If it takes five minutes, is it still cooking? That’s the question of the decade, isn’t it?
Jamie Oliver is doing everything he can to rid the schools of five-minute cooking and I’m trying to bring it back. Only I’m on Jamie’s side. He is all about “food from scratch” and avoiding processed foods that are making the food industry money at the expense of a child’s health, and making America really really really fat. No, really fat. We have become so accustomed to folks weighing in the 300’s, that we have changed the standard of what fat is.
Our food culture is full of contradiction, misconception, and irrational behavior. America was the first to embrace the faster foods that require no eating utensils because we are a trusting nation. We have always trusted our grocery aisles, government watch dogs, American restaurants, and the big food companies. When we think “Kraft,” we think of home and our cozy kitchen.
But, I believe there is hope for a turn around, if we can change our thinking. Our stomachs and our appetites will be so much happier, if we can change the idea of what a “convenience” food is. But, first we have to look at where we are. It’s difficult to look in the mirror, even for someone like me, who enjoys all the truly colorful bounty of Mother Nature. I can still fall down and forget.
We are faced every day with too many choices and a barrage of processed foods, yet we never see a commercial showing us how delicious and easy roasted asparagus is. The good foods are much more of a “word of mouth” thing. You’re not going to be asked to purchase sea salt, herbs or olive oils, the things that can take your vegetables to the place where the dish is set down and the food disappears faster that those chips where you can’t eat just one.
But we human beings were never meant to be burdened with worrying about what NOT to eat. The design of life has always been to worry about getting food and staying alive. But, now with such abundance of crazy %&#, we are caught in the middle of contradiction. The same company that assures me of a proper oven that allows me to convection roast, also provides me with a microwave oven. We have a country that has enough smarts to invent the iPad, and give us a zillion calorie counting apps’s, yet we are a country who has been swindled by the 4 meals for 4 dollars fast food place.
And, my friends, you may be asking me what does this have to do with asparagus? In my world, everything. It’s ten minutes of roasting and two minutes of prep time. It’s FAST food, but it’s good food that has a nutrition grade of A and with the olive oil, still only comes in at under 100 calories.
If you think asparagus is not a fun snack, my point is made. Every cell of your body would reach for these green stalks knowing it will keep you alive, keep you healthy and happy. If your mind is reaching for that bag of junk, you have been tricked to hurt yourself. And, a whole group of entities are behind that trick.
While it may be true that other roasted vegetables take longer than five minutes, they don’t take more than 3-5 minutes to prep. You will be surprised how full and satisfied you become eating vegetables with olive oil and sea salt. And, if you happen to invest in some special sea salts that last a long time, you won’t be so swayed by the bag of %#& in the pantry.
Today, I read an article that a county in California is trying to pass a bill to prevent toys from being sold with children’s meals, (the happy meal). I am dead against this kind of irrational solution to childhood obesity. It’s not about the toy in the happy meal; it’s so much more about a mindset and a commitment to good food.
The best defense against the “happy meal” is to provide a “happier meal.”
But, parents need to know what that means, and it begins with a table people sit down to eat at, and a shopping trip through the farmer’s market as opposed to a car ride through the faster food.
Tell me, can we turn around and get sane again? And, should the government really get to take the toy away?
Hit the umami taste bud with olive oil and nori sea salt as done here in this focaccia.
Roasted Asparagus with olive oil and nori sea salt.
Asparagus with Olive Oil and Lemon
Recipe for Roasted Asparagus
- Olive Oil
- Turn oven on to 400 degrees.
- Wash fresh asparagus (trim, peel if necessary)
- Toss with olive oil and nori sea salt (or plain sea salt). There are many artisan salts on the market. While they might seem a luxury, a little goes a long way, and can be saved for foods that will benefit. You could just as easily use your favorite herb, or a squeeze of lemon.
- Roast for 5 minutes, turn over, roast another 5 minutes. Roasting time may need to be adjusted, depending on thickness.