Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cooking From Scratch!

When I was 17 I wanted to live in NYC, have a personal chef and a maid, jet-set around the world, be a big time fashion buyer for Saks or Bloomingdales or Macy's, not get married and not have kids.  Do you get the idea that I didn't gain a lot of cooking skills in my youth?  Not for lack of trying on my mother's part- I just wanted nothing to do with it.  Fast forward to present day (25 years later)...

I've visited NYC, once.  I most assuredly would not be happy living there. I fell in love at 22 and married at 23.  We have 5 children and one more in Heaven (stillbirth). I didn't even enter the field of fashion after graduating with a Fashion Marketing degree.  Can I tell you how down right catty that field is? I have traveled a fair bit- German speaking Europe, Italy, Australia, a good portion of the USA and hope to once the children are off on their own.

As for the personal chef and maid... I have those...their names are Me, Myself and I. My husband does his share and the kids are being trained in these areas as well.  But I am the manager of the home.  It was an interesting ride for me coming from very little knowledge in these areas to where I am now. I remember burning water (yeah- for real!)  I let it boil away to nothing and scorched the pot.  I remember calling my Mom and asking how one mashes potatoes and many other things.

Being a child of the seventies and eighties I grew up with processed food in the house but was lucky enough that my mom was of an older generation and still cooked a lot from scratch. (Though I remember a lot of microwaved meals in the mid-70's/early eighties).  For a long time after I got married I thought I was serving a good meal if I bought pre-made frozen lasagna, frozen garlic bread, and a bagged salad.

Now don't get me wrong! Those things have their time and place but I was serving stuff like that consistently and thinking I was feeding my family well.  I've learned a lot since then and still have a long way to go.  I  also still confess to not liking cooking but as a wife and mother I want to feed my family healthy, whole foods that are tasty. That means cooking from scratch!  Luckily I've found some wonderful cook books and helps along the way. These are my go to's...

 My first cookbook ever. I believe it was a bridal shower gift from my mother.  Oh, how she knew I would need it.  It is still my go to book today.  Simple, basic, from scratch recipes.

 This is a great one for help with seasonal eating and what to do with 10,000lbs of zucchini/tomatoes/ what ever you have too much of.

 Recipes and reasons to change the way you eat. 

 A chef's take on good, simple food- a good primer. Alice was a farm-to-table chef before it was cool.

 Good old country cooking!

The West Ladies also have a DVD for those who want some visual inspiration.

Here's my challenge: Pick one item/meal that you would usually purchase processed and learn to make it from scratch. (Like lasagna, or even just salad.)  You will taste the difference and love it. Happy SCRATCH cooking! If I can do it, trust me, you surely can! (Side note- you don't have to make the ingredients yourself- yet- you can buy the pasta, cheese etc. but one day you might just want it totally from scratch with your own homemade cheese, pasta, and sauce from your own tomatoes. The process  of not buying processed is addicting!)

Happy from scratch cooking!

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