BY: JUSTIN MACY, CIVANA EXECUTIVE CHEF
Cooking is my medicine. I hope if nothing else, that the guests that attend my cooking classes or nourish their bodies with a delicious meal, leave inspired to start a cooking practice of their own at home. The benefits gained from starting a cooking practice at home are vast. In addition to incorporating healthier options into your diet, cooking encourages creativity, self-confidence and boosts your social skills. Most importantly, the joy of sharing a home cooked meal with others is by far such an amazing feeling.
Invest in One Great Tool
To cook well, you need three things – fresh ingredients, simple techniques and a few, high quality tools. In our culinary clinics, I recommend to our guests that they invest in a quality, durable 8-inch Chef knife. I prefer Shun or look for a Japanese ice forged, steel option, which I find stays sharp longer. A quality Chef knife is the single most important item you will need in the kitchen and is used to create virtually every dish. A sharp knife offers more control and reduces accidents.
Cook What Appeals to You
Choose a recipe that looks appetizing to you and one with a few simple steps involved to get you started. You eat with your eyes, so making food you already love will help to inspire you to continue cooking.
Cook with Others
Sharing moments in the kitchen has helped to shape memories for as long as we can remember. Inquire about the traditions passed down from previous generations and secret family recipes and share those with your loved ones. My favorite moments in the kitchen are when I get to spend time with our guests in our Culinary Clinic, one of our included wellness offerings at CIVANA. Not only do I get to share tips and new trends we are seeing in the world of food, but I get to further engage with our guests and my team for more meaningful dialogue. Cooking at home is also a wonderful pastime to teach math and following directions to little ones. Cooking with your children also helps them become more interested in the food they are eating.
Try Modifying & Experimenting
In the CIVANA Kitchen, we specialize in making traditional dishes with simple substitutions that offer healthier benefits and aid in dietary restrictions without sacrificing flavor. For example, try making our baked Jicama Fries, a paleo, vegan and keto-friendly option to the traditional potato. Serve with a side of our Broccomoli instead of ketchup for additional protein and flavor.
Practice makes perfect is the old saying. The more you cook, the more confident you will become. There are no mistakes – if the dish comes out not to your liking, you walk away with what not to do. When in doubt, you can always order take-out!
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