Monday, 24 October 2016

cooking at home

homade made chicken doener, pita breads, garlic sauce & vegetables
As I am doing several courses at the moment I do not have a lot of time on my hands to waste on all kinds of stuff. But I do still cook for my family, I like cooking and baking, so most days I make all the meals from scratch for my family.

Home made chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream
Because of the courses that I do, 2 on nutrition and 1 on marketing, I have come to a realisation. Most people these days are very heavily influenced by the marketing and advertisements of food companies. Those companies want to sell their unhealthy products and make a lot of money. They had to create market. Itt is in their benefit to make making food seem like it is a LOT of work, NO FUN and very DIFFICULT. And NONE of that is true. Making food isn't a lot of work, actually when you learn how to do it well, as our ancestors did. For me that would be my parents and grandparents, but depending on which country you are from and how your family was, it may be that neither your parents and maybe not even your grandparents made most foods from scratch. So when you've grown up with that you may not be aware of the easy, time savings, money savings and the fun that it can be. I know a few families where food is rarely cooked as nobody has a proper clue on how to do things and they haven't learned in school either. It is quite sad at times to hear people talk about food. I also know of families where cooking isn't done because it would make the kitchen dirty or any of those ideas, it's really really a sad state of affairs.

So, despite having 4 home educated kids, doing 3 different courses and helping out my husband in his business I still make our food most days of the week. My husband does some other days and every now and then one of my kids makes food. It works out quite nicely this way. We also make sourdough bread, sauerkraut and other ferments. That doesn't mean it all always goes smooth, but it mostly does. It has actually been quite a while ago that we had take-away. We do occasionally have some pizza's or so, which are pre-made and we only have to bake in the oven. But my kids prefer home made pizza, so that is a rarity as well. I think in the last 2 months it happened once. And take-away is even longer ago.

When making your own food you have so many more possibilities than you have with processed foods. A pizza can have any type of topping you want. When I make home made pizza. I use 2 large baking sheets and put the dough on that - there are 7 mouths to feed in our house at present - then I put the pizza sauce (home made) on top and from there we have a selection of choices. Everyone can have some input. Frequently I make 2 different pizza's so that everyone is happy. And lastly we put the cheese on top. We rarely have left overs.
And then there is the pizza from the Alsace, which i learned about in Switzerland, flammkuchen. That is so tasty! It just has a sour cream / double cream topping, then onions and bacon bits on there and it goes in the oven. That also disappears very quickly and is so easy to make!

Futhermore there are any number of ways to make meats, roast, cook, fry, whatever. Any number of spices can be used to flavour them. For me garlic and onions are always on any meat. As that just makes it all so very tasty.

Vegetables. there is no limit on how you can make them. So much fun.

So despite the fact that the food companies have tried their best to make everyone think it is too much work, too difficult and no fun. I actually am convinced they are totally wrong. They are only doing this to sell their products. They have indoctrinated people into thinking this and it is patently not true. Making food is loads of fun. Especially when you do it together with family members. I prefer only have a few with me. Having 7 people in the kitchen isn't a workable situation LOL.
But having 1 or 2 people with me is really nice, you can chat about the day, or - as my husband and i often do - have a business meeting while preparing dinner.
And it is so much more tasty. You can use so many different natural ways to flavour your food. When I make chicken korma I make it the way I like it. The way I have had it from the take-away was quite a disappointment, as it also was from the supermarket. Loads of salt and not enough flavour. I have read up on korma dishes and found that the spices are where it is at. In India spices are the big thing anyway. We do not like the extreme hot spiciness from India, but we do like food from India. So when I make a dish from India I use less burn and keep the flavour.

Making soups is really easy as well. You can use any number of meats and vegetables and even mix them. You can blend or not. Whatever you like. I have a friend who tends to make a soup with the leftovers of the previous day and add some flavour that fits and there it is. Nothing difficult about that. She does always have home made broth going. So do I. There is always a broth going on the cooker or in the slow cooker.

Oh... and then the slow cooker. The most wonderful tool in the kitchen. Any stew and soup can be made in that. Cut the evening before. Keep in the fridge. Put in the slow cooker in the morning, and your dinner is done by the evening. How easy is that!

Now that I am so much more busy we actually pre-cut most of our foods on the weekend. This includes lettuce and such. The best way to keep all vegetables is in the fridge, all in separate bags or boxes. Meats all go in the freezers. I plan my meals ahead, so I know which vegetables keep longer and can be used later in the week. Some parts, that require that, we precook on the weekend already and then put in the fridge or freezer. I also make all my salad dressings on the weekend already, they keep just find in a former jam jar or such.

I recently read that Michael Pollan has said in an interview that he thinks that it is very difficult to get obese on home cooked food and I think he is very right with that. The people that I know that are doing a lot of home cooking are definitely not obese. Some may be a bit overweight, but none are to points where it becomes a big problem for their health.

I also think it is very important to teach children to cook. Mine are invited to be with me / us in the kitchen to help out from very young onward. My youngest is no 8, but she has been very good with even knives from about 6 onward. We have always let them help and all of them are very good with making foods. They all have their preferences, which is actually quite a blessing. It gives us a lot of variety. It is amazing to see the preferences between my husband, my oldest children and myself creating so many different types of foods and all similarly tasty.

My children do all loves hamburgers, pizza's, kebabs and all those things. There is no reason for them not to eat it. We just make it at home, unless there is a special occasion. But even then some of my children prefer the home cooked version.

So this is all really not that difficult when you look at it. In case you want me to talk more about specific parts of cooking at home. Please feel free to ask.