So, in the summer of 2006, I went on the South Beach Diet. It totally works, by the way, when you stick to it. And it's delicious food. With the program, you have to do A LOT of cooking with spices and fresh foods. Before that, my extent of cooking was pretty limited to spaghetti, soy sauce chicken, mac and cheese...I really didn't know how to actually COOK. I learned a lot from doing the diet. Before that, I had no idea what oregano was, or thyme, or a bunch of other spices, let alone how to cook with them or how they enhanced food. But y'all, seriously-if you don't use natural, fresh ingredients and spices, etc. in your food when you cook, you are completely missing out on how perfectly delicious food can be!
I REALLY got into cooking after I graduated in December 2007. I had moved back home to look for a job; things weren't working out so well and I was getting super bored at home, so I asked my mom if I could be the cook for her, my dad, and myself. She of course immediately agreed (because my mom rocks!). I went back to cooking foods from the South Beach Diet, this time because I wanted to cook lots of healthier foods for the three of us to eat, especially my dad after his heart attack a few years earlier.
Anyway, so the moral of the story is: I love food. I LOVE cooking. I love cooking food with fresh ingredients and spices. Following so far? Excellent. Keep reading...
I didn't want my first post to be negative, but here goes. Have you seen/heard of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC? I don't know who Jamie Oliver is (I think I may have seen him once on Food Network...but I'm not sure), but I LOVE what he's doing. It's about a cook from England who is trying to change the way America eats (specifically American kids), and he's starting with the schools and school lunches. I have now watched the first two episodes, and it makes me so sad and ANGRY what the people are eating, and more importantly, feeding to the kids. It's DISGUSTING. These people are so unbelievably against using fresh food to feed their families, and feeding the kids at school, that I can't even describe it. The "head" lunch lady (she bristles at that, but let's be honest-she's a lunch lady) and the radio host on the show are the two worst people on this show. "We don't want to sit around eating lettuce all day," says the radio host. But I say...why not?! Salad is delicious! It is-hands down, not kidding-my absolute favorite food. And not salad with gobs and gobs of Ranch dressing (do love me some good Ranch though, and yes there is such thing as bad Ranch)-I mean salad with vinaigrette, and home-made salad dressing made from EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and apple cider vinegar that I learned from an old Italian lady.
Sometimes, using the fresh ingredients and spices, does not taste good (chicken en papillote, anyone? Yuck.). Agreed. And it does take more time to prepare that food. And it is a bit more expensive (which is a whole other topic on its own-fresh produce should absolutely not cost as much as it does). And you do have to shop more often. But seriously, it is SO worth it-not only does the food taste a million times better, but it's so much healthier for you that it's crazy! Please, watch this show on ABC to see what I'm talking about, and help with the food revolution...some of these kids have no idea what vegetables are, or how to use a knife and fork, and that is just unacceptable.
Minor political statement that has to do with healthcare: If we could all eat this fresh way, rather than the snapshot that is profiled on the show (which, let's face it, is pretty generic for the whole country), the need for universal healthcare would probably be dramatically reduced. I know there is a lot more to it than the kinds of food we eat (and I'm including myself in that, because I'm not always the healthiest eater), but it would seriously help. That's part of what happened with my dad with his heart attack-he wasn't eating very well, had a heart attack, and has now had to change his eating habits; it very much helped.
I'll share some of my favorite recipes with you through the blog: ground beef stir fry, breakfast scramble, balsamic chicken, chicken capri, oven-roasted veggies, flank steak...try them out at home, and let me know what you think!!
Viva la food revolution!!