Wholesomely Retro

You can choose you're own terminology.
I like the retro term myself.
Wholesome Retro was how a friend described the environment Michael and I are raising our children in. I never thought about it that way, that we were somehow retro? I just know when I was a kid, my mom made cookies and bread on the regular, and we always had dinner together. My dad worked nights for most of my childhood, so usually it was just me, my mom, brother and sister at the table, but it was at a table and not in front of the TV.
And she cooked the dinner.
From scratch.
Those cookies and bread were from scratch too.
No Uncle Ben's (too expensive.)
No Pillsbury slice and bake (too expensive, and not really tasty.)
The only take out we had was an occasional bucket of chicken, and Rubino's pizza on Friday nights.
That's what I do too. Maybe more intensely than my mom, because I am me. But from scratch is my way to go. I have tricks and short cuts of course, and it's taken me years to figure out the best way to make a tiny New York kitchen work to my advantage. It was only a year ago that we renovated and made our kitchen the Shangri-La it is today. A dishwasher, a full sized stove, a big fridge with a bottom freezer, and CABINETS! My point is, is that it has always felt important to cook for myself, my husband and now my children. I figured out how to cook for one, then added on.

When I moved to New York it was out of necessity to figure out the mysteries of the kitchen once and for all, I was poor and it was cheeper and better for me than eating take out. I had spent years bopping around the country working at theaters, and not having my own kitchen, before that in an unhappy marriage where I was berated about my cooking because it wasn't as good as my mothers.

At least I tried. The only way to become good at something is to practice. So once I was in a place long enough to really really practice that's what I did. What I do.

A year ago I gave myself a cooking challenge. Maybe it was part of the nesting that occurs when you are waiting for the birth of a child. I decided a month before our son Noah was born that we were going to stop buying bread and I was going to bake bread for us. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. We're busy. Sometimes we're really really busy.  What about the summer? When it's 90 degrees. What then.
Well. It's a little over a year later, and I did it.
There were a few times over the summer where we bought bakery bread, and we also buy the occasional hamburger potato bun. The toast and sandwiches we have consumed over the last year have primarily been bread that I have made. I have to thank the woman who writes the blog www.butterpies.com because that blog got me started. She had a recipe for a fast crusty loaf that helped me get over the hump, and the recipe through all of my revisions and add ons still is one that I use primarily.  I found the blog one night when Michael and I were having soup for dinner and craving some fresh bread. An hour later we had what we wanted.

Yesterday I used a new recipe. I happened to look at the back of the Gold Metal Flour bag and it had a recipe for honey whole wheat bread. That's basically what I make anyway, but this had a few extra steps, a longer rise and looked interesting. It was spectacular. The extra steps were worth it, and developed the gluten in a way that made a nice tall loaf that didn't collapse when I put it in the oven. I tweeted about it, and it tickled me that Gold Metal Flour retweeted my picture, and tweeted me back saying I was on the right track with my dough.

This year my next cooking adventure is launching Harlem Souper Heroes
But I'm going to continue to bake our bread. My experiment has become our life style and has changed us for the better.

Call me a throw back, call me retro, but the food revolution is just beginning, and it's bringing us back to a time where people knew where their food was grown, harvested, or cared for. For me food is about balance. If our diet is balanced we will maintain a healthy weight, and feel good. It's not about fat or skinny, it's about healthy and feeling good and what that means for you and your body. I want my children to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. I want them to enjoy what they eat, and know how to feed themselves what's good for them.
So we are a wholesomely retro household. Where there will be cookies in the cookie jar, pizza on Friday nights, and fresh bread every week.

Even Keels