As you can imagine, the notion that a homemaker should cook for the family caused a bit of a brouhaha in this day and age of "Don't put me in a box and tell me what I should do" feminism. In reaction to the June Cleaverism of the 1950s, we have swung so far in the other direction that no woman wants to be told that she should be in the kitchen (and far be it for me to tell anyone what they should be doing). But to me, it's not really an issue of feminism or not. My husband is often the at-home parent and when he is, he cooks. End of story.
In the midst of all of the hubbub (anyone notice that there are so many great synonyms for a Blogging Brouhaha?), was this simply astonishing quote:
"i think that we don't all understand cook from scratch the same way - for the ones who supposedly cook from scratch at every meal every day, you wouldn't be on facebook if you understood "from scratch" the way some others do. My sister in law cooks "from scratch" every meal and she is never out of the kitchen, unless it's to go buy some raw ingredients - RAW ingredients"
Which I think is worth addressing in depth. There are several parts to this myth that bear some serious discussion. The first is that cooking from scratch, or using "RAW ingredients" is some sort of terrifying bugaboo that modern homemakers just can't face. To debunk this, I'm here to tell you that I started out as a lousy homemaker. I was going to be the career gal: you know the one who has it all and comes home from her mentally stimulating and fulfilling job to kiss her lovely well-scrubbed kiddos hello and sit down to a family meal together. Except that I really couldn't make that one work. Kid #1 more or less demanded that I set the career path aside and become a full-time mother (which of course meant that I needed to start homemaking as well). Not having been much of a cook to start with, I had to learn from scratch to cook from scratch. Which is all to say that if I can do it, anyone can.
Again, I'll make the point that I utterly and totally started out as the suckiest cook ever (my hubby can attest to this), not unlike Julia Child. So if I can do it (even if I have never risen to the level of a souffle-maker but have just mastered the basic pancake), anyone can. Heck, cowboys on the trail of a cattle drive managed to make flapjacks from scratch, and they were certainly no gourmet chefs, so I'm fairly confident that most folks can master it.
Myth number three: If you buy into the enforced slavery of the cooking-from-scratch mentality, you won't even have the time to update your Facebook account.
So here's a typical menu and time breakdown:
Lunch: BigAss Salad with chicken breast, dried cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese: 35 minutes including cooking the chicken breasts and making the dressing
Dinner: Turkey with Portofino sauce over steamed cauliflower (I'm eating Paleo right now and not doing any breads or pastas): 45 minutes
Shopping: Two one-hour Costco trips a month amortized on a daily basis = 4 minutes per day
Three Weekly trips to the grocery store by foot = 2.5 hours = 22 minutes per day
One weekly trip to get our raw goat's milk = one hour = 8 minutes per day
Caring for chickens (where we get our eggs) = one hour = 8 minutes per day
Total Shopping time: 42 minutes per day
Total Cooking time: 1:35
Total Kitchen Slavery Time: 2:17
As you can see, I don't spend anywhere near my entire day cooking and shopping, and I even have time once in a while to update my Facebook status and get in these crazy discussions! Also, three of our grocery shopping trips double as dog-walking time, so they really should get some time deducted for that, and most people don't have to go out of their way to buy raw goat's milk or raise chickens for eggs. I'd say for most folks it could be 1.5 hours or less to cook from scratch with RAW ingredients, including shopping time.
Robin's Cooking From SCRATCH with RAW Ingredients Time Saving Tips:
- When you can, prepare ingredients for more than one meal at a time. If you're chopping onions, peppers, zucchini, etc., chop two or three instead of just one. Store the others in tight-lid glass containers in the fridge. Now when you want to whip up a salad or a stir-fry, it's quick and easy.
- If you have a batch of time available, mix up batters ahead of time as well. Making a double or triple batch of pancake, waffle, or muffin batter to have available in the fridge makes quick work of nutritious breakfasts. The kids like to bake teeny muffins in a cute little pan I got that fits in our toaster oven. It's almost like those fun "easy bake ovens" that you can buy for kids except that it works really well and the food is nutritious. Having batter on hand for them to make themselves a breakfast muffin also saves money from the endless boxed-cereal grocery bills.
- Plan meals from menus (I'm just now getting the hang of this one!) and shop from a grocery list made from those menus. Then you're guaranteed to have the ingredients on hand to cook what you want when you want to. If you don't have to do last-minute trips to the store, you save on gas, time, and frustration.