Tag Archives: meals

Foodism and the problem with home-cooked meals

I was prepared to argue with this article in Vox from some time ago: The problem with home-cooked meals , because I am a big proponent of such meals.  However, the closer I read it, I think the main issue I have with it is the title. If it was titled “The difficulties in preparing home-cooked meals”, I would have been more receptive. Read the article. If you are a foodist like myself, it might seem hard to understand at first that people have difficulties with home-cooked meals, but like many things, the difficulties arise from lack of time, knowledge, and resources (money but also access to good food, even if you have money).

I believe that there are a number of ways to address those difficulties. First, I think city governments need to treat access to food the same way they treat access to other things such as transportation, water, parks and even sunlight. If housing doesn’t have access to water or electricity or transportation, then developers shouldn’t be allowed to build it and people should not be expected to move there. Access to good food should be part of that set of restrictions.

Second, we need to better educate people on how to prepare food.  Too much of our education system is spent on academic topics. Kids should be taught a wide range of subjects, and one of those should be how to prepare food no matter how much time or a budget you have. (They should also be taught how to manage finances, how to do basic home repairs, and how to deal with personal difficulties, among other topics.) There is a wealth of information available on food preparation, but often to me it seems aimed at foodists and is aspirational. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to make good food. In addition, though, people should learn how to make straightforward nutritious food, with anything from 2 ingredients on up, with or without a recipe, in 2 minutes or over 2 days.

Third, we need to change our emphasis on a form of eating. There is a belief that some North Americans have that home cooked meals should be prepared and eaten a certain way. Often this certain way involves 30 minutes to an hour of food preparation followed by an equal amount of time eating it. Culturally that may have been the way it was done, but there is nothing that says we must continue to eat that way. You should be able to prepare and eat good meals with the resources you have.  If that means a 5 minute preparation and a 5 minute stand up meal, so be it. Better that than 30 minutes spent eating over processed food in a chain restaurant.

Finally, we need a more expansive and less snobby approach to what constitutes good food. If you are a foodist and you want to cook with homemade stock, fresh herbs, wine and hard to source ingredients, and that works for you, that’s great. For most people, if you have limited access to good food, then you can still make good meals with what you have available, and there is no shame in that.  Besides, the social status of ingredients come and go: eat the best you can with what you have, be that a roasted chicken and a salad or a bowl of chunky vegetable soup.

For many people, food is a means to an end: I’m hungry, I eat food, I’m no longer hungry. For others, their life revolves around food. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, having an open mind about how others eat and being open to alternative ways to dealing with food will benefit everyone, including yourself.

(Image is of a ham, painted by Manet.)

P.S. In case you don’t think it is a word, here is the definition of definition of foodism, from the Oxford English Dictionary:  “A keen or exaggerated interest in food, especially in the minute details of the preparation, presentation, and consumption of food.” Therefore people who have foodism are foodists.

 

 

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New recipe and food links. Because we all need more of that. :)

I clearly collect too many food links. 🙂 These are some of the better ones I have found and think worth sharing.

Image from: Slow Cooker Bread Recipe | Baked by an Introvert

A reminder: Soylent? Still terrible

Why? According to the LA Times, “Liquid meal maker Soylent is stopping sales of its flagship powder, warning that a handful of customers reported stomach sickness after consuming it.” This after recently having problems with their food bar causing people to become ill. So far, their blended liquid drink is not having an ill effects on people. Though, honestly, if a company keeps making food products that make you ill, why are trusting anything that comes from them.

Why people digest this stuff when simple foods are easy to eat is beyond me.  Even Boost or any existing meal supplement products seem to be better.

For more on the story, see: Soylent halts sales of its powder as customers keep getting sick – LA Times

4 p.m. recipes: two updates on some classic pasta dishes

I got into a habit of making pasta on Mondays: there is so much happening on Mondays for me, and pasta dishes were a way to allow me to multi-task and make dinner, help with homework, clean-up, &c.

If you feel overwhelmed on Monday, or simply if you love pasta, then I recommend you try pasta Mondays. Worst case, just keep it simple and use pre-made sauces. If you would prefer to make  things from scratch, then here are two updates on  some classic pasta dishes:

Pasta Carbonara With Spicy Sausage Recipe from Real Simple

The Best Macaroni & Cheese You’ll Ever Have from a Cup of Jo blog

Enjoy!

4 p.m. recipe(s): some good meals to make this autumn and winter (soups, salads, and rice)

I was going through my list of recipes I have been collecting, and rather than trickle them out, here are four worth trying this autumn and winter (all via Chatelaine.com):

P.S. I am a fan of recipes from Chatelaine: they are well tested, nutritious and healthy. The recipes aren’t boring, but they are easy to make and it is easy to find ingredients, even if you don’t live in a big city.

En papillote: six simple seafood dishes (and a bonus dish, too)


Over at Kitchen Daily, they had a feature the use of en papillote (whether that is using parchment, foil, or some other material). Of the recipes there, these are the ones I look forward to trying soon, especially the first one.

  1. Sea Bass En Papillote with Tangerine and Grapefruit – The Culinary Chase.
  2. Simple Elegant Fish with Cauliflower Potato Mash – Savory Nothings
  3. Tilapia en Papillote |Billy Parisi.
  4. Soy and Ginger Shrimp Packets – The Culinary Chase.
  5. Sole in a Bag with Zucchini & Black Olives
  6. Recipe: Asian Salmon en Papillote for Two | Verily.

Bonus: this sweet potato recipe not only sounds good, but I love the source for it.

The Bacon Eating Jewish Vegetarian: Big Sweet Easy (Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sumac).

The image is from the last recipe from Verily. If you are new to this way of cooking, go to that recipe: it outlines the simple technique using parchment.

Everyone should have a good minestrone soup recipe

And this one from Food52 could be yours. Once you get in the habit of making minestrone, you can really adopt any set of vegetables and beans you have to make the soup you want. Don’t like cabbage? Don’t use it. Out of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)? Use something else. It may not strickly be minestrone if you do, but who cares: it will still be delicious. Needless to say, this is a great way to use up bits and pieces of vegetables in your crisper.