Happy Friday Eve, awesome readers!
You’re in for a treat! Today’s post is written by my friend* and FoodRetro.com blogger, Anne Radcliffe.
*She’s a food blogger. I’m the queen of #KitchenFails. The fact that we’re friends both delights and intimidates me. If this is your first time here, you may want to read this to understand what I just said.
Mona was so kind to write me a hilarious post to fill in for me while I was on vacation. And then she did me one better: she asked me to reciprocate! I joyously accepted and told her I’d need a few days because I had many paying clients to take care of first. Then I promptly pushed all my work to one side and wrote the post anyway.
Many forms of cooking and baking are an advanced practice and requires either an advanced degree (or related experience) in Practical Chemistry or Obsessive Compulsive Recipe-Reading Disorder (OCRRD).
We are going to start with more basic techniques and work our way up to a salad.
Food can be found at various respectable vendors including grocery stores and farmers. Ideal food for cooking will be mostly whole, generally uncooked, minimally packaged, and hopefully indicates somewhere that it came from a country not widely known to have gross food quality negligence and export standards (*cough* China).
You should not be swayed in your choice by price tags alone, as price is not an indication of quality or proof of being real food.
Beware of imitators, “food,” which usually come in boxes and have ingredient labels with words you cannot pronounce. Any words that you may be able to pronounce will most likely describe colours and flavours that have been added to the “food” which is designed to keep people from eating the cardboard box the “food” came from instead.
Raw food comes in two varieties: plant and animal. If it falls into a category you can only describe as “other,” this is not food. Perhaps you are in the laundry aisle. Attached is a helpful diagram to help you locate the food in the supermarket:
Plant-based food should come in a variety of rainbow-like colours. If you are new to plant-based foods in their raw form, observe others in the produce aisle. They will examine the food for ripeness and spoilage by conducting a series of visual, tactile and olfactory tests.
Raw food made from animals should not come in a variety of rainbow-like colours. It should fall into a range between flesh-pink (chicken or turkey), a deeper pink (pork) and red (beef). If you cannot visually inspect the food, it is probably “food” and should be avoided.
What To “Do” With Food:
To enjoy raw plant-based food, simply wash thoroughly, peel away the rind (if applicable), and enjoy! You may also chop several different types of food into bite-size portions and combine it in a bowl. Some plant-foods like potatoes must be roasted or boiled for a period of time to be properly enjoyed, but that’s another post.
It should be noted that water alone is considered ineffective for cleansing much commercial plant-based food. Fruit like apples may have been treated with a variety of waxes and chemicals to make the food prettier and less tasty to insects (and incidentally, you). I recommend a thorough scrub in water with vinegar to help break down the waxes, or a chemical called “baking soda,” a grocery store “other” category item which you can discover in the baking aisle. Delicate leafy foods may simply be well-rinsed.
Animal-based food must be cooked thoroughly for safe consumption. If you have a tendency to set things on fire, you may wish to master the art of raw food (plants only) first.
How to Make Food Tasty:
Unlike “food,” most plant-based food has been magically granted tastiness in its raw form and requires little additional seasoning. If additional seasoning is desired, first recommend combining the food with other tasty plant foods, such as tomatoes, leafy strong-smelling herbs such as cilantro or dill, onions, or fruit.
Once a tasty and colourful plant combination is achieved, advanced seasoning techniques can incorporate less-obvious food items like nuts and cheeses. For further study, range into combinations of healthy and flavourful oils such as a spoonful of Extra Virgin Olive Oil mixed with just a few drops of Apple Cider or Balsamic Vinegar.
White vinegar, while more economically priced in a gallon jug, is best saved for cleaning and industrial use.
Food from animals is also frequently seasoned by nature to our taste preferences (with fat), however most grocery stores strip the extra layer of fat away. This may also affect cooking the meat, as things like boneless, skinless chicken breasts will stick to pans without oil or liquid. To season meat, experiment judiciously with very small quantities of salt and pepper or leafy herbs.
Remember: it’s always easier to add more than it is to take it away!
You have now prepared yourself a meal of real food! I won’t spoil it for you by telling you how healthy it is. Just bask in the satisfaction that you have successfully fed yourself without having to call the Fire Department!
– Anne Radcliffe, FoodRetro.com