Kitchen Intuition: Clean eating resources

Authored By aliceodea

New media are great, but I still like books best when it comes to learning about food and cooking. (Photo: Alice O’Dea)

Last week, I talked a little about clean eating and how to approach it, and for anyone who is trying to get started (or rebooted), I’d like for us all to share some resources.

I’ve done lists before, but sites come and go-and new books, magazines and videos appear all the time-so it’s nice to check in once in a while. Now that summer is here, I’m looking forward to spending some time catching up on all sorts of reading, watching and listening, so please-as always-if you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

This is a little bit of a touchy subject for me because there never seems to be enough time to read as much as I’d like, and therefore, I’m a little behind when it comes to the latest food writing (this is a problem I hope to remedy now that the summer reading season is upon us). But when it comes to thinking about food-from making the most of your ingredients to figuring out what to do when things go wrong-Tamar Adler‘s “An Everlasting Meal” is likely to always be my favorite (watch her here). It’s not a cookbook (though it does have recipes), but instead more of a beautifully written call to cook, a narrative that at times reads more like a poem or a love letter. I go back to it again and again, as it is such a pleasure to read.

Another great resource for me in my food journey has been Mark Bittman. His “How to Cook Everything” was so helpful for me when I was first trying to figure out farm-to-table cooking. Bittman’s most recent book, “The Kitchen Matrix,” focuses on improvisation, which is great if, like me, you’re not a fan of making the same thing over and over again. If you don’t already own any other Bittman books, this might be a good place to start. (If you do any shopping, keep in mind that Chattanooga’s local bookstore, Starline Books, can do special orders.)

There are a lot of great food magazines out there. SaveurLucky PeachCherry Bombe and Garden & Gun are just a few of my favorites. Lately, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I’ve been reading Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. Both are well-illustrated and methodical, with helpful explanations of the science behind the cooking-a recent example is an article about easy-peel hard-cooked eggs that features the results from testing five cooking methods (steamed, hot-start boiled, pressure-cooked, cold-start boiled and oven-baked-listed in order, from best to worst results). Turns out I’ve been cooking eggs wrong all this time.

I listed some sites for cooks in a column earlier this year and got a few suggestions for more links in the comments. One of them was local business Weekly Fig, which was just starting up at the time. I’ve since heard good things from friends who have tried the service. It’s a great option for people who can’t make it to the area’s farmers markets every week for a CSA pickup (for more local seasonal cooking ideas, also check out Laura‘s recipes at Tant Hill Farm).

TV, video, podcasts
I really need some help with this category. Shockingly enough, I haven’t regularly watched cooking TV since back in the days of Justin Wilson‘s PBS show about Cajun cooking. I’ve checked out a few shows here and there, but so many of them seem to be more about celebrity and drama than they are about the actual food. Also, I’ve never listened to a food podcast, and I’m pretty sure I’m missing out. If you have a favorite TV show or podcast, please mention it in the comments and I’ll check it out (has anyone watched Michael Pollan’s new series yet?). On YouTube, I sometimes enjoy videos from America’s Test Kitchen, the Brothers Green and You Suck at Cooking, but there’s so much more out there! Please help a lady out with some suggestions!

Alice O’Dea has lived in Chattanooga for over 20 years, but was raised among the mucks and dairy farms in rural western New York. She didn’t really learn to cook until midlife. When she’s not puttering around in the kitchen, she enjoys running, cycling, traveling, photography and trying to get food to grow in the backyard of her Highland Park home. You can email her with questions, suggestions or comments at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.