the view from Dad’s kitchen

Food and our health

For some, food is a means to instant gratification and not much more. But food on a personal level is mostly about health. Garbage in, garbage our, as they say.

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Press reset

“Suddenly, saving our planet is within reach.”

— David Attenborough

We have just watched the brand new David Attenborough “witness statement” documentary on Netflix—his review and analysis of a life spent observing nature over 70+ years. We are greatly moved by his conclusions and recommendations, which add so much to our understanding of how we should be doing food.

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Army grub

I have been trying to think of even one meal or dish I had in any Army mess hall that I would call memorable. Can’t do it. You know, make a connection—here on Veteran’s Day—between my Army service and my efforts here at DRB. It’s just not happening.

However, that won’t stop me from remembering and honoring all the vets I served with and all the others I didn’t. What you did is much appreciated this day and every day.

My mom used to bake cakes to take to the USO during WWII. My uncle died in Belgium in January ’45. I had it easy, spending my three years with the Old Guard at Ft. Myer, VA.

I was an Army photographer, so I never got behind the counter in a mess hall—except—for the five consecutive 14-hour days I spent on K.P. while in A.I.T. This was so we would not have to pull K.P again during our training. And we didn’t. But those five days taught more then I wanted to know about peeling potatoes and cleaning ovens—with the best steel wool and lemon juice the Army had to offer.

So, whether your service was in a jungle or desert, or behind a stove or camera, or just waiting patiently at home, you are honored today. Take a moment and think about what a great military and military tradition we have.

The food revolution at scale

Any kind of new business, venture, cause, or movement eventually asks, “How do operate our solution at scale?” In other words, When new orders increase by a factor of 10, then 100, then 1,000, etc., how do we maintain our delivery promise, our ability to look and feel like we did when we were small and fresh?

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Keto reboot

Lose 50; gain 15; lose 20; g-o-o-o-a-l!

For me personally, the very best thing about Keto has been acquiring the knowledge and skill to actually manage my weight. Here’s what I mean.

For 30 years or so, since I started being concerned about my weight, I tried this diet and that diet with varying results. Lose 30; gain it back; lose 20; gain it back…etc. Sound familiar? I realize now that the main reason I gained it back was that the diet got boring, or most often, it left me too hungry, too many times. I slipped into the “oh, what can be wrong with just one donut” loop. One donut once a month became two donuts twice a week, then “Oops, how did I manage to gain back all that weight?”

On Keto, however, since fat is filling and Keto recipes are everywhere involving just about everything, except sugar and grains, I don’t suffer the same sense of loss that other diets inevitably bring on. Just one guy’s experience.

But back to management. What I mean is that for the first time, Keto gives me a sense of being in control and under control. Have a carby weekend? Back to Keto on Monday and back to my pre-carby weight. Without the sense of suffering.

Now, over time, bad habits die hard. So, I did gain back 15 pounds over a year, compromising my Keto-ness too often. But now we’re all-in again and enjoying some Keto recipes we haven’t tried before. Down a pound-and-a -half in three days! Watch this space.

Keto forever?

Unlike the other weight-loss programs we’ve tried over the years, “Keto” should be considered a fundamental change in how we choose to eat…forever. Eating Keto is a new way to eat for people who don’t want to be fat anymore, like me. A Keto diet is also, based on my experience, a way to gain other health benefits: reduced inflammation and associated body aches and pains, better cholesterol readings, and lower blood pressure. I’m not saying that changing the way I eat has been easy. And I’ve decided it’s not required that I eat fewer than 20, or 30 or 50 net carbs per day forever. Just that I mostly eat Keto and manage my cravings so that my total food intake is much less than before. After all, for anyone who wants to lose weight, the starting point is eating less.

Here’s one view on why Keto is natural, healthy and safe for a lifetime:

Sliced bread

On July 7, 1928, the first loaf of sliced bread was sold in a grocery store in Ohio. The sale and the event were the result of the invention of the bread slicing machine. At the time, it was hailed as the greatest thing since packaged bread.

This just reminds us that our food lives, like every other part of life, are driven by invention and creativity. From the invention (discovery?) of controlled fire, to sliced bread to oleo (some things don’t work out), we are caught up in and are the beneficiaries, or victims, of endless cyclical innovations.

Most new developments are mergers of other inventions. Butcher Box merges organically-grown, grass-fed meat-o-culture with internet marketing and dry ice. My recipes are more and more the result of mergings, experimentation, and a pinch of creation.

What are your favorites among the dishes you’ve invented?

Thanks to The Writer’s Almanac for the background on sliced bread.

Leftover impasta

Ham leftovers masquerade as prosciutto in this recipe. Easter rolls around and I think about ham. That was our family tradition when I was growing up. A ham dinner and an Easter Lamb Cake. But that’s another post. These days, ham means spiral-cut backed ham, with the sugar glaze, in the foil wrapper. Even though you can get it just about anywhere, I don’t think anyone does it as well as Honey-Baked®. Hope there’s one near you!

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Heirloom recipes

Dad’s Recipe Box features heirloom recipes. One of our beginning ideas was to gather and publish family favorite dishes so the kids would have them written down if they wanted them. I debated whether to call these “heirloom” or “heritage” recipes, and I suppose either will do. But Merriam-Webster helped me decide. Here’s their definition:

heirloom: something of special value handed on from one generation to another

This is exactly what we intend by using the word. These recipes have special value becuase of the memories and feelings they evoke. Thanksgivings, Saturday mornings, Christmas, picnics and vacations. The older we get, the more we hold these times dear. If food and cooking can help us remember them, so much the better.

Bought in or sold out?

The Queen and I are really just bit players in the burgeoning network of  foodies and friends of home cooking. But we’re sincere! As we go deeper into sources and tools and thinking about the world’s food system, we take baby steps toward a greater appreciation of the people, companies and organizations that help us eat more intentionally, and we care more about those who help us do that.

This year is shaping up to be the Year of Tools. We’ve taken the plunge into the sea of grown-up small appliances for the kitchen. As the stand (or is it “standing”) mixer arrived this week, I realized that we’re now a Kitchen Aid family: blender, food processor and mixer. These choices were based almost entirely on ratings from users and some of Dads’ friends. Checked out Cook’s Illustrated, Amazon, and Cooking.com. Observed carefully while learning how to bake from Martha. Kitchen Aid seems to be about everyone’s favorite. And then you go to their website and see all the solid Buckeyes who make the stuff somewhere in Ohio. Makes you proud the best is at least sometimes still American.

More baking adventures to come…

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