Recycla has been working on a fun project with her daughters this summer: She’s teaching them how to cook. And by cooking, Recycla means cooking real food from scratch, not assembling pre-packaged ingredients.
While there are plenty of people who default to eating McFood or mixing up boxes of this ‘n’ that because they think it’s quicker or easier or less expensive, Recycla is here to tell that it’s not so. Every day across America, thousands of people make the same choice. They opt for convenience over nutrition, flavor, and cost.
There is a better option — slow food. And that is what Recycla has been teaching her daughters.
Slow food is good food.
Slow food is real food.
Slow food is healthy food.
Slow food is less expensive than fast food.
The Slow Food movement began in Italy over 20 years ago as a reaction to the culinary horrors of fast food and has since spread to nearly all corners of the globe. The objectives of the Slow Food movement include, but are not limited to:
- educating consumers about the risks of fast food
- educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms
- lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering
- lobbying against the use of pesticides
- teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners
- and more
Slow Food is about bringing back traditions that sustained humans for centuries but that are now being lost to the conveniences of fast food.
What can you do?
The most important thing is not to eat McCrap. Instead, prepare your own meals. Easier said than done, right? However, even if you cook only a couple of nights a week, it’s better than nothing. And these don’t have to be lavish, multi-course affairs. Pasta tossed with some chopped tomatoes and freshly-grated Parmesan will take 20-25 minutes. Omelettes and frittatas take 20 minutes. A Greek salad can take 15 minutes.
And that is what Recycla is teaching her daughters. While she has long involved them in the kitchen and the girls already know a lot, this summer the girls are helping her plan meals for the week; they are going with her to the go to the grocery store, farmers’ market, and/or local organic butcher to get the food supplies; and then they are cooking alongside her in the kitchen. So far, the girls have made dinners as simple as pasta tossed with frozen vegetables to the slightly-more-involved baked chicken and mashed potatoes to the even-more-involved spaghetti and meatballs. Each meal has involved simple ingredients — no pre-packaged foods — and nothing has taken inordinate amounts of time to prepare.
Recycla will admit that it’s a bit more work for her to show her girls step-by-step what they need to do than if she just does the cooking herself. However, all humans need to eat; therefore, they need to learn how to cook. Recycla is going beyond just teaching her daughters how to follow a recipe — she’s explaining to them HOW and WHY things are in the kitchen so that they’ll understand the basic processes of cooking. She’s also teaching them basic kitchen skills that everyone should know — for example, how to use a knife properly and safely. (By the way, Recycla highly recommends In the Green Kitchen by Alice Waters, which teaches readers all the necessary basic kitchen skills.)
At this point, Recycla’s pre-teen daughters know how to do a lot, but there’s always more that they can learn.Eventually, she knows that they’ll be able to prepare a meal from start to finish without her input and she knows that day is coming soon.
In the larger scheme of things, Recycla is not only giving her daughters valuable life skills, she’s also creating memories with them — baking a birthday cake for their grandfather, inviting some friends over and working as a team to make ice cream and brownies for their sleepover, making their father’s favorite dinner and listening to him shower them with compliments for a delicious meal, and more. The girls are having a lot of fun, which is important because cooking should not be a burden.
Tell the Eco Women: Do you cook? If so, how much? How old were you when you learned how to cook?