Sarah Pope is a local chapter leader in Florida. She also blogs as The Healthy Home Economist.
TRANSCRIPT: A JOURNEY BACK TO THE KITCHEN VIDEO
By Sarah Pope
Hi Everyone, my name is Sarah Pope. You may know me from my blog TheHealthyHomeEconomist. I’ve also been a Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2002.
In the next few minutes, I’m going to talk to you about setting up your kitchen with the right equipment to prepare nutritious meals for your family. Time spent in the lost art of traditional food preparation is absolutely essential for you and especially your children to avoid the plague of degenerative illness that is sweeping across our modern culture.
You can be very encouraged that traditional cooking need not be a mind numbing chore, however! Modern equipment makes all the difference but it is important to make wise choices which can sometimes be difficult with the dazzling array of gadgets available.
I have been cooking meals for my family from scratch for over 10 years and have spent only a few hundred dollars during that entire time on equipment. Considering that I didn’t have much to start with as I rarely cooked before my children were born, that’s saying a lot!
So which appliances can be considered essential and which optional or even undesirable in your kitchen?
Let’s start with cookware. Good quality cookware is a very wise investment and the most important use of your financial resources when prioritizing kitchen equipment.
You simply must get rid of any aluminum and nonstick cookware even if aimed at the gourmet market and made from high end materials. Aluminum dissolves when acidic or salty foods are cooked in it and many researchers feel that intake of aluminum is linked to a number of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Nonstick cookware also poses a danger to your health. The chemical PFOA is used in the production of nonstick coatings and this carcinogen can get into your food and pollute the air in your home. PFOA has been linked with birth defects, cancer, and abnormal changes to vital organs.
Instead of nonstick pans, you can use a well-seasoned cast iron pan instead.
Glass, enamel, ceramic, stainless steel and titanium are all suitable materials for general purpose cookware. If you cook acidic foods frequently or suffer from heavy metal toxicity, stainless steel may not be the best choice as nickel and other alloys that are bound with iron in the making of stainless steel have been found to leech into food in small amounts.
Bakeware is another essential tool in the kitchen of an established cook. Please note, however, that aluminum bakeware does not necessarily need to be thrown out. Lining aluminum cookie sheets with parchment paper before baking protects the food from contact with the aluminum and is a good stopgap if funds for kitchen equipment are tight.
The same goes for aluminum muffin tins which can be lined with paper baking cups.
If you are in the beginning stages of putting your kitchen together, be sure to invest in stainless steel pans and cookie sheets as they really do not cost much more than aluminum pans.
When buying bread pans new, stoneware or glass are both excellent choices. Stoneware is also good for muffin tins.
A good quality stockpot made of stainless steel or enamel is a very important item to have in your kitchen. In my kitchen, I have 3 sizes, an 8 quart, a 12 quart, and a 16 quart. I use at least one of these stockpots on a weekly basis, usually making large batches of homemade broths and soups, portions of which can be frozen for fast meals at a later date.
GLASS OR ENAMEL CASSEROLES
Casserole dishes made of glass or enamel in a variety of sizes make one-dish meals an easy and nontoxic experience. I personally prefer glass dishes with lids so that leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in the same dish they were cooked in.
Good quality knives are an obvious necessity for the person who prepares homemade meals. Serrated knives are best for cutting bread and vegetables while tempered steel knives are optimal for cutting meat. A large chopping knife is a helpful tool as well.
Cutting boards are best made of wood, which is far less likely to harbor pathogenic bacteria than ones made of plastic. Bamboo is my favorite wood for this purpose as it is a sustainable natural resource.
Food processors can be an expensive investment but there is no need to spend a fortune.
In my own kitchen, I have my Mother’s old 1950’s glass blender which still works beautifully, a small Cuisinart food processor that cost about $30 and a handheld blender.
These 3 items perform all the tasks that I require, from grinding nuts and chopping vegetables to blending smoothies.Larger and more expensive food processors are helpful, but certainly not a necessity!
Moving on to food storage containers, be aware that plastic is not the best option. Glass mason jars of various sizes are very important to have on hand for lactofermenting fruits and vegetables and for cultured dairy products that you make at home. I myself use pint, quart, and half gallon sized mason jars with regularity.
I also use small glass pyrex bowls for storage of leftovers and for lunchboxes.
Limiting the use of plastic containers in your home is wise, but large plastic jugs do seem to be best for freezing homemade stock and soups. Just be sure never to put plastic containers in the dishwasher as overly hot water breaks down the integrity of the plastic which risks leeching of contaminants into food.
Also for this reason, stock should be put into the plastic jugs after it has cooled.
Always hand wash plastic containers in warm water with a mild dishsoap.
As you gain traditional cooking experience, you may choose to add a grain grinder, an ice cream maker, or a dehydrator to your collection of kitchen equipment.
All of these appliances are optional. I myself do not have a dehydrator, preferring instead to use the convenience and size of a warm oven to dry my nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains.
I do use an ice cream maker and find this particular appliance of tremendous benefit to my family, as homemade ice cream made with grassfed cream is such a superior snack to store ice cream, even high end brands like Haagen Dazs.
Grain grinders are very helpful once you begin learning how to traditionally prepare grain based foods With a grain grinder, you can grind the flour just before you need it, ensuring that it is always fresh.
AVOID THE MICROWAVE
While popular, the microwave is not a desirable appliance to use in preparing healthy meals for your family. The small amount of research on microwaved foods is not favorable and indications are that abnormal changes to vitamin content and availability occurs when food is microwaved. The blood profiles of those who consume microwaved food is similar to the blood profiles of people in the early stages of cancer.
Microwaving milk is especially dangerous as it alters the amino acids in a manner that can be toxic to the liver and nervous system.
It is best to resist using a microwave for any culinary purpose. However, there is no need to remove it from your kitchen. It does serve as an excellent, airtight cupboard for storing birthday cakes and other freshly made baked goods.
As you can see, there is no need to break the bank when setting up your kitchen for traditional cooking.
The minimum to get started is really just a high-quality saucepan and frying pan, some cutting knives and cutting boards.
The most important thing is to not let yourself get bogged down in decisions about appliances and rather just get started cooking!