All The Goodness Food Can Bring With Home Cooking
Food, glorious food. You may recognize this phrase from the famous play, “Oliver.” I personally couldn’t agree more.
Food is many things to many people; comfort, celebration, tradition, routine, sustenance, even medicine for health. The list is as endless as there is variety of foods available in the world.
I personally feel the true, goodness of fresh whole foods sometimes gets lost amongst all the noise and chatter about the function of food: from the numerous diets (keto, paleo, vegan), to the experts constantly “revealing” what we should and shouldn’t eat. And then there is the packaging. Boxes of packaged goods boasting to be the healthiest, most natural, most sustainable food out there – or the most likely to help you lose weight. Finally, don’t even get me started about the celebrity chefs, who make meal prep look so darn easy.
I agree daily cooking can be a chore and a bore. There are (many) days I just don’t feel like cooking. I understand some people hate cooking and prefer takeout and pre-made meals. I realize food is a competitive market and is a big business. I appreciate that some do not have a positive or healthy mindset regarding food. And I know that maintaining a healthy weight - especially during COVID-19 – has been tough for many.
But let’s put aside all the babble around food for a minute, turn the story around, and look at all the goodness food can bring:
- Starting off with good health. Eating fresh natural foods is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
- Food enhances our lives and stimulates all of our senses, including the sizzle, the colour, the touch, the texture and the smell – and of course, the taste.
- Feeding people brings comfort and joy. It’s the glue that gathers people together for celebrations. It can transform any gathering – just bring out the chips and the dip and you have a party.
- It’s creative. Putting together a meal based on time, available food, budget and recipes is no easy feat.
There’s no right or wrong way to cook. The experts will say otherwise, but really, everyone has their own style, likes and dislikes. Which means that the home cook can darn well eat and cook any food, any way they want. That’s the bonus of cooking your own food at home.
However, home cooks are often under appreciated. Which is a real shame. It’s hard to come up with ideas of what to cook to keep it interesting and tasty, ever night of the week.
Which brings me to today’s topic: How to become so inspired about the goodness of food, it will morph into a love of cooking?
Let’s start with food, because it’s all about the food. I suggest cooking with a new vegetable this week, or one you rarely use. Find a recipe for the vegetable and cook it. This challenge may be the catalyst you need to be inspired.
If you’re looking for an idea, I’d like to suggest the unpretentious vegetable: fennel. This white, onion-shaped, bulbous vegetable sprouts green wispy fronds on top. Its texture is crunchy, like celery, with a taste similar to anise.
Fennel can be eaten raw in salads, cooked or roasted. I personally love it roasted because the sweetness mellows and transforms into a divine flavour.
If you’ve never worked with this vegetable before, here is how you cut a fennel bulb.
1. Cut off the top
2. Discard any moldy or discoloured outer layers.
3. Cut in half
4. Cut out the small core at the bottom (just like a cabbage)
5. Cut the way you wish: diced, sliced or chunked.
6. Eat raw, or cook as you like.
Here is a roasted fennel recipe you may like to try.....
2 fennel bulbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the tops and bottoms off of the fennel, then cut in half. Discard any moldy or discoloured outer layers.
Remove the fennel core but leave enough of the core intact to hold the layers together. Cut into 1-inch wedges.
In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat it, and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange onto baking sheet, evenly spaced, and bake for 15 minutes. Toss, and bake for 10 more minutes nicely roasted.
I hope you enjoy it!