Today, something new: A GUEST POST!
Gail Becker, an amazing mom and an amazing cook, shares her thoughts about vintage food. Her six classic tips can help any mom put healthy, tasty food on the table every night of the week.
Here is Gail's take on real-food-more-fat cooking for a family:
Classic Cooking Practices Create Healthier Eating
By Gail Becker
The best gift I ever got from my mother was her appreciation of delicious home-cooked meals. Back in the 60s and 70s, when kids roamed the neighborhood with their friends, playing kick the can, kickball or baseball, every night around dinner time, all the moms would ring a bell, signaling not only a great meal but quality time with the family.
Those were simple times with simple meals. The prep time for a dinner was usually under an hour and the food choices our parents had were fewer but healthier. Now, in an era of processed food and too many choices, today's mothers find themselves easily overwhelmed by the idea of coordinating hot dishes which simultaneously arrive on the dinner table just when the family sits down to eat. If you stop at your local grocery store, you'll see that the number of prepared meals has increased in the last decade, signaling the lost hope many parents have in cooking a simple but enjoyable dinner.
But the modern American diet is failing millions of families as they concentrate on the wrong foods and pay little attention to what's going into their meals. Vintage cooking, in which nutrient dense foods predominate one's diet, will not only help reduce America's rising obesity rates but it will also address the issue of inflammation, a big factor in many chronic diseases.
Since parents are the lead educators on helping our children to eat right, teaching our children by example is the smartest and most immediate way to change the direction of their health and the health of our country. There is no need to be overwhelmed if you follow a vintage eater’s classic cooking practices:
Tip #1 Avoid Eating Processed Foods
If people haven't been consuming something for hundreds of years, it is probably not healthy enough to eat. Think about "Little House on the Prairie" books. Ice cream and butter were churned, soups were made by bone broth and food was smoked for flavor. Nothing was processed chemically like half the products in today's market.
Tip #2 Choose Organic Whenever Possible
Back in the mid 1900's, all the animals that were part of our food chain ate grass that was free of chemicals and no one used pesticides in their gardens so it is a wise choice to eat organic whenever possible. If buying organic produce becomes too costly, visit your local farmers market or get involved in a farm coop. Another option is to start your own home garden and grow tomatoes, basil and other costly produce/herbs. Produce treated with pesticides may be affecting the microbiome in our digestive systems, a possible cause in the increased incidence of dementia, autism and many other brain disorders.
Tip #3 Enhance Your Vitamin Absorption with Smoothies
Learn to purée or blend vegetables and fruits so that the vitamins within these foods are released. Fruits and veggies that are puréed are more easily digestible and stay in your stomach longer, making you feel full longer. Many foods can easily be processed in a blender, creating sauces, soups and smoothies and replacing dishes that are laden with sugar and sodium.
Tip #4 Choose Oils that Contain Real, Natural Fat
Be selective when cooking and baking with oils. Use only those that contain real, natural fat and limit the use of vegetable oils like canola, corn, Crisco and soy. The classic choice was cooking with butter but using heat stable oils such as coconut, olive, avocado and palm are also wise choices.
Tip #5 Create Simple Marinades and Dressings
When marinating foods, avoid using store-bought marinades. The best marinades are quickly and simply made: whisking together olive oil, garlic, and lime juice and marinating fish for five minutes is the easiest preparation. Adding salt, pepper and other spices to meat and poultry well in advance of grilling or roasting will ensure that it is very tender and has good flavor. The same tip can be applied to salad dressings; the simplest dressing is olive oil combined with either lemon or balsalmic.
Tip #6 Choose Snacks that Provide Long-Lasting Energy
Choose nuts, olives and avocados when snacking as they have plenty of naturally occurring fat, which is needed for normal growth and development of your body. These fats provide long-lasting energy and help you feel full longer.
I hope these classic tips that have been used for many generations will make it easier when preparing your own home-cooked meals. Remember, a sentimental mood is unable to say farewell to an unforgettable time. That's the way I feel about vintage cooking that originates from our parents and grandparents!