Whether you are vegan or pescetarian or even a true carnivore, I’m certain these age-old tips will help you in the kitchen and with your overall health. And in case you missed Part I, you can find that here :)
1. Home Cooked Reigns Supreme.
Then: Remember when there were freshly prepared, steaming hot meals with warm bread and cookies just coming out of the oven while the entire family was sitting happily together at the table? Ok, maybe that was just in the movies or the rare few households, but you get my point.
Now: Oh yes, nothing beats a home-cooked meal, especially one made by mom. Yet, who has time nowadays to do that, right? Lets think about this before jumping to conclusions. Sure, you may not be able to spend hours in the kitchen every single night of the week, but try and devote one afternoon or one evening to preparing at least a few days worth of meals. By cooking some of the time consuming portions of the meals ahead of time, such as the brown rice, you’ll cut that night’s prep time drastically. In addition, if you don’t have time to use dry beans, why not keep some canned beans on hand? Why not freeze some of your leftovers for later? Do what you can and don’t stress about what you can’t do. It’s truly the little steps that make a big difference.
2. Modify Leftovers.
Then: Even in our house we had leftovers. Oh yes, even the most dedicated cook needs a break, so why would you think you need to cook a fresh meal everyday?
Now: Technically, if you use a leftover, that’s considered home cooked, right? Well, I won’t tell if you won’t tell. Either way, there is so sense in wasting perfectly good food, so either eat exactly what you had or switch it up! Maybe you had eggplant lasagna last night. Well, why not make a salad loaded with fresh veggies your centerpiece and have a small portion of eggplant lasagna for the next meal? Adding flair to your existing meal palette will create a whole new sense of pizazz.
3. Failures Happen.
Then: At the house, my dad and I were often the guinea pigs for Mom’s new recipes. Doesn’t sound like a bad job, and it wasn’t, for most of the time. Recipes, cooking and food in general are all truly trial and error.
Now: Think about how many meals you’ve had at restaurants and how many were so-so, how many were horrible and how many were out of this world? Yeah, I’m sure you have some in each category. Thus, if you have some failures, shrug it off and know you can improve on it next time. Aren’t the best lessons the ones we often teach ourselves?
4. Educate Yourself.
Then: I remember helping Mom sift through dozens of cookbooks to find new recipes. In fact, she was always scouring magazines and TV shows to find new ideas and new tips.
Now: With a few clicks of your mouse, you are bombarded by dozens of recipes. Thus, empower yourself by educating yourself. If you don’t know how to use celery seeds, look it up. If you don’t know what to do with bok choy, look it up. With information readily available at your fingertips, it’s so important to use it as much as possible.
5. Back to Basics.
Then: At the end of the day, Mom’s cooking was all about basic ingredients, such as flour, milk, water and eggs.
Now: I have modified those cornerstones, such as using almond milk and organic, free-range eggs, but the principle is the same. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by all the options and all the lifestyle choices, think about what is best for you and keep it simple. Once you get the basics down, you can layer on more pizazz later. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy!
So you see, you can learn a lot from your mom. Often times, you may have to tweak the rules a bit to fit your lifestyle, but the fundamentals remain unchanged. As always, learn to appreciate food and find the satisfaction in wholesome, healthy nutrition no matter your food lifestyle choice.