All green, nature, and sustainability posts have been moved to Loving Nature's Garden

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cooking - 10 Attributes to Positively Influence Your Family and Community and How to Grow Them #4

This is part 4 of a 10 part series. Read part 1...

#4 = cooking

My kids say I'm a good cook. I'm not talking here about gourmet cooking; I'm not someone who spends hours in the kitchen following recipes, or who watches cook shows on TV then shops for ingredients and creates fabulous meals. Artist Girl says my style of cooking is Comfort Food. It's just fairly plain and wholesome.

My best cooking uses simple, wholesome, inexpensive ingredients - the fewer the better. It's done without a recipe book. It's the food that reminds you of happy grandmas who put love into what they do and who are economical and can make-do in the kitchen. It's a mix of the frugal cooking I watched Gran do every Monday, incorporating the little adventures Mom made with the aid of recipe books, and my own sense of what tastes right, using whatever I have to hand.

Kids need to know how to cook basic food. Adults can benefit from ideas on being more frugal - saving time and energy in their meal preparation. Let's explore cooking up some good, wholesome, comfort food!
  • If you're an adult and the closest you've come to preparing dinner is lifting the phone to order pizza don't despair. You can learn to Cook Like a Grown-Up. Joylynn is doing it and you can too!
  • has plenty of links on home cooking. They have Cooking 101 and also plenty of classic recipes. It looks like a good place to start if you need some new ideas or just want to increase your skills.
  • Recipes at Home Cooking Recipe Box look to be straightforward and use basic ingredients. Many of the recipes have accompanying photos, always a help when deciding whether something will look appealing!
  • You can take online classes at Dinner Made Simple. Hmmm... that looks intriguing.
  • How about going to a live cooking demonstration? Places you might find demonstrations include farmers markets, ethnic festivals, and local TV stations.
  • One of the most fun field trips I've done with my kids was to a local herb and spice store. Other ideas are ethnic food stores, candy factories, and ethnic restaurants. If your kids are at all adventurous it's fun to try foods from different parts of the world. For world cooking at home I can recommend the Usborne Children's World Cookbook. It's full of yummy foods with additional information and internet links to learn about the countries.
  • Your kids can learn the joy of giving by baking cookies or preparing a meal for a friend or neighbor. They might even want to sell cookies or brownies to raise money for their favorite cause.
  • Learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and shop locally.
  • There are plenty of lesson plans related to food and cooking. AtoZTeacherStuff has a multitude of ideas that relate food to all areas of the curriculum. KidsCookingActivities has explanations of which skills different ages are ready to learn with age appropriate ideas. EducationWorld has lots of food and nutrition ideas, and this site has links on everything from agriculture and forestry to food science.
  • If all this talk of food has made you hungry, you might head off for a simple, healthy snack of peeled carrots, or wholewheat bread with sunflower butter. If you want a book to look at while you are snacking, check out Starting Cooking (a favorite in our home for the last 8 years), Pasta and Pizza for Beginners, or the absolutely fabulous Children's Book of Baking with photos that make your mouth water and not a hydrogenated fat in sight.
Do let me know your favorite cookbook, style of cooking, or your kid's favorite food.

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