The Controversial Microwave

evil microwave cartoon

Within the "traditional foods movement", microwaves are often eschewed. I have come down on this issue in a different place than most and am going to discuss in this post why I do not think microwaves are evil.

microwaves & language issues

Much of the anti-microwave sentiment expressed is badly-worded language designed to make people without much of a science background feel nervous.

For example, it is said that microwaves heat food by using RADIANT ENERGY. But all light is radiant energy, from the sunlight allowing your skin to make vitamin D to the most basic cooking of all, over a campfire like our ancestors did all their cooking. The entire light spectrum is radiant energy! However, by saying it as if it's a scary word, there is the hope you will vaguely misunderstand and think that microwave ovens are radioactive, which is not the case.

cooking under pressure

Presto pressure cooker

(with accompaniment by the Piano Man)

Within the real food movement, pressure cookers are not as controversial as microwaves, but not nearly as beloved as crockpots.

Health-wise, what we know is that pressure cooking destroys lectins, a class of anti-nutrients, found in grains and beans. reference

Personally, I find a pressure cooker just ROCKS my kitchen.

how to get a bunch of meals from a half ham

half ham

There are a bazillion sites out there that tell you how to get 3 or 4 meals out of a whole chicken. I am going to tell you how to get 10-15 meals out of a half ham.

A ham is basically the butt and top bit of the leg off a pig, from the hip to the knee. This big piece is then cured and smoked to produce ham. Whether you get pastured pork, "uncured" ham without nitrates, or regular grocery-store stuff, you can usually get the best deal buying a half ham.

how to accomplish things when you're tired and in pain

fatigued and in pain

Ironically, I started writing this post before my two trips to Texas, 2 weeks in March and 4 weeks in April, that have left me very fatigued again through May, and thus quite late with this post!

There's 3 important reasons for me to continue to do as much as I can in spite of my disability:

  • the feeling of accomplishment
  • to retain and regain abilities
  • to avoid boredom

One of the big tricks of being able to do things while disabled has been to break tasks down into the smallest steps. This is why I can grow a garden of tomatoes, make sauce and can it, but risotto is hard for me. Risotto has a half hour where I have to stand and stir constantly, I can't break that down any further. But almost everything else, I can break down into small 5-10 minute steps.

I am going to illustrate what I mean with the simple task of doing the dishes:

Gluten-Free Snacks e-cookbook - launch & flash sale

gluten-free snacks e-cookbook cover

The largest problem folks have when they first go gluten-free, whether to treat celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is replacing all the ordinary gluteny foods with store-bought gluten-free junk food.

There's three problems with this. First off, junk food remains junk food even when it's gluten-free. Second, the stuff is massively overpriced. And finally, if I'm going to eat budget-busting junk food, it should at least TASTE good and most gluten-free stuff doesn't even come close to qualifying.

You pretty much have to do some cooking to survive a gluten-free diet with your health, wallet and taste buds intact.

if you really can't make broth

stockpot of broth

I recently posted about why I can't live without my homemade broth. For me, broth is second only to real pastured butter on my must-have's for both health and lusciousness.

However, in the spirit of my posts for Pat series, I admit everyone can't make homemade broth all the time.

I still encourage you to make broth when you can. Simmering a turkey carcass is easier than cleaning the roasting pan. A chicken carcass is small enough to be brothed in a crockpot, which means you won't have to babysit a stockpot.

But if you can't make enough to eat stock REGULARLY, which is crucial to good health, I have two possible solutions for you.

why bother cooking at all?

why bother cooking at all?

There is something inside me that finds sourcing good ingredients, preparing and cooking them, and providing my handiwork to an appreciative audience profoundly satisfying.

That is why I cook, I enjoy it and it feels good to me. I can justify it in all sorts of ways, but really, it feels good.

I have a hard time explaining to someone who doesn't have the same feelings about it why they should do it, but I'll give it a shot.

I must have my broth

That is a simple, basic fact of my life.

It all began with roasting my first turkey. After stashing the leftovers in the fridge and doing the dishes, I faced the roasting pan. It was full of the excess pan juices I hadn't used in making gravy, there were a lot of little bits of the meat that had been too fiddly to pull off the carcass and the roasting pan was too big to fit in my tiny apartment sink. So my solution to all of this was to fill the pan with water, throw in whatever spare carrots, celery, onions or parsley I had lying around, put it over 2 stove burners and simmer until broth happened.

I loved broth. My favorite comfort food all through college and graduate school was to cook a box of orzo, pastina, stelline or alphabets in broth so that the pasta cooked through just as it absorbed all the broth. I knew nothing about broth being a healthy food, and in fact, felt vaguely guilty when I ate a meal that consisted primarily of white flour. But I knew a bowl of teeny tiny pasta cooked in broth and covered with Parmesan made me feel good from my taste buds all the way down to my socks.

braised green beans

braised green beans recipe

Personally, I like green beans just fine simply steamed and dressed with loads of butter. I also like them dressed with olive oil and garlic. I don't think cooking green beans needs to be complicated.

Garlic is a theme for me with green beans. If I am more ambitious than just steaming, I like them roasted with garlic. Or another favorite green bean recipe is to stir-fry them with garlic. However, no matter how I make them, hubby just didn't like them until this recipe, now he eats them!

It's not particularly difficult, but must simmer for a half hour, so it fits into my repertoire best when I have just put something into the oven that will take an hour or so, like a meatloaf.

It works well with ordinary whole green beans or with Romano-type green beans. Frozen beans work well too, but you really want them to be whole, not cut.

March/April link love

link love

The biggest news in my world over the March-April time period was that Deductive Seasoning was on hiatus in April. This was due to my daughter's illness, which began in December as a diverticulitis flare and ended in April with surgery, with a detour through antibiotic-induced delirium that was extremely unnerving for everyone involved.

Several trips to Texas resulted with very little time for blogging what with hanging out at a hospital all day and night. During the blog's hiatus, Google recorded nearly as many hits as when I have a new post up every 3 days, causing me to wonder if I really need to write or not!

In non-blog news, we lost a plane. We keep mistaking trash in the ocean for debris as apparently there's a lot of trash in the ocean. The plane is just completely missing.

Russia took a bite out of the Ukraine, which is apparently not as good as taking a bite out of crime-a. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth seems to have occurred, but no actual consequences. A bunch of nuns were heard singing, 'How do you solve a problem like Crimea?'