The other day Gary from Prepress walked by my office and told me he’d been prepping my cookbook, Scratch, for the printer and commented that all the recipes looked so good and so easy.
“But,” he said, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’ll mess something up. Is it really as easy as you make it look?”
Yes! It really is that easy. I remember that fear. I remember being a 20-year-old single mom and not wanting to accidentally feed my baby (or myself!) the wrong thing. I remember not knowing how to cook anything basic and being afraid I’d mess things up—or worse, as I got older, afraid that I wouldn’t live up to other people’s expectations.
Thirty-plus years later, I’ve realized and learned a few things:
- Anyone can cook! Sometimes we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. We forget that a chef’s job is to find the fabulous and the new and make it trendy and complicated. However, our job is to nourish ourselves and our family and friends. I crashed through the fear again and again to figure out how to make meals that are super easy and taste awesome. You will be amazed at what you can make and how good it will taste.
- Simple recipes with quality ingredients taste better. If you start with good ingredients (real food, organic food, in season and local), you don’t have to mess with too much. I’ve spent decades learning how to take things out of a recipe rather than adding more steps and ingredients. Simple refers to ideology, as well: While I believe organic and local is best, you can use whatever you want and learn to trust your own tastebuds and preferences.
- Cooking from Scratch is affordable. Spend your money on great ingredients instead of processing, packaging, and marketing (don’t be fooled by the promises on the box!). Do some taste tests of your own and you will realize that not only is cooking from Scratch more delicious, but it’s also faster, cheaper, and more nutritious. (OK, there might be more dirty dishes made…but that’s a small price to pay). I’ll show you how to make at least three, maybe four, meals from one roast chicken (including “bone broth” stock from the carcass). Many of my recipes can also be made in bulk and then frozen in small batches for those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking or going out.
- You can feel confident and have fun in your own kitchen. The kitchen is where you can be your true self and find true nourishment. Your refrigerator is a mirror of how you treat yourself. Take a look. Are you anesthetizing with food? Are you denying yourself pleasure? Are you substituting something real for something with impossible promises? A truly healthy diet consists of a great diversity of foods in moderation. That includes fats, dairy, protein, carbs, and heaps of fruits and veggies. I don’t judge! But I do show you how to make delicious and satisfying foods quickly and easily so you can feel safe and confident in your kitchen.
- Cooking brings people together and heals the heart, soul, and body. Cooking is what makes us human. And sitting down together to share a home-cooked meal is what makes us feel nourished and alive. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can even mess it up! (That teaches compassion.) It just has to be real. Each and every one of us has incredible power to change the world for the better, starting at the dinner table.
I’ll show you how in Scratch. Pre-order now RIGHT HERE! I’m creating some amazing gifts for you as my thanks for pre-ordering Scratch today. Be sure to check back for more #MadeFromScratch updates and instructions for how to claim your free pre-order gifts very soon!
From the Editors: We would also love for you to share your own favorite memories of cooking from scratch!
What comes to mind when you think of home-cooked meals you’ve prepared and shared with those you love? Is it rolling out the crust on your grandmother’s homemade chicken pot pie, mashing the potatoes for your dad’s turkey stuffing, the smell of your aunt’s vegetable casserole baking in the oven, or the memories of loved ones gathered around the table celebrating holidays with a special meal? Rodale Books wants to hear your stories and share them as part of a podcast we are creating around the release of Maria’s upcoming cookbook, Scratch. Please share your stories via email, and if selected, we’ll include a brief audio recording of your story (2 to 5 minutes long), which will be available on Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen and our Scratch cookbook website.
Please submit your stories to ScratchCookbook@Rodale.com by no later than June 3rd.