Thursday, January 5, 2012

Building the Foundation, "Eat In" part 3

Like I said...I could go on and on and on, so let me hit on another point before I do....


I think in this country, especially, everybody has forgotten how to eat.  Let me rephrase that, everyone has forgotten what to eat!  Food has been turned into a form of entertainment instead of 3 squares a day.  Let's go back to those "3 squares".  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Back in "the day" dessert was not an every night occurrence, but reserved for special occasions, or maybe one night a week.  Nowadays we expect dessert with every meal, every day, and in the case of breakfast it has become dessert, many times in the form of a mocha latte, and then add insult to injury by throwing down a muffin or scone on top of it!  That's 21 desserts a week!

What a luxury to be able to walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, take out a soda...or walk into the kitchen, open the pantry, take out a bag of chips or cookies.  What happened some black coffee, a couple of eggs (if you were lucky) or a bowl of hot steamin' oats for breakfast?  What about lunch?  Nothing wrong with a small sandwich, a pickle, an apple?  And dinner?  Well for the past 50 years it's been meat and potatoes....and a couple of leaves of iceberg lettuce with 1000 island dressing...but nobody's perfect!

I don't know about you, but when I was growing up my mother cooked an almost exact amount of food for the whole family, if someone was getting seconds it was dad! I can tell you right now how I became a chubby kid...it was by volunteering to help give out the lunches at school!  All of the helpers (me) got to eat any leftover boxes!  And once I was free to walk down to the corner "7-11" store on my own, well heck...do you remember getting a dime for every glass bottle you returned?  And how much were candy bars back then?  Yes, I think they were $.10!   6 bottles returned, six candy bars!  Lucky me...or so I thought at the time.  Is it this kind of freedom that has helped make us fat and spoiled?  What would have happened to me if I made my lunch everyday, only one lunch, no other choice, and no "7-11" around the block to walk to.

Back to building the foundation of "eating in".  What would you start with?  What meal do you know how to prepare, and like, maybe even love, that would be the first one you make for yourself?  What would happen if you prepared that meal every day, or every night?  I would bet you would get really good at it...and really efficient and fast!  I would even bet, closer to the end of the first week, you would naturally start to change it slightly....you would start to feel so comfortable that trading out ingredients wouldn't stress you out, in fact you would be creating your own recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.  That's how you learn.  You learn by doing.  Doing over, and over, and over again.

In my book, "The Swing" (available March 13th, Harper Collins, pre order you copy now. LOL! Sorry I had to say it!) I write about the importance of practice with the simple cutting of an onion everyday.  Onions are practically the foundation of every savory recipe you come accross, and learning how to cut one properly and efficiently will help you develop the knife skills that are such an important part of meal preparation.  http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ss/onionchop.htm

Find or have one recipe you know, like the back of your hand, and do it to death until you "make it your own".  That will be your foundation.  Build it by adding one new recipe, method or technique at a time.

For instance "grilling" is a method of cooking.  Grill a piece of meat, the same kind, a handful of times until you know how long it takes, and are confident it will come out right (or acceptable) almost every time.  Then choose a different cut, or kind, of meat or seafood...or grill some veggies.  Grilling is grilling, is grilling!  It's a "fast" cooking method and requires "fast cooking" tender cuts of meat (or veggies the get tender quickly...like onions!, lol).  Don't worry if you screw up, we all screw up!  Grill yourself silly, and before you know it your friends will be asking you "grilling" questions!

Just some suggestions....that's how I got so good using my pressure cooker!  I pressure cooked until I was silly!

more to come...




16 comments:

Amanda said...

Tracy I just have to tell you - I have been following your blog for quite some time, and totally love the workouts you post, but especially love these last 3 posts. Thank you so much!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Amanda,

Thank you so much for the support! I never know how these kind of thoughts will be received.

Gayle said...

Really great posts! Never stop sharing your thoughts on this. :)

Knowing how to cook really is a very liberating skill. I know some people who don't and want to, but are really held back by fear of where to start and messing up. I'm definitely sharing this post!

Tracy said...

Cooking is one of the ways I show my love for my family and friends. So it is extremely important that what I cook is nutritious, healthy and delicious. It is relaxing, therapeutic and something that I look forward to. I think you are right on with your posts and thankful that you are putting it out there. Because it does matter. We are what we eat. Why not make it the very best that we can?

Maribel said...

"Analysis Paralysis" is what I call when someone won't take the step to try something. I find this to be the case a lot when talking to people who can't/won't cook. They are paralyzed by analyzing what to do. How will it come out? Will I waste my time? Will it be yucky?

I can never see it as a waste of time when something doesn't come out the way I want it. Now I know that particular way won't work...no time wasted eliminating that process.

Also, there is a beauty in simplicity. I think we've been "sold" on what good food is, but there is something beautiful and delicious in a simple sliced apple.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Gayle,

One of the most unfortunate things I have hear often are people practically bragging about the fact that they don't cook...maybe they're "above" such an old fashioned concept! lol

It bothers me most when I hear it from a young women...but usually it's because their mothers didn't cook.

One of the things I have written in the past was about how naive I must of been getting married, having babies, and all the while not being able to truly nourish my family properly!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Tracy,

It's funny (to me but not Mark), that when family comes over I drag someone in the kitchen for a hands on cooking lesson!

One time when RKC Master Instructor Geoff Neupert came over to train with Mark he brought his wife Courtney...I dragged her into the kitchen to teach her how to make risotto...I'm sure she still has nightmares about that, as I'm sure she would have rather been out in the garage gym with the guys! Too bad for her!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Maribel,

I approached learning to cook (and diet) the same way I approach everything...progressively!

You can't jump all around and hope you land somewhere you want to be.
If you never learn and memorize one recipe, just one recipe, How can you memorize and learn a dozen?

And what's with having to eat something different every single night? OK...time for another thought...

guy said...

Another great post, I am preordered (and impatient,,LOL) Can't wait to read your book. I love the receipes that you post Ma'am. If I could just get my wife to like onions!

Hanneke said...

The last comment makes me smile. When my son was still a kid he came home from eating at a buddy one day. He said Mom, we had X (a Dutch recipe, doesn't matter in the story) and it was horrible! They put onions in it, yuk. So I smiled and told him, I put onions in it too, you just don't know it.
Sometimes you just have to fool somebody. Onions are perfect for that, you can cut them so small that they disappear but you will still have the wonderful flavor.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Guy,

I talk more about onions in my book!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Hanneke,

The only other ingredient besides onion that I hear the most resistance to, even more resistance, is anchovy.

Although anchovy is not a foundational ingredient, of course, it can be a fun one to use, and sometimes it shows up in the some common foods...

Hanneke said...

Anchovy is the bacon of the sea and therefor delicious. Also another ingredient that I don't tell people about. I love it when they rave about my salad dressing. How do you do that?! Sorry, won't tell you....

Hanneke said...

By the way I was one of those that hated anchovy and was very vocal about it. My husband is the one who did the fooling with it in his cooking at first. He told me after a while when I asked how he made a certain dish taste so great. It was humbling....

Tracy Reifkind said...

Hanneke,

Yep...I told ya! lol

Same with me I never tell. I'll have to use your "bacon of the sea", it's SO true! love it!

Laura @ Hip Pressure Cooking said...

Tracy, as usual a lovely inspirational post! Congratulations on your new book, and I see a link to a video, too!

Brava!!!

L