Friday, September 16, 2011

Re-Learning Basic Cooking Skills

I realize it's not always easy to think about cooking, cleaning and all a mom's responsibilities. I remember in the not-to-distant past when I would watch my fellow "natural, organic" friends bring their little raw whole food concoctions to potlucks and think to myself "wow, they must have a lot of time on their hands if they are able to make this type of stuff". I considered myself natural - but I just wasn't "there",  you know? 

Well fast forward a little over a year later, and recently I noticed while talking to a friend, that I really AM unplugged when it comes to food and cooking now. Somehow, although admittedly unconsciously, I have come back to basics and I honestly COOK! I think I got tired of all the preservatives and food dyes in the foods available at the supermarket. I'm trying to feed my kids and my family, whom I love very much! On a blog one day I read  that a mom felt like she entered into an alien zone when she entered a supermarket.. all these weird names of stuff that comes from only God knows where and by what process... and it's true. I suddenly realized that I felt the exact same way. I was tired of label reading on every single thing I picked up (and then usually put right back down with a sigh). When did buying food to feed a family become so complex? It really shouldn't be that way. 

Couple that with my frugal side and the growing and staggering food price increases, and I decided that enough was enough. I was not going to be taken advantage of, and for what? Low quality food stuffs that aren't fit to feed anyone? So , I slapped on my apron and I re-learned the art of cooking. 
 I have always enjoyed cooking really - but this time it's been different. I have truly learned to appreciate each ingredient and savor the food I cook and eat. This deep appreciation also stems from having lost a huge amount of weight. I've laid aside my typical American way of eating, and now, I've surpassed even my best efforts of a few years back. 

While I won't say that I eat everything organic, I do eat everything in it's most natural form possible. My kids can identify everything they eat. It's recognizable food. We know where it comes from and where it has grown. 
One of the best parts of relearning the Art of Cooking, is not only that you get intimate with veggies, fruits and food of all kinds, but that you learn where it comes from, how it grows, and what it needs. There's beauty and meaning in that. My boys were really amazed when they saw a peach groove and we picked the fruit for the first time at a local U-Pick farm. We were really moved, honestly. We're still learning all the time and it makes for incredible Science as part of our homeschool day as an added benefit.  

Here's just some of the things we have learned:

  • How to cultivate yeast from grapes then bake it into bread
  •  How to bake fresh homemade bread for less than 50 cents a loaf in a matter of minutes of day
  •  How to use a crockpot to cook beans and many other foods which allows for easy, frugal cooking of basic (and cheap) staple foods, high in protein and fiber and extremely healthy for us.
  •  How to make jelly and jams and can them.
  •  How to pollinate squash plants without the bees
  •  How to make apple cider
  •  How to make homemade crepes for pennies
  •  How to make homemade cheese and yogurt
  • How to ferment and the various bacterias involved
  • How to make our own economical laundry soap
  • How to make our own toothpaste
  • How to make a quick solar oven in the summer
  • Learn to make stock from leftover veggie peels
 And so much more... 

But most importantly, re-learning the basic art of cooking for your family makes you feel incredible inside. We are Mothers and Parents, when we nourish our little tribes with good, wholesome food that they come to love, we can breathe a sigh of relief that they are not caught up in junk food and fast food. We also save an incredible amount of money eating  this way and we lose weight and feel great. We simply become, HEALTHY, inside and out.  

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