Our lives run on food. Most of us are too busy to plan a menu and to cook a dish. Ironically, we discuss food-related topics such as the best restaurants, tasty recipes, fascinating ingredients and diets that supposedly work. Depending on such factors of how food is sourced or processed, most diets and ingredients are healthy. We each have a unique diet to get the nutrients our body needs to survive. Understanding our needs, we’re constantly asking questions about our food and changing our diets accordingly. In the last few years, salt, butter, beef, pork, diary, nuts and wheat have had their health benefits questioned. For most people, nothing is wrong with these ingredients, unless their doctor specifically ran a test to declare an allergy. The real question to ask are where it’s sourced, how it’s produced and how it would benefit a personal diet. Planning a menu will answer these questions pertinent to our health.
What’s truly healthy? It’s a simple answer: Cooking a meal at home. It doesn’t matter if it takes a short 30 minutes to a few days to prepare a recipe. Does the thought of spending more than one hour of cooking and eating seem impossible? We’ve been conditioned to think about cooking as a luxury of time. It’s a necessity to our physical and mental health, but good food can fit into a hectic schedule. Sitting down for a meal is sometimes the only time a household verbally communicates with each other. A faint sniff of a particular spice revives nostalgic memories. And, cooking allows us to choose the beneficial ingredients applicable to our health.
We thought the future of health would be like the 1960’s version of the space-age cartoon, The Jetson’s. Pop a pill to replace a meal. Who needs food, when we should be working? By the way, did you know George Jetson’s grueling work schedule was only 9 hours a week? Realistically, today most people are working 40 plus hours a week, in addition to organizing households. Our lives lack food of substance and taste. Just when prepared food was ushered in our lives as the modern convenience, we’re learning it’s not always healthy. Some of us lost the ability to cook; fewer of us know how to plan a menu. Creating a recipe is mostly for short term planning. Maybe, leftovers are anticipated for the next day. Menus are effective for long-term planning, staying within a budget and saving time. We have to plan food back into our lives. Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of bland microwavable pre-cooked meals, fattening fast food and oily take-outs.
I don’t consider myself a food expert, nor have I been to cooking school. My passion drives my evolving knowledge about food. I love reading food-related articles and cookbooks; listening to personal stories; and watching television shows. Learning about international cuisines inspires delicious vegetable dishes. My livelihood depends on planning an interesting menu for an upcoming week. It’s how I live to be healthy.
I grew up in a household, in which both parents worked long hours. It was my dad, who planned the menu and cooked the food. Teachers would write my mother, thanking her for the “…lovely, delicious spice pound cake.” My father would correctly respond in gratitude. My dad is my teacher, the master chef. I’m a picky eater because of my father. This is a guy who makes stuffing from scratch, including baking the bread and cornbread days before it’s stuffed into the bird. I was once offered a fast-food made cinnamon bun and politely refused without expressing reason. My boyfriend was confused, “How could anyone turn down a cinnamon bun… there’s no way your father could make a better cinnamon bun…Millions of people love this… they have the sales to prove how delicious it is, and you don’t like it?” No, I don’t like it. Made at home, it’s a subtly brown sugar sweet, yeasty bread with cinnamon. And, Dad knows to add cranberries and big chunks of pecans to my cinnamon roll. Excuse my gourmet attitude; it’s being fined tuned. My lack of time has humbled me to purchase take-out meals, too. I use my creative skills to shorten prepping and cooking time in recipes. When my father emails a recipe, I reply with a short-cut version. He’s a retired military officer who starts off recipes with making a rich chicken stock. It’s no argument; homemade chicken stock is far superior to store-brought versions. However, who has time for that type of extensive cooking? I’m lucky to know what homemade food taste like because of my father’s love.
My Life Runs on Food is a blog demonstrating how to plan a well-balanced meal back into our lives. It’ll offer tips on how to “brown bag” yesterday’s dinner for lunch. The blog will suggest which seasonal produce to use in recipes. It will encourage buying food from local retailers, such as farmer’s markets. Read how to adapt life events into a weekly menu, and how to quickly update a menu in the middle of the week because of a sudden change of plans. Optimistically, I hope My Life Runs on Food will inspire a passion into creating a weekly menu catering to a well-balanced household.