Published July-08-05
 
 
Eddy's Recipes from
It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
Kosher cooking by Eddy Robey M.A.
 
  Issue: 6.07
 
How to avoid fast foods.
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As a cost-saving measure, most public secondary schools have eliminated Home Economics from the curriculum. At the same time, officials bemoan the emotional and physical health of students who have too little attention from busy parents, and too much fast food. The paradox of this situation is obvious to those of us fortunate enough to have been educated during a time when schools recognized the importance of youngsters being trained to manage the business of everyday life in an efficient fashion.

For decades: dedicated instructors taught students to keep a household budget, make and care for clothing, purchase and prepare food, use and care for appliances, maintain hygienic conditions, as well as how to make and keep a schedule. Sadly, most young people now enter the adult world with little information about how these tasks can be accomplished.

Which brings me to the reason for this piece. In my other column this month, I say that it is possible to do laundry, shop, and pre-prepare most of a week's dinners in the space of a morning. Although many readers may have doubted that, it is true, by adopting the correct attitude.

The decision to be made is whether you are a person who wants to be actively in charge of your life. Not everyone wants this. There are many folks who proclaim the virtue of spontaneity. Unfortunately, most of them also complain about how there aren't enough hours in a day to care for their families.

This topic is too large to be discussed in full here, but we can cover a small part of it, how to ensure that your refrigerator will be stocked with enough healthy food to avoid eating nutritional rubbish from the take-out.

1. set aside 30 minutes a week to plan and write a shopping list. This needn't be done all at once, but it is of critical importance. When you enter a market, you should know what you need to feed your family for the coming week, and not waste time dawdling in the aisles whilst waiting for inspiration. The list should include a roll of nonstick coated aluminum foil, so as to avoid lengthy scrubbing of pans. Note: both milk and bread may be stored in the freezer, so there is no reason to make a midweek trip.

2. When thinking about the week's meals, include dual-purpose foods. What do I mean by that? If you buy a large chicken, lamb roast, and/or brisket: there will be enough meat for more than one dinner as well as sandwiches. Chinese chicken salad, pita sandwiches, tacos, and That beef lettuce rollups are all examples of foods which begin with cooked meats. Another example of a dual-purpose food is a bag of potatoes. Unpeeled, whole cooked potatoes will keep for a week in the refrigerator. They may be mashed, browned in a bit of margarine, or dressed with mayonnaise and seasoned for a salad.

3. Be sure you own enough containers to store the food you cook, as well as enough pans to do the cooking.

4. Be a multi-tasker. Roast the chicken and lamb in the oven at the same time. Cut the brisket in half, then put the halves in two different pots. Braise them on top of the stove: one half with red wine or broth, and the other perhaps with Italian tomato sauce. Chop and brown a whole bag of onions, so they will be ready for whenever you'd like to add them to a dish. Cook pasta, and toss with a little oil, so it will only need to be reheated and served.

5. Frozen vegetables need only be thawed for use; the freezing process breaks down cellulose in the same way cooking does. Store the vegetable bags in the refrigerator, rather than the freezer, so the contents will be ready to heat, or use cold in salads.

Whew, that sure sounds like a lot of grub to me! Every bit can be bought, cooked, packaged, and stored during a single morning. Oh, and you can run the washer/dryer at the same time. Now, why don't you go spend the rest of the day at the park?
 



Copyright 2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
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