I remember the first microwave we had in our house. It was the mid-70’s and my Dad worked for a company called Winchester Electronics based in Watertown, Connecticut. I have no idea if they’re still around, but one of their biggest consumer product lines was microwave ovens. Since he worked for the company he got one at a steep discount for about $550, which was a fortune back then.
Microwaves have come a long way, but ultimately they haven’t changed that much. The principle is still essentially the same. They use radiation to manipulate the food at the molecular level, making them vibrate by the short radio waves emitted into the food. The vibration creates energy which heats up the food. This is why the food cooks quickly — because all the molecules on the inside are cooking at the same time as the ones on the outside, unlike conventional heat which starts on the surface and makes its way inside the food.
So that’s all I’m gonna say about how microwave cooking works. Now I want to talk about why you might want to avoid using them, or at least minimize their use. Continue reading “Should You Avoid Microwaves?”
The vast majority of packaged foods have some kind of additive or preservative to give them a longer shelf life. And I’m not even talking about the bad processed food that all of you know by now is unhealthy. I’m talking about pre-packaged food that you might think is “safe,” such as olives, cereal, spinach wraps, or canned tuna fish.
I challenge you to read the label and see if you can find a product that doesn’t have an ingredient that ends in -ate, -ite, -ade, or -ide. Also anything with artificial colors, sweeteners (especially artificial), and BHA and BHT. These are all chemicals that are added to food to give them a longer shelf life.
But at what expense? Nitrates and nitrites have been linked to both cancer and Alzheimer’s. Bromide can build up in your central nervous system and cause mental health issues. Bromine depletes iodine which can damage your thyroid by affecting your T3 and T3 hormones.
Additives take many names and are used for many reasons. Not all of them are harmful to everyone, as each of our bodies have varying capacities to adapt to environmental factors. But unless you know what your body can and can’t fight off effectively, you’ll want to avoid these additives wherever you can.
“Pour the dressing around the sides of the bowl, and then, using your hands, gently push the greens into the dressing to coat them. You want the greens glistening, not limp. Once the leaves are dressed to your liking, gently transfer them to a plate.” – Bobby Flay
There’s this strange ritual I’ve seen people go through when they get a salad at, say, a cafeteria or takeout lunch spot. These are the salads that come in a clear plastic container, along with the dressing in a sealed pouch or cup. The customer opens the container, opens the dressing pouch, pours the dressing on the salad, closes the container, and then proceeds to shake the bejeezus out of the container, turning it every which way during the process. Then they reopen the container and proceed to gracefully eat the poor scrambled salad.
I tried this once and it’s certainly more efficient than using a flimsy plastic fork to stir in the dressing, which usually results in a lot of the salad ending up on the table or floor. The solution I prefer is to pour some of the dressing on the salad, mix that little part and eat it, and then pour some more of the dressing on, rinse and repeat. A little more time consuming but it gets the job done and seems like a more respectful way to treat your food.
When at home however, with plenty of time and a big enough bowl, Bobby Flay’s gentle massaging method is definitely the most loving and artistic way to dress a salad that I’ve ever come across.
And don’t you just love his description? The word “glistening” is so perfect — you can just see the gorgeous leafy greens and smell the aroma of the imported olive oil coating them. Mmmm.