(FBC 6) The most natural thing on earth

The “earth” episode of cooked shows viewers how fermentation is an important part of foods we eat everyday. The episode strives to show that the “germiphobia” we have as a society can be misplaced at times.

The entire episode just brought to life something I never took the time to think about. Fermentation is such a beautiful natural process. It can be what I would call “gross” at times but the products of fermentation are some of the best in the world. I never knew that chocolate was a product of fermentation. It is made from rotting fruit seeds. The episode brought up kimchi a lot. Funny enough I had kimchi for the first time a few months ago in Cincinnati at an authentic Korean restaurant called Sung Korean Bistro. It was some of the most flavorful food I have ever had. They served it as an appetizer and I actually ended up ordering more because it was so delicious. The flavor was unique and I had no idea how they made kimchi until this show. Who knew fermented cabbage could be so tasty.

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This is a picture that shows kimchi similar to what I ate at Sung Korean Bistro. G, Sophie. Kimchi. Digital image. Bingchef. Bing Chef, 22 July 2009. Web. 3 May 2017. <http://www.bingchef.com/node/32&gt;.

 

The “big idea” of the show was, I think, to show how cooking is natural and we as humans need to come back to our cooking roots. This show really shows me why and how cooking your own food is so natural. There is nothing hard or strange about it. Cooking and eating is the only way to live and nourish your body. Every time I watch an episode of this show I get so inspired to just go into my kitchen  and cook. It’s like learning about how these simple ways of looking at food change my perspective so quickly. Honestly before this show I hardly cooked. It was rare if I made food at home and looking back at it I know that’s not a good thing. After watching these episodes it has truly inspired me to get in the kitchen more. I have started meal prepping a few meals a week on Sunday nights and I find myself really enjoying it. I spend time doing the most natural thing….cooking. Just this week I made baked chicken with brussel sprouts. It was so simple but so satisfying.

Cooking is what makes us human. It’s beautiful and natural and as a society we all need to return to the kitchen.

 

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(FBC 5) From 60 to 27.

I watched the episode titled “water.” The episode started and ended with how water changed the food game. It allowed people to combine flavors on a molecular level instead of just putting them together. In between however they focused on how the people in America are turning away from the kitchen. The talked about how since western culture is starting to realize the dangers of processed foods, the corporations selling these foods are turning to other countries; they highlighted India. Basically the message was, if we want to turn away from processed foods it starts in the kitchen with the next generation.

 

There was a statistic in the episode that said the average American only spends 27 minutes on food preparation daily. That is down from an average of 60 minutes in the 1960’s. That stat really shook me. I don’t find it surprising but I just never thought about it before. When my mom was a child my grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen making vegetable soup from raw ingredients, pies by hand, and fresh green beans. That is what she grew up eating every night. When I think back to my childhood I see something vastly different. I grew up with 3 siblings in a single parent household. My childhood meals consisted of crockpot meals and quickly thrown together chicken strips. We relied heavily on canned goods because they were cheap and didn’t require as much time.

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My mother would leave the house at 7am to get us all to school on time, work from 8am to 6:30pm, come home to serve dinner, get us to bed, and then repeat it all the next day. I understand why she did what she did but the stark contrast in cooking between her childhood and mine is mind-boggling. My family turned away from the long hours in the kitchen and with it, their cooking knowledge decreased as well. My grandmother reached the point in her life where spending those grueling hours in the kitchen was too difficult for her so now the “homemade” meal nights are few and far between.

 

I myself am trying to get in the groove of a healthier lifestyle but to be honest its difficult. I am a full time student with a full time job. As soon as I wake up in the morning I am either going to class and then work or just work. I work from 2pm to 11pm Monday through Friday. I get a 1-hour break to eat dinner. 1 hour, that’s it. It is physically impossible for me to drive home, prepare a meal, eat it, and be back to work all within 1 hour. I cannot do it. I find myself turning to the same methods my mother used when I was growing up. I eat a lot of crockpot meals or just simple sandwiches.

 

The reason our culture has turned away from the kitchen is because we have been left with no option. In order to live a comfortable middle class life it requires both people in a home to be working. When both people are working full time how is it we can devote hours in a kitchen? Sure we can meal prep and we do but it takes the fun out of food. The flavor is bland and unsatisfying in meal prepped foods. As a culture we have to turn and be more involved in the kitchen in order to see any change in the next generation.

(FBC 4) No me gustan las margaritas

Well, if the title of the blog doesn’t give it away this post is all about my dislike for margaritas. I just turned 21 five months ago so as far as alcoholic beverages goes I’m still pretty new to the scene. I know it sounds crazy that a college student is “new” to drinking but believe it or not it’s true.

When I read that my professor wanted me to take a food trip I couldn’t decide what or where to go. I wasn’t traveling for spring break and I couldn’t think of a new food to try that I was completely unfamiliar with, then one day it hit me “I have never  had one of the most commonly ordered alcoholic drinks…the margarita.” It was the perfect option because it was easily accessible and I got to find out what all the margarita hype was about.

With this food trip in mind five of my friends and I piled in my corolla and set off on our margarita adventure. We settled on a restaurant that all of my friends swore had the best margaritas. We got our menus and placed our drink order. My margarita of choice? A frozen lime margarita with a strawberry swirl. When the waiter sat it down in front of me it was much bigger than I expected. I mean the glass was almost the size of my face! The frozen liquid inside did look delicious and I couldn’t wait to try it. My friends documented the process of my first drink….

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Laughing before the first drink…
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Taking the first drink…
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After the drink.

Soooooooo apparently Tequila is just not a thing I enjoy….at all. This margarita must have been like 90% Tequila, 8% Lime, and 1% Strawberry. It was just not for me if you couldn’t tell by my face in the third picture. I don’t understand bow people can drink these because just he thought of tasting tequila again makes me want to cringe.

Although I didn’t like my first margarita the trip to try it was fun. We only went up the street but we made jokes and shared quality time with each other. In the end food is supposed bring people together and that’s what this trip did for me.

(FBC3) More than rice?

Today I decided to make rice for dinner. You might be thinking that sounds like a bland thing to eat for dinner but I love it. When I was little my mom used to make rice for me when I was home sick and it just brings back all these fond memories I have of quality time with her. Just the thought of making rice brings me joy simply because it reminds me of better times.This food blog challenge was supposed to be me making a dish and analyzing the aesthetics of it. The aesthetics of this rice go deeper than just how it looks. Each step is  brings me a memory from my childhood. When I gather the ingredients I remember my mother lifting me up to get ingredients off the top shelf and me laughing the whole time. Its little things like that which make this one of my favorite dishes. From start to finish I smile the entire time while making it.

Besides the fact that this rice brings me back to a simpler time its also quick, its easy, and its cheap; all of which are important to a broke college student like me.

The first step is to gather all the ingredients for my rice:

  • 2 Cups Long Grain White Rice
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chicken Bouillon
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • 2 3/4 cups water

After that I just add the rice and water together in my rice cooker. (p.s. I LOVE MY RICE COOKER! I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT!)

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The sound of the rice hitting the pot reminds me of a time when I was little when I got rice all over the counter and floor because I knocked the pot over mid pour. My mom and I still laugh about it to this day.

Next I like to add the chicken bouillon. I use the cube version but powder works just as good.

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Chicken Bouillon cubes make the rice taste amazing.

After the bouillon is in I just eyeball the rest of the ingredients (just like my mom always did). If I want the rice to be really spicy I just go to town with the hot sauce!

After all the ingredients are in, I close the lid and set the rice cooker on the white rice setting.

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The entire time the rice is cooking the smell of chicken and garlic fill the air. My mouth starts to water and I find myself looking forward to this simple meal more and more.

After about 30 minutes the rice cooker timer goes off and the rice is ready!

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While it may not look like the most appetizing thing I have ever seen, it makes me happier than almost any other dish I have ever prepared.

The rice may be simple but the memories behind it are what make the rice appealing and delicious. I can’t help but smile when I eat this dish.

(FBC2) Food is not Black and White

 

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Aebleskiver with Muikko is a dish served at Noma. It was also featured on the “Copenhagen” episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. ____________  Palling, Bruce. Aebleskiver with muikko from Noma. Digital image. Financial Review. Fairfax Media, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/food-and-wine/the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants-20151221-glsomv&gt;.

 

When I was tasked with watching an episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” for my foodways class I really had no idea what to expect. I knew Bourdain was a chef so I expected it to be centered around food but other than that I was clueless. The episode I watched was  titled “Copenhagen.” The episode centered around one man ,a chef, and his restaurant. To be more specific, a chef that runs the Best Restaurant in the World. Bourdain was interested in him because of the way he saw and created his food dishes. The chef would go out to the beaches in Denmark or to a local farm and gather up fresh ingredients that one might not think to harvest. He would harvest moss and flowers and succulents for the dishes he would create back at his restaurant. The chef has a mind “without borders” if you will. Where some see right and wrong he saw endless possibilities. For example in one of the interviews the chef said he overcooked a part of a dish and burned it. Instead of throwing it out he burnt it even more, added a layer of something on top and created a whole new dish out of a mistake. The innovation and open minded ideas are what drew Bourdain in and I can see why.

As a culture I think a lot of times we see in black and white, especially when it comes to cooking. We have a recipe we follow and we don’t stray from it because we think that will produce the best results for our dish. The thing about cooking is that someone broke the rules once to make the food we have now. Food is fun and it’s a creative outlet for new ideas and innovations. It’s made to be changed and challenged. It’s a place to make something all your own that you can choose to share with others.

The culture that surrounded the danish chef was much different than he was. In Denmark the culture of the people is simple. You enjoy life and you share what you have but you don’t try to go above and beyond and you stay humble and simple. This chef is going against the current by going above and beyond with his way of thought when it comes to food. He doesn’t follow these cultural rules that others had set for him. People like him are changing the culture around him to be more open all through something as simple as food. The entire purpose of this blog was to show how food connects you to cultures, ideas, beliefs, and people you never thought you would have. This one episode shows how a new way of thinking can be pushed forward with a small idea: food.

(FBC1) My Personal Food Mantra

I am a big foodie. I love to just go big or go home when it comes to food. That just means that if I’m eating I want to eat the best tasting most indulgent food around. That way of thinking gets me in trouble sometimes because indulgent food isn’t always the healthiest food.

In 2016 I decided to try and eat better. I made the decision to cut back on carbs when I could because many of my daily meals were nothing but a pile of carbohydrates. I thought my new way of eating would be bland and gross but I was very wrong. By doing this I discovered my love for fresh ingredients. One of my favorite fresh “carb friendly” meals is tacos with lettuce leaf shells. It sounds simple, and it is, but the flavor is just great. I could taste all the individual ingredients but they all blended together so well. The avocado blended with the tomato and the onion complimented the cilantro; the whole meal was life changing to say the least.

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These “low carb” tacos had me on cloud 9!

The “fewer carbs” experience made me more adventurous with my food choices because I realized I was a BIG vegetable lover! I no longer hid from strange dishes because of their ingredients. Now, during the summer, you can find me at the farmers market every Saturday morning with a recipe in hand shopping for fresh ingredients.

I can’t touch on my favorite low carb dish without sharing what my favorite high calorie dish was. My favorite indulgent meal of 2016 was my trip to Ruth Chris steak house for my birthday. It was the first time I had ever been anywhere that was classified as fine dining and I was so intimidated but impressed. The steak was like butter! I could cut it with my fork and it just melted in my mouth. I’m sure that had something to do with the fact that it was covered in butter but it was so worth it. I also had brussel sprouts with garlic and rosemary that were to die for and for desert raspberry sorbet, key lime cheesecake and dark chocolate bark with pecans. I’m sure I took in double my daily calorie limit but that’s what cheat days are for, right?

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Dessert at Ruth Chris Steak House also put me on cloud 9.

Anyway, food is just a big part of my life. From the indulgent to the healthy I love them all!

I suppose my personal food mantra would be “go indulgent or go home…but only on cheat days.”

Cooked…A new perspective?

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Cooked. Digital image. Motherjones.com. Netflix, n.d. Web. .

I highly recommend this Netflix documentary titled “Cooked.” It tells a story all about food from a very interesting perspective. It takes people from all walks of life and shows you how everyone see’s cooking. The series does an amazing job highlighting how food differs from culture to culture and from person to person. However what really spoke to me was how it really highlights how important food is to everyone. No matter how different we all seem we do have this in common.

My main goal of this entire blog is showcase how food brings us all together. It is a unifying factor for everyone and that is what makes it so amazing. This series shows how food is prepared across all cultures. It helps the viewer make connections to others they hadn’t thought about before and introduces you to some cool new ways of thinking.

I attached the trailer for the show.

Cooked