Monday, February 13, 2012

Mixing, Pouring, Adding, and Stirring Ain't Cooking!

As far as health goes, it may be Big Food's most destructive legacy - this notion that "home cooking" can consist of mixing packets, jars, and boxes together.

It's incredibly pervasive too.

Some examples:
Take box of dehydrated frozen refined flour noodles. Boil water. Add box. "Cook". Open jar of sauce. Add sauce.

Brown meat of choice. Add packet of "flavouring". Stir. Add to store bought buns, wraps or rehydrated "noodles".

Take frozen box of "food" of choice. Microwave or heat in oven. Optional - serve alongside baked bagged French fries.

Take ready made pizza. Heat in oven.

Mix package of brown powder with eggs and water. Put in cake pan. "Bake".
I could go on.

When I meet new patients, I'll always go through their eating out history, but rarely their eating-out-eating-in history, but I probably should.

Those examples up above? They'll get me as close to actual cooking as watching movies will get me to winning an Oscar.

Cooking, actual cooking, is the transformation of raw ingredients. And there's definitely something special about actual cooking. A sense of accomplishment, of healthfulness, of basic goodness - even when cooking less than stellar meals nutritionally.

Sadly, over the years, the food industry has aimed to co-opt that something special, literally designing foods that require the most basic of input and effort so as to perpetuate the gigantic white lie that we're "home cooking".

Is there a meal in your home you've unfairly labeled "home cooked"? If there is, how about trying to actually home cook it this week? It may well be easier than you think, and guaranteed, it'll be far more rewarding.