Aug 07 2009

A Homemade Challenge

Published by at 8:00 am under Challenge

A homemade challenge, where anything goes, as long as it’s been made from scratch.

Michael Pollan has been on a mission to get us all back into the kitchen and away from processed foods. In his latest essay, he talks of the popularity of cooking shows and that surprisingly (or not), cooking shows don’t inspire the viewer to cook, just to watch more television. Sometimes I’m guilty of that, as well. I enjoy getting ideas from shows, and the really good shows draw you in and share a story. But I don’t always immediately run to the kitchen. It is relaxing and even heart-warming to watch someone else cook, and I suppose my love affair with the Barefoot Contessa stems from an invocation of memories, of watching my mother and grandmother cook, of anxiously awaiting the fruits of their efforts. But frankly, sometimes a mentally draining day is physically draining as well, and it’s just easier to pick up a sandwich from the deli; after a particularly trying day, I’ve even been known to sneak over to Taco Bell to pick up something I could quite easily make for myself in the same amount of time.

Pollan’s essay brings up an interesting, though not surprising, point that we’d all be better off if we did our own cooking. But what exactly does “cooking” entail? As a child, if I had a purchased pizza crust, pizza sauce, a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, and a package of sliced mushrooms, you better believe I would have taken credit for “cooking dinner” if I’d assembled them all and baked them. As an adult, I don’t call that cooking any more than I’d call a Lean Cuisine or Kraft Macaroni & Cheese cooking. To me, cooking utilizes ingredients, though the definition of such can be a  bit subjective, I admit.

I started to wonder, could I even accomplish cooking everything from scratch?

I’ve decided to try it, for a minimum of 30 days, and I will blog all about it. August just may be the best time of all to test this out. When it’s hot and humid, who wants to turn on the oven? How many nights have I enjoyed a sandwich for dinner when I didn’t want to cook? But wait a second, if I didn’t feel like baking bread that day or cooking some meat, how exactly would I eat a sandwich?!?! You see where I am going with this.

I hope you’ll follow along as I embark on my journey. If you decide to give yourself a similar challenge, please let me know how you’re doing in the comments section!

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