“It is never to late to find your way in the kitchen.” – Authors Corky, Lori, Dana & Tracy Pollan
“What’s for dinner?”
“Is there any food??”
Yes, it’s true. If you have a family, they WILL want dinner, every… single… night.
We’ve all been there… sometimes by dinnertime, you’re just not feeling creative, energetic or inspired enough to drive to the grocery store and buy raw ingredients to put together in the form of dinner.
So you speed dial for pizza delivery in the car pick up lane at school, buy what you think is “good quality” processed food, or carry out from a “healthy” place- for a stir fry or bean burrito.
I believe that you can do better and reach higher.
Will you join me in changing the food culture here in America?
Simply begin with one home cooked dinner a week. Then two nights a week, then three… until pretty soon, you are actually
And this cookbook can help.
We ALL need to bring the focus back to the family table and real food. In order to do that, you might need some reference material, like a few good cookbooks. Now is the time to further develop your children’s taste buds, and yours.
I spent this week cooking from The Pollan Family Table Cookbook. While doing so, i had four goals.
1.) Is it easy and helpful for me to put dinner on the table?
2.) Do they use real food in their recipes?
3.) What is their philosophy on food & family?
4.) Does it taste good enough for my family to eat it? Especially my kids?
And i had a busy week, just like you:
Monday i took down holiday decorations (and i’m telling you i go ALL OUT) and moved them into storage. Whew. And i had a “date day” planned with my husband while the kids were in school. But i made Spaghetti Aglio E Olio and Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips. (Kind of wish i had MY sisters and mom helping me flip those zucchini circles! Ha ha) I even had time for a short run!
Tuesday one daughter had a half day at school while our other daughter had a dental appointment to have three teeth pulled. Homework needed to get done. Doctors orders were “soft food.” I found a healthy version of her favorite soup in this cookbook, so I made Creamless Broccoli Soup with Whole Roasted Garlic and Frizzled Leeks.
Wednesday i had a mandatory work day due to inventory. However, i planned ahead and turned out a Citrus-Roasted Chicken with Grand Marnier, thus spoiling my husband. :)
Thursday after biking the kids to school, i had six glorious hours all to myself. I first had to do my sink full of dishes from last night’s meal. It was my turn to work, so i needed to find a meal for my family that they could reheat when they got home from jumping around with their daddy at a trampoline house. But my husband’s car battery died and he had to take MY car to work! No car? No problem!
Ever since i got my bike i’ve dreamed of filling my front basket with groceries. :) And now i finally got to do it!
I got home and whipped up a Jalapeño, Pork, & Hominy Chili! While making the puree of garlic, onions, jalapeños and broth, i think i breathed in for the first time that day… ahhhh. My senses were awakened…
Here she is below, looking all beautiful…
Friday, I helped prep, cook and clean all day- but not for me or my family! About 4 months ago, out of my passion for food education, I snagged a job assisting chefs with their culinary classes! (They have the culinary degree- i do not. But i’m proud to call myself a home cook! And you should be too!) So for this day, i needed a fast dish so i could put my feet up and RELAX after the busy week.
I quickly dredged dover sole fish in milk and flour, sautéed a couple of minutes each side in butter, parsley, lemon & capers, and in no time i made a french Classic Sole Meuniere.
It made me remember one of my favorite dishes from my childhood that i had forgotten- Sole Amandine. (I paired it with some boiled potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts.)
Is it quick and simple? Well, if you count planning, grocery shopping, chopping, cooking and cleaning up afterwards… everyday…honestly… it takes some time and energy.
But anything worth striving for usually does.
This week, my children ate zucchini, parsley, leeks, potatoes, broccoli, lots of onion, jalapeños, cilantro, lots of garlic & more!
The more you meal plan and cook, the better you get at it. Here are three tips:
1.) Pick out a few recipes you think your family would like, make printed copies of them, and stick them in your purse, car, whatever. Then when you find yourself at the store, whip them out. Viola, you are organized! I’ve been winging it like this for a while now, and it works. This year i’m going to try to take it a step further and actually pick out at least three recipes in the beginning of the week and make time sometime that week to cook them.
2.) The second tip, is “mise en place,” which they mention in The Pollan Family Cookbook. It is french for everything in its place. Before you begin cooking, do ALL the prep work. Then, when the kiddos have a question with homework, or the dog wants food, or their pencil broke, or they need a new eraser, the phone rings, etc., you won’t break a sweat.
3.) It is so nice to already have the ingredients on hand, so maybe shop the day before you plan to cook to take some of the burden off- unless you are buying something like fish, then the “day of” is best! Also don’t forget to ask, gently persuade, bribe or DEMAND (LOL) help with the dishes. I should talk- i’m bad at asking for help. It’s a good thing my husband does dishes (and laundry.) (Thank you God.)
I found that this cookbook did offer my family “user-friendly’ recipes using real ingredients. The Pollan philosophy is simply to…
COOK MORE AT HOME & EVERYONE EAT THE SAME MEAL.
Restaurant chains, fast food joints, and other types of eateries may use more fat, salt and sugar than we would use at home, to make their food taste better. They also may use cheaper ingredients, chemicals and fillers. Most establishments are thinking taste and profit, not health and quality.
Sharing the same meal- not short order cooking- is a goal we should strive for- unless of course allergies or diet restrictions. There is something very communal, warm and satisfying about politely digging into the same bowl, pot or platter. It sets a certain mood or tone- satisfying the soul.
Family members, including children, in a perfect world, should be expected to pitch in to help grocery shop, set the table, help chop or clean up. (This is what i need to work on a bit more.)
While cooking from this book, it’s nice to keep in mind that recipes are guidelines– so feel free to make adaptations to suit your family’s table.
In fact, the cookbook is so wonderful, i am
giving away one copy of The Pollan Family Cookbook
to whoever can win me over with your answer to this question…
“Why do you want to cook more home cooked meals?”