Home / 2010 / April

You Say You Want a (Food) Revolution?

Rob and I love watching British cooks. We first fell in love with Gordon Ramsey, not because of Hell’s Kitchen, but because of a show produced only in the U.K. called F-Word. It not only had nail-biting meal-cooking competitions ala Hell’s Kitchen, but also featured segments about the quality of food, where it comes from, how ethically the animals are treated, and how easy it can be to cook healthy meals. Ramsey is mostly known here in America for pissing off chefs and restaurateurs all over the nation, but intentions are pure: help people admit their mistakes and change in order to improve.

Then, last month, The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver started pissing off residents of Huntington, West Virginia, which is now—thanks to Oliver—famous for being the unhealthiest city in America (the claim is based on a CDC report published in 2008). He’s stepping on lots of toes there—chefs at elementary schools, a local radio personality, even hospital administrators who seemed to be more worried about the bad PR than the health of their city. But Oliver’s goal is not to cause a ruckus. He just wants school to feed kids fresh foods, not processed foods, and he wants them and their parents to rediscover the joy and ease of cooking. How fulfilling is it to pop a frozen pizza in the microwave?

This is something that Rob and I discovered this year, and I love it! I thought it would be tiresome to have to cook everything from scratch—no mixes, no boxed or canned or frozen meals—but it’s… *gasp* fun! We have fun planning our meals each week, trying to come up with creative dishes that use what we already have and maybe two or three store-bought or fresh items, fun scouring cookbooks—new and old—and cooking magazines for recipes that might fit the bill. Hey, we even have fun cooking!

We’re not counting carbs or grams of fat or points. We’re just trying to “eat more veg” (as Oliver/the Brits like to say) and know exactly what’s going into the food we eat.

So I challenge you to try it out for a month. We made homemade mac and cheese last month and it is the best I’ve ever tasted. Rob’s baking easy, four-ingredient artisan bread at home (no preservatives or unknown chemicals). I’ve found a truly delicious tuna salad recipe to eat that bread with. Rob’s good at main dishes, veggies, and bread, and I’m good at main dishes (most of the time—don’t ask about the fajitas), veggies, and desserts. What will you be good at?

One more thing. I also ask that you support Oliver’s quest to change that way school food is done in America. He’s collecting names for a petition that aims to give our schoolchildren

better food at school and better health prospects

and

to keep cooking skills alive.

He’s got almost 500,000. Let’s get a million people who want to rediscover the joy of cooking and give better food and better health to our children. Sign the petition here!

You know, we all want to change the world.

Book Review: The Voice of Psalms

I’ll tell you how I came across this book later, but I can’t wait to tell you how much I love this book as a “whole package.”

The first thing I noticed when I got this book was how good it felt and looked. The cover is matte and the book feels solid in my hands. The pages are thick and and each page has a parchment-type background with some nice shading. Nothing to do with content, I know, but I always enjoy a book that feels good. And, to be perfectly honest with you, I like it when books smell good too. (I know you’re wondering: yes, The Voice of Psalms smells very nice, clean, sweet smell.)

Okay, aesthetics aside, I loved this book. It is the book of Psalms from the Bible, but in language that we can really understand. The people who created this version took the idioms and images of the authors’ times and translated them to ones that we relate to, and they altered the language in that manner as well.

It is powerful.

I’ve read Psalms before. I’ve read it a couple times. But I followed one of several reading plans listed in the front–I did the “Forty-Day Reading Plan to Worship the Eternal One with Your Praise” plan–and I felt like I was reading a new book, in a good way! I took so much more away from my readings than I normally do, not only because of the new voice, but also because of the footnotes. The images really spoke to me. I would love to read The Voice of Proverbs *hint, hint, Thomas Nelson Publishers :) *

In the name of full disclosure, I want my readers to know that I got this book from the publisher in exchange for a blog review and a review on a retail site through a program called Book Sneeze. It’s the second blogging swag I’ve gotten, and I really enjoyed it!