The Power of the MealWritten by Jesse S. Somer
Since beginning of time one aspect of human social experience has stood out as ‘place to be’ for communication and family bonding: meal. In contemporary human life evening dinner is often only place and time that a family all sits down together. In tribal times (of course there are still tribes today) cooking of a slaughtered animal or cultivated vegetables brought group together to share ideas and feelings. Think about it these days; when you want to take someone out for a romantic date, meet business colleagues, get together with old friends and acquaintances, we go out for a bite to eat. What is it about sharing some food that puts us in such a relaxed and communicable state? Could it simply be science, and fact that if you are tense when you eat, food doesn’t digest as well? Or, could it have some psychological basis having to do with idea that you are sharing some life-giving sustenance with your fellow species instead of warring over it? Subconsciously do we recognize facts that we will be able to live another day as well as sew healthy seeds for future generations?
Think of all problems in world today. Maybe if we all got together for a feast we could work out some practical solutions, say while sipping on coconut milk, or chewing on a loaf of bread. The current (14th) Dalai Lama is quoted as having said, “I sometimes think that act of bringing food is one of basic roots of all relationships.”
There is also idea of food as being a medium for transferal of emotional energy. I am currently living with a friend who is very adept in kitchen. He uses high quality ingredients and professional techniques, but he also follows belief that what mood you are in, amount of effort and awareness you give cooking process, and love and gratitude that you feel for ability to eat is imperative to making a good meal. I have read in a famous Hari Krishna cookbook as well as Taoist teachings how actual emotions that cook feels when making a meal is transmitted into food via chi energy. Feelings and food are both forms of energy. Native Americans believe that all thoughts and emotions are ‘alive’.
Barbeque Grilling has Reached a Whole New DimensionWritten by Valerie Giles
Grilling on barbecue has never been more exciting. Not only do barbecues come in a myriad of designs and options, but also with advent of popular cooking shows, cooking books and magazines’, grilling has reached a whole new dimension. Grilling is no longer just about steaks and burgers, barbecue grilling is full of adventurous and elegant recipes and menu plans. Some of tantalizing grilling ‘recipes have names like grilled mango blossom, grilled portobello’s with avocado salsa and grilled beef tenderloin with cabernet sauvignon sauce.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with barbecuing grilling basics before you start. The two most popular types of grilling are indirect and direct grilling methods. The indirect method is a slow cooking process because less heat is used. One suggestion for indirect cooking is to use a disposable drip pan or foil placed underneath food to be cooked, using tongs arrange coals around pan. The food is cooked by hot air circulating around food (similar to a convection oven) this process is great for cooking roasts. It’s always a good idea to check with your owner manual for your specific barbeque.
The direct grilling method is achieved by arranging coals (with long handled tongs) to spread evenly in a single layer, extending about one inch beyond area of food. The food is then placed directly over fire. The direct grilling method is fast because of intense heat and allows for quick browning on outside of foods. Direct grilling works best for food requiring short cooking times, such as burgers and steaks. It’s important to turn over food to allow cooking of both sides.
The three most popular ways of adding flavor to your selected grilling foods are with sauces, marinades and rubs. The sauce can be said to define a great barbecue, you can use a little sauce or a lot. A sample recipe for sauce is this maple barbecue sauce; combine equal amounts of maple syrup, ketchup and white wine add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, ginger and chili powder with a bay leaf, bring ingredients to a boil then reduce and let simmer. A sauce should be brushed on in last five to ten minutes of grilling as sugar can cause sauce to burn. There are a wide variety of barbecue sauces and recipes available.
Marinades are another way to change a mediocre meal into incredible. They are an excellent way to add flavor while tenderizing and promoting crisp brown exteriors. The three basic ingredients in marinades are flavorings (herbs, spices and sweeteners), oils and acids (citrus juices, wines, vinegars and yogurts). A simple marinade recipe is lemon rosemary marinade. Mix shredded lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, white wine, rosemary, salt and pepper and pour over your selected meat, tofu, or vegetables in either a plastic sealable bag or shallow dish and refrigerate for one to two hours, remembering to shake bag or flip in dish half way through marinating process.
Rubs are a wonderful bold blend of seasonings, which are just as name implies rubbed directly into food. The food is rubbed with spices prior to grilling, transforming rub into a crunchy brown crust that seals in juices and enhances flavors. A very basic rub recipe is this herb rub; equal amounts of dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, with smaller amounts of salt and pepper combine all ingredients in a food processor until coarsely ground. Sprinkle mixture evenly over meat, then rub in with fingers. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for 15 minutes to two hours, and then grill.