food

Cooked

Michael and I recently watched a documentary series on Netflix called “Cooked.” It was done by Michael Pollan, of “In Defense of Food” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” fame.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of his books (granted, I read them a long time ago and maybe if I re-read them now I’d feel differently?), I really enjoyed the documentary series. I found him more compelling and interesting in the TV show than on paper. Go figure.

It’s in four parts, each have a theme and tell the history of cooking and discuss issues that face humans for the future of food. A common threat — processed foods and the growing number of people with Type 2 Diabetes.

“Humans have been cooking since prehistoric times. But cuisine only developed when pots and pans were created that could stand up to the heat of fire. That made it possible to combine ingredients, creating flavor combinations that were unique to specific places.”

I really liked that each part of the series took place in a different part of the world and gave insight into the different cultures and histories of food there.

Fire – This episode began in Australia with aboriginal people who go into the bush to reclaim their old tribal ways with hunting and cooking in the wild– with fire, obviously. It also told the story of a Pitmaster in the American south who learned how to BBQ as a child.

Be forewarned — there were a few scenes that might contain animal slaughter (humane). I left the room at those moments because I have a hard time watching that stuff. 

“They discuss the cultural history of the Aboriginal people, how they left their cultural lands thereby changing their diet. At the time when they left their native lands, changing to the western diet, they developed all the metabolic diseases common in our culture. When they went back to their cultural eating styles, removing fast foods and sugar from their diets, their health markers dramatically improved within six weeks.” (source)

That was really shocking to me (and I wanted to hear more about that but the episode didn’t spend too much time on that).

Water – This episode took place in India and Mumbai. It was interesting to see how the processed food market of the US was invading India and so many people there were eating junk food and fast food and soda, instead of the traditional foods that they used to COOK themselves.

This episode also talked about the birth of processed foods/fast foods in America–the TV Dinner! Spam! Everything processed! It was interesting, and frightening, to see the history and the old footage of commercials from the 50’s.

“The average American currently spends just 27 minutes a day on food preparation. That’s half the amount of time that was spent cooking in 1965.”

Processed foods were actually developed during war time to feed the troops, and then that carried over to the American diet.

It’s still true today–the worse the food, the cheaper it is. Which is tragic and that needs to change.

Air This episode was about bread. Watching the baker make sourdough bread really inspired both Michael and I to want to try and make our own.

He discussed how commercial bread was changed from bread the way it used to be made. Commercial bread has something like 37 ingredients in it when homemade bread is really only a few ingredients! The episode talked about the gluten-free fad, celiacs diseased, and the history of bread. They showed old commercials of Wonderbread. (The commercials were so creepy!)

Earth This episode was all about fermentation–beer, chocolate, kimchi, kombucha. They went to Peru and showed the cacao fruits that are hacked in two, then the cacao beans (which are engulfed in this white slime) are scooped out to ferment. Crazy!

Historically, people fermented food in the fall to keep all winter long. In this episode they talked to a nun who is also a microbiologist who makes her own cheese in the nunnery! She was super fascinating and I wanted to know more about her, honestly.

The documentary series was really good and we both enjoyed it. I will say that each episode left me feeling like there needed to be a little bit more. Like in Fire they only briefly discussed the effect of “modern” (American) food on Aboriginal people and it felt very brushed over and I just wanted them to spend more time on it. If that meant each episode was 90 minutes long instead of an hour, so be it, but I think that could have helped the series.

Have you seen this series? What were your thoughts?

Meeting the Greats!

Road trip!

Over the weekend we took Logan up to Seattle. I had planned on taking him up there to meet my grandmas a few months ago but I honestly wasn’t ready for the undertaking. It seemed like an overwhelming feat to go up to Seattle with a teeny baby. I don’t know why, but now I was ready.

I was a little worried about all the crap we’d have to pack for the trip–just for Logan! The pack n’ play folds up pretty well. But we’d have to bring a lot of clothes and diapers (you never know what the day will hold–his record is 6 outfit changes in one day).

Anyhoo! The day started early. Michael went for a long run and then I went to the gym for a quick weights and elliptical workout before we hit the road:

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Logan did GREAT on the drive up to Seattle. He pretty much slept the entire time until we got to Boeing Field, then he woke up and started making noises, getting a little fussy, but not too bad. We got to my parent’s house and unloaded the car and then went to visit my grandma Helen.

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She was SO happy to finally meet the babe! It was so wonderful seeing her face light up at the baby. It was pure joy. It made me happy and brought some tears to my eyes, honestly. I was really happy that Logan could meet Great Grammy Helen!

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He did really great and was in good spirits–probably because he had a three hour nap in the car! We spent about an hour and a half at her place. He got to show off all his skills to his great Grammy and we got to take some photos and get all four generations in one photo, too.

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Then it was time for her dinner and time to get going. It was such a lovely visit and I’m really happy we got to spend so much time together and she got to meet Logan. My grandma is going to be 95 this year! She’s doing great, too.

We went home and my mom fixed us all dinner. Salmon, broccoli and her delicious mustard bread (it’s seriously like crack–I can eat way too much of that bread).

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Dessert was fresh berries–strawberries and blackberries with whipped cream on top.

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Logan did so great. We were definitely out of our element, the schedule was all willy-nilly, but he rolled with it and was a rockstar pretty much all weekend. He slept pretty well, too, despite being in a new place. It’s awesome to see that he can be so flexible.

I’m sure part of it was that he was getting so much attention! He’s definitely spoiled. 🙂

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Sunday morning Logan woke us up bright and early, per usual, and I went to get coffee (not Starbucks–I think I’m the only Seattlelite who does not like it) and my mom made us buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. She used the recipe and Bob’s Red Mill mix that she used for my baby shower and they turn out perfectly!

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I had two small pancakes, a fried eggs and some bacon. It was perfect.

We had some time to kill before we were going to go visit my other grandma, Mary (my dad’s mom) so we drove to Roosevelt and went to the Maple Leaf park to do some walking.

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I think it was about half a mile loop around the reservoir and we did two laps around it. My dad pushed the stroller (which was super adorable). He was way into it and talking to Logan and telling him about the bike he’s building for him and then popping wheelies in the stroller. Dads. LOL

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So after the walk we drove down by the zoo and visited with my Grandma Mary for a bit. She lives in a nursing home after having a lot of strokes over the years. It’s hard to visit, honestly, it makes me sad and it’s hard because she tries to communicate but usually can’t. But this visit was different! She was able to get a lot of words out and she was ECSTATIC to meet Logan! And it was my dad’s birthday on Sunday and she remembered. All good signs if you ask me!

After our visit we went to get lunch at Dick’s, of course.

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Love me some Dick’s. It’s second to In-n-Out but it’s still pretty awesome. We went to the Wallingford one, which is the original.

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Then it was time for us to hit the road.

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We did not get as lucky on the drive home. It ended up taking 4.5 hours. We stopped twice to tend to Logan. He was pretty ok for most of it but when we had an hour left of the trip he got REALLY grumpy and started crying. It was pouring rain, too, so visibility wasn’t great. We stopped at a rest stop and fed him and changed him again and gave him a little play time and attention, hoping that would help.

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Then he fell back asleep and slept the rest of the way home. So even though we had to stop twice to feed/change him and he was a little fussy here and there, it wasn’t too bad.

Bella had been staying overnight at the dog walker’s house with her boyfriend Raja. 🙂 First stop in Portland was picking up Bells!

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She’s so funny. She LOVES Amy and Raja. I’m glad she had a good weekend, too. It was good to be home, though, back to our routine, back with all the animals under one roof and back to normal. It was a great weekend and I am so glad we finally did it! And it makes me want to do some more weekend trips to show Logan our favorites places!