The aroma of a fresh baked cookie triggers memories of childhood. Memories that bring back the warmth of the care free summers when we cooked. Last week's post of Mirror Mirror on the Wall also triggered some interesting conversations. One of them being that part of the problem in today's society is celebrating lack of time to cook and depend on either processed foods or restaurant carry outs.
Let us go to the basics; Mother Nature designed our world so man would be a wanderer, walk for miles, hunt for his own food and survive in the most dire situations. But then nature itself took over and the natural curiosity of man led him to explore, discover and invent. With every invention the world became a more comfortable and smaller place. Inventions were not limited to a certain aspect of life, but affected every aspect, from the clothes we wore, the homes we built to the food we ate.
Modification of food was called a necessity at a point. Increasing population numbers, lack of adequate harvest led the scientists to discover newer ways to increase the harvest from the same farm acreage, and they did. They found "Genetically Modified Food." We changed nature by making the anti-biotic resistant tobacco to the herbicide immune soya bean plants. The curiosity of man did not stop there, we then found ways of adding more nutrition to the plants and fortified them. There is something to be said about disturbing a natural balance. Just as we disturbed the atmospheric balance and are now debating on the pros and cons and finding ways to combat global warming. Some where in our quest for more food for the increasing population we happily took a bite of the forbidden fruit.
The forbidden fruit was so enticing, not for its nutrition but for its appearance. Anything that looks pretty triggers a happy signal in the brain. Again I am not a subject expert, but I am sure you have read articles of how a well presented plate makes the average meal taste good. It's true, good food is all about presentation.
Let's face it, we all love good food. So the question is why don't we make it ourselves?
|A cooking rainbow|
|An explosion of colors and |
Cooking is hard and a chore; this is a modern life myth. It's quite the contrary. Cooking is actually therapeutic, relaxing and a lot of fun. All it takes is an open mind and an effort. Human beings have thrived on their capability to create something out of nothing. That's exactly what cooking is. To take nature in its most raw form and transforming it into a plate of delicacy is nothing short of an art form. The thrill of combining colors and sometimes even contrasting them so the plate looks like an artist's palette. I am not exaggerating here, take a look at these pictures and you will agree, I hope.
Don't be afraid of cooking, its one of the easiest things to do and the most rewarding too, for the reward is good health for your family and self.
We have all heard, anything that tastes good cannot be healthy. I beg to disagree with that. Today, Man is reaching the end of the circle and we are starting all over again. We are discovering ancient grains, Dandelion is the new gourmet favorite and eat more greens is the mantra every where. That's how nature meant it to be. We were not designed to eat processed foods. I agree today in some ways process foods are a necessity, but with a little effort we can change it. There are simple ways of replacing the unhealthy and it all starts at home.
|Home made Chipotle Bowl with red kidney beans|
I am not a fan of fads. I love to cook, but keep the basics in tact when I cook. I love fusion food as long as it does not take away from the ethnic flavors of its origin. My family has varied taste buds. I have learnt to take one thing and transform it into four different meals to satisfy everyone. Lets take Red Kidney Beans. A simple bean filled with good carbs and protein. I make them the traditional Indian way, serve it with rice to one person. The second person likes it as a Chipotle Bowl and the third takes it as a soup. I only made one thing, but was able to turn it into three unique meals. Okay, I accept.. I love cooking and it is never tiring for me. On the worst days, send me into the kitchen and I am like a child in a candy shop. I enjoy experimenting with flavors, trying out new herbs and spcies and blending them to discover new flavors. My favorite, on a spinach salad, try using a Thousand Island with spicy Indian Tomato Chutney, its a killer combination.
There is another benefit to cooking, a sort of side benefit. When we cook something with tons of butter in it, we know its bad and you will be surprised, you won't feel like eating it. Try it! Similarly when you make something healthy that tastes and looks good, the motivation to do more comes naturally.
In our lives today, we have got so busy that we don't have time for the basics and that is intrinsically wrong. Why work so hard, when it leaves no time to sit down and enjoy a simple home cooked meal.
Cooking maybe an art, but anyone can cook a meal that tastes better than frozen food. Don't worry about following recipes, and buying expensive utensils and spices. Just go for it. Open your refrigerator, look at what you have, take out one vegetable of every color and let them talk to you. The end result will be nothing short of magic.
Remember, if the pot is cooking, the home will naturally be warm.
P.S: Some day (soon) I hope to have a blog that will teach how to cook without the boundaries of following a recipe.