Back in a November post, I detailed how much I took food and cooking for granted for most of my life. As a kid, I was skinny and blessed with a fast metabolism, but that didn’t mean I was eating well. Back in those days, I had my personal chef named Chef Boyardee and thought that every meal I ate out was better than anything I could eat at home.
Today I want to share with you some random thoughts (or musings) about food and some interesting web sites related to that topic. I’m sure I’ll be back with another RANDOMusing post later about another topic.
First off…I am a huge fan of the TED talks. TED is a great source of ideas on just about anything. In recent weeks, I viewed a talk that hit me like a ton of bricks and absolutely moved me. It was Jamie Oliver’s talk about transforming the way we feed ourselves and our children. In the talk, he mentions that we all fear crime and homicide in our cities and neighborhoods, yet three of the leading causes of death (heart disease, all cancers, and stroke) are diet-related. Sadly, he also mentions that accountants often determine what our kids get fed in schools (cheap, sodium-laden processed food). Also sad is the fact that french fries are considered a vegetable (huh?) and that kids are being fed fast food at every meal.
This shortsightedness has led to an epidemic of obesity and poor health and will shorten the life-span of future generations. Considering how sophisticated and advanced our country is, this situation is tragic.
Please watch Jamie Oliver’s TED talk.
Second, Jamie Oliver has a new program on ABC, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that is set to premiere Friday, March 26. Much of Jamie’s TED talk is based on his experience of trying to create change in the town of Huntington, WV. I watched a “sneak preview” Sunday night and was moved by the experience. I typically do not care for watching reality television (except for sports), but I can identify very strongly with Jamie Oliver’s cause. What is also amazing to see is that even though we, as humans, are aware of this problem…often we are resistant to the change that is necessary.
I feel incredibly grateful that even though I grew up eating a large quantity of fast food and processed food, I’ve learned to cook and enjoy food that is less processed and better for me. Believe me, I am no health nut, but I now feel that I can cook food that tastes better than most food that I would get at a restaurant. It has taken me virtually my entire life to realize this.
Third, part of eating better is cooking for yourself. And good cooking occurs when you have great knives. Sad to say, but I have spent most of my time cooking with dull knives that are actually more dangerous than sharp ones. In the last month I purchased my first chef’s knife. It is the same knife that has been highly recommended on the PBS show America’s Test Kitchen. The good news about this knife, is that it is less than $30 on Amazon. I also purchased a small paring knife with a large handle for less than $10. I don’t want to sound like a commercial, but if you have been using dull knives like I have, look into getting some good knives. Both knives that I purchased have very comfortable handles and are manufactured by Victorinox, the same company that makes the Swiss Army Knife. For the price of a meal at a good restaurant, you can have good knives that last for years…
Fourth, I enjoy cooking and creating recipes. After years of eating ready-made spaghetti (I can still remember the Chef Boyardee Spaghetti dinner I used to eat when I was a kid…it came out of a box with tall, narrow can of meat sauce), last year I created my own recipe for marinara sauce. I’m going to share this recipe with you in hopes of getting feedback and some suggestions on how to improve this. So here goes…
Tim’s Simple Spaghetti/Marinara Sauce
(1) 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
(1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/3 of an onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
dash salt and pepper
liberal amount of Italian seasoning
dashes of grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 lb. of browned ground beef (optional)
fresh Parmesan cheese
fresh basil, chopped
Chop the onion and garlic cloves and saute. Combine cans of tomatoes and seasoning. Add the sauteed onions, garlic and browned ground beef to the mixture and let simmer for 30 or 40 minutes. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and enjoy with your favorite bottle of wine.
Again, I invite you to try this recipe…it is basic, but it will taste more fresh than the jar stuff and the fresh Parmesan cheese are keys to the recipe. I welcome any feedback and any suggestions on how I can improve this recipe. No worries, this blog will not turn into a competitor to The Food Network 😉
Top Creative Commons photo courtesy of dimitridf.