I’ve written lots on this blog about my nutrition philosophy. Even though the science is sometimes confusing, one thing I firmly believe is that if we can eat like our great Grandmothers did (Real Food), we’ll probably do well.
Jenny of Nourished Kitchen, whose blog and facebook page I’ve been following for some time, has created a valuable resource for people who want to learn to cook like previous generations did.
It’s called How To Cook Real Food.
She took some time to answer a few questions I had about the class here.
* What made you want to offer How to Cook Real Food – is there a personal story for you?
In 2010, Nourished Kitchen was featured on CNN for its unique approach to real and traditional foods – which offered simple steps and support. Following that, we had an influx of readers who were desperate for more support and a concentrated course of online learning. Many of these readers were interested in learning to cook real food, but they had never learned how to properly cook – having grown up on boxed foods.
These readers wanted to know how to cook healthy whole foods, like those featured on Nourished Kitchen but simply didn’t know where to start. Others had read books like Nourishing Traditions but felt overwhelmed by the content and didn’t know how to incorporate the techniques recommended in that book into their daily lives.
At their request, I developed How to Cook Real Food which is a uniquely comprehensive multimedia class dedicated to traditional foods – providing video tutorials, worksheets, information about sourcing real and traditional foods.
Several years ago, but incorporating the techniques into my daily routine provide daunting: soaking grains and flour and fermenting vegetables seemed time-consuming, and without support for my new cooking techniques I wasted a lot of money and food through trial and error. After years of developing recipes and mastering these techniques, I finally got it right.
(Note from Carrie: That sounds familiar! My first attempt at homemade pickles and homemade raw milk yogurt failed utterly.)
In developing How to Cook Real Food, I wanted to provide support to newcomers that I never had – enabling them to save money, time and frustration by teaching them the techniques they needed to start off on the right track, right away.
* We hear a lot these days about “whole foods” and “clean eating”. Is How To Cook Real Foods similar to these schools of thought on nutrition?
The food philosophy at Nourished Kitchen is based on traditional foods – that is, we eat as we are meant to eat, celebrating ancestral foods and heritage cooking. It’s more than whole foods and clean eating; the ingredients we use and the methods we use were those that provided optimal health and nourishment for humans for thousands of years prior to the industrialization of our food supply.
Foods are optimized for maximum nutrition in their preparation, so while we use whole and unrefined ingredients, the cooking methods taught in the class help to ensure our bodies receive the most available nutrition from the foods we eat.
For example, students are taught how proper soaking grains, nuts, seeds and beans renders these foods more digestible and helps their nutrients to be more easily absorbed by the body. Similarly, we teach students how fermenting milk into yogurt or vegetables like cabbage into sauerkraut can maximize the nutrition in these foods.
* How is How To Cook Real Food different from other cooking tutorials?
How to Cook Real Food offers comprehensive information at a manageable pace; moreover, the multimedia instruction which offers print materials, 45 videos as well as conference calls for participants ensures that participants of all types are supported in their learning.
The class is largely self-paced and offers lifetime access to materials, which means that if you get caught up with work, kids or charitable causes and don’t have time to review a lesson, you can pick up where you left off at any time – even if it’s a month or a year later.
Also, our basic recipe formulas, flavor companion charts and worksheets help students to develop their own recipes successfully the first time – without a lot of trial and error. This means that those who participate can simply watch the videos, review the print materials and look to their garden or local farmers market for inspiration. In know time, they’re developing their own recipes based on what’s fresh, in season and affordable.
Print materials also include information on the seasonal availability of fresh vegetables, identifying cuts of meat and their uses – so if you’ve ever been stuck wondering what to do with an arm roast or a round steak, you’ll know. Plus, there’s information included that help you to find and support local farms.
How to Cook Real Food is also highly interactive. Participants enjoy the opportunity to connect with one another through the interactive question & answer section posted at the bottom of each lesson as well as through our conference calls in which we address frequently asked questions and trouble shoot issues people may be having in the kitchen. Fortunately, if you can’t make the conference calls, they’re recorded and you can listen to them at a later date.
Lastly, when I developed How to Cook Real Food, I not only wanted to teach participants the foundational techniques behind whole foods cooking, but I also wanted to give them the tools they needed to make sure that they could easily incorporate these techniques into their lives. So we have an entire class devoted to meal planning and kitchen management. So not only do people learn how to cook real food, how to develop their own recipes using seasonal ingredients but how to save money and minimize waste with meal planning and other techniques.
* What does How To Cook Real Food include?
How to Cook Real Food includes twelve multimedia lessons which address everything from preparing tender grass-fed meats to making desserts using unrefined sweeteners or no sweeteners at all. We also address seasonal vegetables, making milk kefirs and yogurt, baking using whole grains, gluten-free grains as well as grain-free baking techniques.
In total, there’s 45 videos, over 100 real food recipes to help participants begin building their repertoires, 25 recipe worksheets to help participants develop their own seasonal recipes as well as spreadsheets and other support materials designed to help people inventory their kitchens, stick to their grocery budgets and plan meals.
* Is it hard to cook real food when you have several or picky kids? What about those who are on a tight budget?
If you don’t have the right support system, incorporating whole, organic and local foods in your kitchen can be a challenge. Your kids might be picky and might scoff at your new recipes, or you might find your budget challenged by the expense of new ingredients. But the key is support.
Real food doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can prepare dishes that even the pickiest of children will love, but if you’re making your transition from the standard American diet to real food blind and without support, you’re making it harder than it has to be – and you’re setting yourself up for a lot of frustration.
With the right support and knowledge, the transition can be seamless. Many of the people who have taken How to Cook Real Food find that they’re actually saving money and spending less on their groceries after using the techniques outlined in the course. For example, a quart of organic yogurt goes for $6.59 in my area, but with the techniques outlined in our lesson on cultured dairy foods, students learn how to make their own yogurt for about $1.25 a quart – and that’s a savings of over $5.
Similarly, a loaf of whole grain organic sourdough bread costs an average of $6, but students learn to make their own using flour, salt and start at a cost of about $.65, that’s another savings of more than $5. We also show participants how they can save money of meats, fruits, vegetables and other foods as well, so what we find is that – with the right techniques and support – you can absolutely save money while feeding your family healthy foods they love.
And if you have picky kids, a great way to start them off on a healthier road is to simply begin making their favorite dishes – macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, ketchup – using healthier ingredients and techniques. This method helps them to make a slower transition, and, before you know it, they’re eating healthy real food at every meal and enjoying it. And if you can develop a basic set of recipes, you can then tailor them to meet the needs and preferences of your family so that you minimize fussing at the dinner table and everyone can enjoy better meals.
* How can we find out more about you?
Definitely checkout our blog: Nourished Kitchen or read the about page which describes a little bit about my background and work as a mother, natural foods cook, writer and farmers market manager. In addition, I’d encourage anyone to follow our Facebook Page which is a great source of news and information. And if someone ever has a question, they can always contact me.
Thanks so much Jenny!
Go here to sign up for How To Cook Real Food!