Cooking Is Good For You

Omnivore's Dilemma
Omnivore’s Dilemma

This seems like a logical point: cooking food you select from a grocery store or farmers’  market is better for you than purchasing pre-cooked food, for a myriad of reasons. Luckily for me, I like to cook; I enjoy the creativity of the act of melding carrots, peppers and lentils, and so on. I’m also lucky that I have a kitchen in my office, as I am able to prepare lunch too.

[Michael Pollan] says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”

When you cook, you choose the ingredients: “And you’re going to use higher-quality ingredients than whoever’s making your home-meal replacement would ever use. You’re not going to use additives. So the quality of the food will automatically be better.

“You’re also not going to cook much junk. I love French fries, but how often are you going to cook them? It’s too hard and messy. But when they’re made at the industrial scale, you can have French fries three times a day. So there’s something in the very nature of home cooking that keeps us from getting into trouble.”

“We do find time for activities we value, like surfing the Internet or exercising,” says Pollan. “The problem is we’re not valuing cooking enough. Who do you want cooking your food, a corporation or a human being? Cooking isn’t like fixing your car or other things it makes sense to outsource. Cooking links us to nature, it links us to our bodies. It’s too important to our well-being to outsource.”

And yet Big Food has convinced most of us: “No one has to cook! We’ve got it covered.” This began 100 years ago, but it picked up steam in the ’70s, when Big Food made it seem progressive, even “feminist,” not to cook. Pollan reminded me of KFC’s brilliant ad campaign, which sold a bucket of fried chicken with the slogan “Women’s Liberation.”


(click here to continue reading Michael Pollan Cooks! –

Tangentially related, based on the amount of national news based in Boston, I wanted to make a cocktail called Ward 8, supposedly of Boston origin. However, most recipes called for grenadine. Ewww. As Wikipedia so primly puts it:

As grenadine is subject to minimal regulation, its basic flavor profile can alternatively be obtained from a mixture of blackcurrant juice and other fruit juices with the blackcurrant flavor dominating. To reduce production costs however, the food industry has widely replaced fruit bases with artificial ingredients. The Mott’s brand “Rose’s”, by far the most common grenadine brand in the United States, is presently formulated using (in order of concentration): high fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate, FD&C Red #40, natural and artificial flavors, and FD&C Blue #1.

(click here to continue reading Grenadine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

That doesn’t sound like a real ingredient to me. I’ll have to look for some actual pomegranate syrup to use in the future. I went instead with Rye, lemon juice and a splash of Cointreau. Not a Ward 8, but whatcha gonna do?

 Lion's Pride Organic Rye Whiskey

Lion’s Pride Organic Rye Whiskey

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