Who can resist the mouth-watering pictures in a cookbook? Who doesn’t have childhood memories of the fragrances that wafted from the kitchen on holidays, and even on regular, ordinary days? Spices, bread baking, cookies fresh out of the oven – all these trigger a deep longing in most of us. As eating holds a guaranteed spot in everybody’s daily schedule, so do those who prepare it. They have become the uncrowned gods and goddesses of our lives.
Real cooking consists of more than opening a can with a dull picture of green beans on the front, or popping a TV dinner from a wax-covered box into the oven or microwave. The true goal of cooking is to nourish these marvelous bodies that we live in, to allow them to grow and express vitality and strength, to keep them healthy and able to overcome environmental germs and bacteria. Summarized in one word, the main purpose of cooking is heath!
When does a fruit or vegetable (or any baked item) furnish us with the most nutrition? The experts feel that food grown in one’s own environment will usually contain the most nutrition. Freshly harvested food provides the maximum nutritional value. After a fruit or vegetable has been sitting for several days, or transported around the world, the value of the vitamins and minerals diminishes.
The best means of ‘cooking’ fruits and vegetables for their health value is to eat them raw in salads or as snacks. As soon as heat is applied, a good quantity of the nutrition is destroyed. A good cook can prepare a beautiful plate with the natural colors of freshly picked fruits and vegetables.
Genetically engineered food has infiltrated the growing of almost all crops. This procedure didn’t exist until the last decade, and it remains highly controversial as the long range effect on humans has never been tested.
Briefly described, this procedure consists of infecting a healthy seed or grain with various bacteria or insects to lengthen its shelf life, to make it look ‘pretty’ for the consumer long after the nutritional value has dissolved. This not only has a negative effect on one’s health, but leaves the cook with a less than delicious product to serve.
Cooking with natural foods that are organically grown (that means with no harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers) gives today’s health conscious cooks the best chance to delight in the time spent shopping and in the kitchen. Whipping up a carrot cake that will enchant both family and friends (best make two cakes while you’re at it), or preparing a quick but nutritious breakfast so the body will gleefully handle the challenges of the day without needing to be drugged by coffee or caffeine, make heading for the kitchen the favorite part of the day! Truly the cook is the god of the household!