Here we go

A few people suggested that I start blogging about my baking.

Baking, in my brief life history, spans back to my childhood. I had the privilege of being raised by my grandmother. We all know mothers bake cookies once in a while and like spoiling us with home cooked meals. Well, grandmothers are naturally mother x 2. We didn’t just bake – we BAKED. Religiously baked everything.

I grew up in a small town in Ukraine so self sustainability was natural course of action (all fruits and veggies came from the garden, get the milk from the neighbor, make your own cheese, visit the chicken coup in the morning and stock up on eggs, etc.). I really didn’t understand the beauty of this well oiled machine until now, living in New York City, where every 5th person you pass on the street obsesses over ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and ‘healthy’. Interestingly enough, I’m not buying into that trend. I guess it’s not so interesting. To be organic in the city is EXPENSIVE and time-consuming. I grew up organic because it was cheap and easy.

Now that we have the background, on to the skinny part. We all heard of the ‘French Women Don’t get Fat’ book. Here’s a secret: most non-American culture women don’t get fat. I learned about fresh air and chores and moderation. I remember my grandmother and I often cooked up a feast that spanned several days of cooking and baking. Yet everyone around was fairly fit and healthy. We worked in the garden, in the orchard, tended to animals, and toiled in the kitchen, hand-washing all utensils and working surfaces. Tending to animals, gardening and up-keeping the orchard is naturally impossible in the city. What is possible is simple and organic way of cooking (granted, with non-‘organic’ products sometimes since I’m short on money!), baking and living.

That last tidbit of information is to warn you that you won’t often find me scrimping on procedures to save time. I don’t like using mixes for baking or cooking and I will make everything from scratch when I can. It’s worth it thought. The most important thing I learned is when I revel in my cooking and spend time on it, I eat less afterwards as a result. I satiated all my senses in the procedure. I fully understand Trader Joe’s frozen meals are cheap, easy, and natural but when you heat it up in 10 minutes and scarf it down in the next 10, you’ll have another 4-5 hours to sit around and nibble on hundreds of additional calories. When you immerse yourself in a 1 hour cooking experience, you’ll WANT to enjoy it slowly. So, put down that can of spam and ENJOY the cooking – or, baking in my case.

LESSON: Pay attention to your cooking. You’ll learn that your meal consists of several ingredients, and as a result you’ll be satiated with the portion of your meal more than from a pre-made meal. As a bonus,  you can input the measurements for each ingredient into a calorie counter to get the total accurate calories per meal.


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