our farm, (but no royalties). So I do very little baking in the summer. It's just too hot to use the oven. I grill whenever possible. I had a convection/microwave oven that was wonderful in the summer, but it has perished. It gets very hot when I’m canning.

Our food should be pleasing to the eye and to the palate. We can do that without a lot of fuss.

In conclusion: "Moderation in all things, including moderation." - Titus Petronius (c. AD 27-66)

Or “All things in moderation, including moderation." - Mark Twain

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