Cooking From Scratch: A Cure for What Ails You or a Pain in the Ass?

August 26, 2009 at 12:02 am 3 comments

No one's arguing over who gets to do the dishes...

No one's arguing over who gets to do the dishes...

It’s Wednesday night, and Jon and Jeff are in the kitchen arguing over who gets to use the stand mixer to make the next batch of butter … My guess is Jeff will win.  To him, the moment that cream turns into butter is “magical.”

As I reach the halfway mark of this project, I’m finding that there’s something truly remarkable about food science — the transformations that turn milk into cheese or yogurt, cream into butter, and flour and yeast into bread.  That’s the good stuff. But at the end of the day, nobody argues over who gets to do the dishes.

The U-District Farmers Market

The U-District Farmers Market

A Cure for What Ails You
When I first set my goal of 30 days of eating from scratch, I was excited about all the benefits I would reap.  I would shop at the local farmers market more, I would see improvements in my digestive/allergy  issues, I would learn about food and save money, and maybe — just maybe — I would lose some weight.

Most of those things have turned out to be true — but with a few caveats.  When it comes to the digestive issues, all I know is that I feel a difference.  It might be that I’m eating less meat, or that I’m eating less in general.  While I have lost some weight, it’s because a.) all the whole milk dairy products are so filling that I eat less, and b.) I’m rationing/portioning my food so I’m not constantly cooking.  I guess that’s what Americans call the French diet.

A Pain in the Ass
But let’s not be Pollyannaish about this either.  The truth is, I’m sleep-deprived, I’m losing my voice, I’ve been skipping yoga, my left eye is starting to twitch, and all my conversations revolve around food.  After a day at work, it kind of sucks to come home, cook, and then deal with the dishes.  And the thing is, you pretty much have to deal with the dishes right away, or you’re stuck with a pile the next day when all you want to do is cook dinner. (On a side note, I could REALLY go for some sushi right now…)

It’s also important to note that I’ve had a LOT of help.  I mean, as we speak (or don’t speak, since I have no voice), Jeff is in the kitchen taking a second stab at mozzarella after our first failed attempt. I’ve also had a sous chef in the form of Jon, and amazing dinners prepared by friends the last two nights in a row.  While I’m learning a lot about the need to plan ahead, cook in large batches, and keep the kitchen clean, I also know there’s a lot I need to figure out to make this sustainable day to day.

I have no intention of giving up, though, and I wouldn’t trade any of the discoveries I’ve made.  There’s something pretty awesome about crowding around the kitchen, like we’re observing a life-changing science experiment, and getting excited about the simple things — like the magical moment cream turns into butter.


Entry filed under: Dairy, Equipment, Preparation. Tags: , , .

Is That a Loaf of Bread, or Are You Just Happy to See Me? No Point Having Cake If You Can’t Eat It, Too

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sharleen  |  August 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    I am really impressed by the hard work you’ve put into this and am so appreciative that you’ve shared the experience. Thanks for the link to the book about the “French diet” – I’m curious to learn more!

  • 2. Charmaine  |  September 10, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I envy you for having 2 chefs in your kitchen. I always have to do everything alone, no assistance.

    • 3. shiwanis  |  September 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

      Yeah, I keep telling people that this experiment probably wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have someone sharing the cooking with me from time to time. There’s no question that I end up trying more ambitious things because I know someone will help with the chopping or do the dishes afterwards. I know I’m a lucky gal 🙂


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