My two years spent outside of Pennsylvania learning culinary arts at two Job Corps centers (and getting my driver’s license, strengthening my communication skills with people, and trying to be a more well-rounded person with a wider circle of friends, but mostly it was learning culinary arts and everything it entails — sanitation, teamwork, knife skills, etc) has left me wanting homemade meals and “from scratch” versions of foods that I could easily get at any restaurant, supermarket, or convenience store. While most will argue it’s because of health reasons and how pre-made stuff comes loaded with artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup and other things that are contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country, my reason for wanting to cook things from scratch is simply because it tastes better. Sure, I’ll enjoy the occasional take-out or freezer appetizer, but these days, it’s more out of obligation to my family rather than laziness. I don’t want to live that way anymore — and neither should you.
That’s why I named this blog, Take Back the Kitchen. Because you — my reading audience — and I — the writer — want to rebel against the iron grip that fast and frozen convenience foods have had on our shelves, pantries, and refrigerators. You want to know what you’re eating, whether you want to eat healthy for life or turn your home menu around and give yourself and/or your roommates/family something good to eat that doesn’t require you uttering the words, “Hello, do you deliver?” or “Yes, I would like fries with that.”
Now, I don’t expect you to change your eating habits overnight. Don’t firebomb a ShopRite just because I spent time in San Francisco with the granola crowd at the bayside farmer’s market and am telling you that organic, grass-fed beef beats the cornfed, hormone-pumped stuff any day of the week. I don’t want to hear that I inspired a jihad against people who prefer McDonalds over Trader Joe’s. This blog isn’t about that. It’s more about being more mindful about what you put in your body. As someone who has worked in a kitchen setting both on and off the Job Corps Center campuses, I’ll be there to not only give you good recipes, but also helpful tips and tricks of the kitchen so, with a little practice and ingenuity, you won’t have to use convenience food as a last resort (unless you really, really screw up — and, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us).