What's for dinner? If parents had a dime for every time this question was asked by their children, they'd be rich, as the saying goes. Food and eating have been time consuming pursuits since the beginning of time. Although we don't have to spend nearly every waking moment working to meet this need as early man, we nonetheless expend a good amount of time in this area. Unlike ages past, we also have to deal with a myriad of health issues from the consequences of our sedentary lifestyles, overeating due to the ease in which we can obtain food, and the tainted sources of our food with pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and additives that our bodies cannot handle. So what's a person to do? Go back to some of the old-fashioned cooking of by-gone days with wholesome ingredients and meals prepared from scratch in the home.
You don't have to go back to our friend of prior columns, "The Everyday Cookbook" from 120 years ago and used by this columnists' grandmother and great grandmother, to find good recipes. It does offer good advice however on the importance of good cooking. It states that, "Of all the arts upon which the physical well-being of man is dependent, none has been more neglected than cookery, though none is more important, for it supplies the very fountain of life." It needs to be wholesome, nutritive, and agreeable to the palate. Soups, meats, vegetable and bread recipes are prevalent in the book. The basic "family bread" recipe provides some detail, but it is evident by what is left out in the directions that it was assumed people already knew the basics in making bread. Too many people of today would be lost if they had to make bread from this book because it has simply become a lost art. The good news is that directions can be found in many contemporary cookbooks with all the minute details that we just don't know anymore. More good news is that you only need yeast, water, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and unbleached flour. Try reading a label of store-bought bread, see all the other ingredients, and then realize why homemade is tastier and better for your health. After a time of eating homemade bread, even the more expensive breads in the store will not compare and have a noticeable chemical taste, as was our personal experience so noted by even the children.
Speaking of bread products, one fun and contemporary recipe not found 120 years ago is pizza. Popular with most people, why not try making one from scratch? You can choose your own ingredients without preservatives and make it as healthy as you want. The crust is very easy when just following the directions on the back of a whole wheat flour package such as Hodgson Mill. We like to make a true vegetable-lover's pizza by first spreading pesto sauce (blend of olive oil and spices available in small jars at store) and layering other vegetables to taste. A thick layer of fresh spinach leaves is very good, followed by multi-colored peppers, red onion, broccoli florets, black olives, banana peppers, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, etc. It is a rainbow of color to behold both before and after cooking.
Good old-fashioned cooking prepared foods from scratch such as vegetable pizza, bread, strawberry freezer jam, shortcake with real whipped cream and potato salad.
As depicted in the photo, one summer treat had several "whole" food items at once. In addition to the bread and pizza, there was strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream with local berries as well as potato salad. The frozen strawberry jam is easy to make and a yearly tradition to prepare enough to last the whole year. Interestingly, the use of real whipping cream will make the taste of store-bought leave another chemical taste in your mouth. Eat more real food and be healthier.
Make it a good week and try a good old-fashioned recipe, Mary and Rosamond