Reclaiming the Home Kitchen 10/06

October 2006

Edmontonians are shaking in their hungry little boots as a result of a story recently published in the local paper. It turns out the health and safety practices in some of our city’s restaurants are frequently below acceptable standards. Despite dangerous practices these restaurants remain open. Now, for the first time ever, the names of these restaurants are being made available to the public.

Yikes! Where will we eat if our favorite eatery turns up with egg on their face?

As my wise client pointed out, “Why don’t people eat at home?” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

With nary a survey, I’m going to suggest people don’t eat at home because of these three reasons.

1) Time. Most people are amazingly busy.

2) Convenience. Food and restaurants are everywhere. There is no need to pack or prepare food.

3) Priorities. People haven’t made it important to eat at/or from home due to reasons 1) and 2) time and convenience.

In our culture eating out is so prevalent that home cooking is becoming a lost art. Many children don’t know you can actually make pizza . . . from flour. And rice krispie squares needn’t come from tiny, individually wrapped packages. Ultimately we must do what we must do. Making homemade pizza isn’t important in the scheme of things. But preparing our own food of some description is, because our bodies are built from the foods with which we supply them.

When we eat in restaurants we are often subjected to ridiculously large portions, high fat content and a short supply of vegetables and fruit. Let’s not forget what the recent headlines confirm. Our health is hardly the primary concern of many restaurateurs.

So, take your health in your own hands. Reclaim your kitchen. Make eating at home more important. Once you do so, it will become easier – even when you don’t have a lot of time.

If you’re relying heavily on restaurants and convenience foods because you’re short of time, consider these ideas.

Plan – even if it’s just one day at a time. The key lies in having groceries to work with. It’s no fun to get home late AND hungry and then try to create and execute a delectable meal.

Avoid starvation. Make sure you have a healthy snack handy so you can prepare a meal without “papa bear coming out of hibernation” kind of urgency. Look after your bear cubs in the same way.

Keep it simple. Keep each meal to 2 or 3 foods. Make one-dish meals. Supplement fresh foods with something prepared by your local grocer or M & M Foods. Cook once and get two or three meals by freezing leftovers or packing them for lunch the next day. For lunches or meals on the run, remember the portability of foods like raw fruit and vegetables. Have eggs. What could be simpler than that?

Share the load. If you don’t have time, talent or interest in chicken plucking, perhaps there is someone in your household who does. Plucking aside, don’t underestimate to who and what tasks you can delegate.

After a few weeks of great home grub, take all the money you’ve saved from NOT eating in mediocre restaurants and dine out at a really fine restaurant that didn’t make the news. Now that’s an experience worth having.

In the meantime, don’t forget to practice cleanliness and safe handling of foods. After all, this is all about good health.

Say, haven’t you lost a few pounds?