Thursday, February 19, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 3 Cookware (LFCC)


Once we have a space ready for the act of creation we require the necessary implements to work our Magic. There are a million different kitchen gadgets, knives, pots, graters, processors, mixers, wisks, blenders, ladels, grinders etc. You could never have them all nor want even a 10th what is available. They all take space and care and often require some practice in order to use them effectively. What is really important is that you have just a few basic, good quality items and you can expand from there as you require. Almost anything you want to create can be done with just a few items. Here is a shortlist:

1. Clear workspace! Seems obvious, but often there is all sorts of stuff covering useful counter and workspace. Which stuff needs to be there, which is just taking up room? If you have a microwave get rid of it. Do you really use that Foreman Grill that often or can it go underneath? The Blender? Country Duck Ornaments? You get the picture.

2. Large Wooden Chopping Board (14" x 20" or more if possible!)! This is the center of your workspace, it should feel satisfying just to touch it, it should also have enough room that things aren't falling off when you're chopping or working something. Wooden Boards develop character as they age and become more beautiful and rounded. Keep it oiled and never use soap or dirty sponges on it. Wash well with hot water, tip up to drain dry. Wood has natural anti-biotic qualities that will keep it properly sanitary. Warm, soapy sponges are the dirtiest thing in the kitchen.

3. 8" Chef knife of solid construction w/ sharpener. One good knife like this, with a sharp blade can get you just about anywhere.

4. larger strainer

5. Big Washing and Salad Bowl. Something ceramic or even wood can be nice, I like an earthy piece if it's available.

6. 4 quart boiling pot , 2 & 1 quart saucepans, 12" & 8" fry pans or something like this.

In addition a small array of wooden spoons, solid steel spatula and a couple serving spoons. If you're high-falutin' like I am you might add in a few big pyrex measuring vessels 1/2, 1 & 2 Quart. I love these, though I never really measure much anything. I also have a very exciting commercial blender that has more horsepower than most lawnmowers.. (Waring Commercial Xtreme!.. some peak 4hp I think) Sounds funny but it does have a purpose, though much to complex and secret to talk about here. Baking gear is extra curricular and not covered in this installment.

Much cookware, particularly pots and pans are often made of toxic Materials such as Aluminum which is then sometimes coated with Teflon (Plastic). Some folks then proceed to use metal implements to cook with or a dishwasher to clean, drop the thing a couple of times and end up with a sort of lumpy ovoid aluminum debris with tattered, sliced plastic interior. They take this injured creation and put it on the stove, light it up and put some food in it, which they then let heat up together with the plastic and aluminum. They mix all that together and call it dinner... Just throw them away. One old cliche I've heard is "Pay for it now, or pay for it later". With this item, you are sabotaging your health. Do not use Aluminum, do not cook on hot plastic and definitely don't cook on either of these when the surfaces are damaged to boot. Cooking Surfaces should be stainless steel, iron, glass, stone, clay, wood. Some enamels are ok but I like to know where and when they come from. Jury is out on anodized pans from what I can tell through researching it. These are aluminum that has been put through a hardening process and is used in some very good cookware such as Calphalon's high-end series'. They are harder than the old pots and do not seem to be leeching. They do not oxidize and I do use them. If they do oxidize or start to dull, they are done. Call Manufacturer for replacement (many of these have lifetime warranty) or recycle it in some non-food-related capacity, but do not eat from it. Aluminum is not food and is not a mineral that you want your RDA met on.

If you follow this series to its end you'll need almost no cookware at all as by that time you'll want nothing but raw foods!

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