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Archive for March, 2010

At the end of February a long-time client mailed me her cast-aside smart phone. Complete with touch screen, unusual ring tones, and colorful icons, this phone emotes trendy. Said client purchased the phone to stay connected while traveling, but when she was unable to gain access to her cellular network from her mountain home (we’ve all seen the maps) the phone spent more time in a drawer than in her hands.

Up until now I’ve enjoyed the phone’s sleek appearance and well, its smartness. Driving directions, weather forecasts, movie reviews, and Sudoku, lie at the tip of my fingers, not to mention thousands of Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, and Rachel Ray recipes. I search by ingredient, create a shopping list, and then if I so choose can e-mail the shopping list to the best male cook I know. This is all well and good, but there’s one small problem – someone still has to cook to make the delicious-looking recipe a reality.

In a nutshell this is the challenge with any recipe. This is the choice anyone who eats faces every day, every meal, every Friday night, every brown-bag lunch, and every Sunday afternoon: do I give my meals a human touch and take time to cook, or do I use the UrbanSpoon® app to find a restaurant where I can sit in their dining room, while I wait for my food? In all honesty, my decision lies squarely in what I value.

First, I value a meal cooked from real, not highly-processed, ingredients. Meals full of flavor from fresh poultry and fish, beans and lean meats, seasoned with spices, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper are my favorite. I try to avoid excessive amounts of salt, fillers, artificial colors, stabilizers, and preservatives in our food. When a restaurant or food manufacturer prepares my meals it’s difficult to imagine them cooking with real ingredients – not exotic or terribly expensive ingredients, but fresh, in season, and from Kentucky whenever possible.

Next, I value the time to sit and talk to my LittleAprons, and the best male cook I know while we cook and eat. At home, in our kitchen, is undoubtedly the best place for these enlightening conversations. Lately, my TweenAprons have laid some doozies on me during our kitchen exchanges. Goodness knows I’d be hard pressed to have those kinds of chats when I’m vying for their attention between refills of their cherry Coke® (ordering milk at a restaurant isn’t cool) and difficult decisions about whether to order a wedge of pie or the ice cream bar for dessert.

Most of my cooked-at-home meals revolve around recipes I’ve cooked so much I no longer need to written recipe: black bean burritos, turkey meatballs and spaghetti, curried chick peas and rice, roasted chicken, bison burgers, pork and vegetable stir fry, white bean and pasta soup, and fresh salmon filets. Sure, there’s effort and time expended to shop for the ingredients, and sometimes a bit of monotony from eating the same thing more than once a month, but the benefits reaped from the conversations and quality of our meals, makes the effort I expend worth more than the price of my phone.

So, maybe this new smart phone isn’t so smart. Sure, there are recipes, but as with all recipes they leave me with the same choice: to cook or not to cook. Since I know my answer, I’ll save the recipe apps for meal inspiration. And instead of making reservations, I’ll chose the human touch with our meals no matter what my smart phone entices me to do.
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