Remember those awkward parent gatherings when your kids were in elementary school? I was making small talk with the father of a girl who was in class with my son. We were carrying on in small talk, the usual what do you do etc. Usually, once I revealed that I was a restaurateur, I’d be peppered with questions about food.
So I wasn’t surprised when this fellow asked me, “Is pizza vegan?”
I answered sure there are all kinds of non-dairy cheeses. If we had this exchange today. I might rave on about the fabulous cauliflower crust one could assemble to make a ‘bangin’ pizza.
Next, he queried me about avocados. Saying his doctor told him to stay away from these green jewels since they are full of cholesterol. Nope, I said. Avas are only rich in good fat. By the way, ‘that’s a good thing for your health.
It seemed like an inconsequential conversation at the moment. But for some wonky reason, it has stayed with me all these years.
Why is it that we are clueless about how we should feed ourselves? Why are we often baffled about our food?
Mark Hyman, M.D. nails it when I heard him say:
“In the 21st century our tastes buds, our brain chemistry, our biochemistry, our hormones, and our kitchens have been hijacked by the food industry.”
I’d add that we are not cooking at home enough. We are busy and on the go. Who wants to come home and cook? We have so much choice with the ever-growing home food replacement offers. Convenience wins out. But at what price?
If you are serious about your health and longevity, then a few basic cooking skills are something you want in your tool box.
Cooking allows you to have full control over every aspect of your food. You can eat in season and prepare exactly what you want.
Take salt and fats which are necessary for the preparation of delicious, satisfying food. They ‘aren’t the enemy as you often worry they are when you eat out. At home, you hold the shaker.
What about herbs and spices. This is where you can get creative. You can explore other cultures through a vast world of cooking. The way things are going this might be the only way you can travel in the future.
Cooking at home has its health benefits along with economic perks. You will spend less money preparing some of your own meals.
Though I can’t prove it, cooking has mental health benefits too. It’s good for your soul. Cooking for yourself and others can bring a sense of well being and purpose. When you do it well, you can enjoy the accomplishment. And that can be as satisfying as eating the food itself.
So, next time, think about picking up take-out or calling GrubHub,
Here’s a homemade recipe for you. A small task worth the delicious results.
My all-time Blueberry Crumble
Vegan, gluten-free, sweetened with maple syrup and easily put together.
I was shopping at my local farmer’s market. It brought me joy and gave me hope! Packed with vibrant people and summer berries, where no doubt home cooking is alive and well.
5 c fresh blueberries, divided
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp fine-grained salt
1 tsp arrowroot powder, dissolved in 2 Tablespoon of water
1 1/3 c rolled oats
2/3 c pecans
1/3 c oil or vegan butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp fine-grained sea salt
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9x9x2-in square baking dish.
To Make the Filling:
Stir 4 cups of berries, maple syrup, and salt in a medium size saucepan for about 5 minutes. Bring to a gentle simmer and add arrowroot mixture. Stir slowly until the syrup and arrowroot blend and hold together. Remove from heat and add the remaining cup of berries.
To Prepare the Topping:
Blend oats in food processor until coarse. Add pecans until chopped. Transfer to bowl & add remaining ingredients.
Pour berry mixture into the baking dish. Add the oats and pecans on top as evenly as possible. Bake for about 25 minutes or until topping is lightly golden brown.
In good health,