• The Sweet Health Benefits Of Sour Foods

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    July 31, 2021 /  Food

    As a young man, I remember my grandmother trying to give me sauerkraut for dinner once and making the worst face possible in response to which my grandmother laughed and said, “Sauerkraut is not only good, it’s good for you!” When I tell my patients about sauerkraut as a health food, they make almost that same funny face! Recently, however, it turns out that grandma’s words were correct – sauerkraut has a surprising health benefit to it as do other fermented foods. In fact, a group of Polish women were recently studied for their rates of breast cancer. The group who ate a lot of sauerkraut had very low rates of breast cancer.

    Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

    Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, sourdough bread have been around for a long time. They were created to help food keep longer using a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. In this process, beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria (the kind that live in your gut and help digest your foods) convert the starch and sugar in foods to lactic acid. The lactic acid acted as a preservative so refrigeration was not necessary and food had a long shelf life.

    A surprising, little known health benefit about these fermented foods was then discovered. It seems that the same fermentation process that both preserves and gives these foods their distinctive sour-tangy taste are also higher in vitamins and actually help your digestion, remove excess saturated fats and cholesterol, and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy.

    In fact, these good bacteria present in naturally fermented food have recently started popping up all over television ads and health food articles as “probiotics” which restore and maintain your intestinal flora, i.e., the level of good bacteria in your gut. In case you didn’t know this, your large intestine, the place that houses all these beneficial bacteria, is the very seat of your immune system. When your beneficial bacteria levels are optimal, you have a healthy immune system strong enough to ward off infections and other diseases.

    Many fermented foods, like olives, also contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in reducing inflammation throughout your body.

    Not All Sour Foods Are Naturally Fermented

    When I tell my patients about naturally fermented superfoods, they say, great I’ll pick up some at the grocery store! However, most canned sauerkraut, pickles, greek olives on the shelves, and buttermilks, yogurts, and kefir in your dairy section of your grocery store may not have been created through a natural fermentation process and may not contain the live bacteria.

    In fact, many of these grocery store varieties of sour-tasting dairy foods are pasteurized, and the canned-shelf varieties can get their sour taste through the addition of vinegar (a fermented food in itself) and/or certain preservative-grade minerals like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added to extend shelf life. Most have lactic acid added to them rather than it developing naturally in the fermentation process described above. However, even these grocery store varieties of “fast” fermented foods give some health benefits in addition to their vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc, just not as much as naturally fermented that contain the live culture.

    Unless your local grocery store has a special section for refrigerated health foods, you likely will have to go to a health food or natural foods store to get real, naturally fermented, nonpasteurized sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kefir, buttermilk and yogurt. You can also make your own fermented foods very easily. Fermentation starter kits are available, along with directions how to ferment many foods, in health food stores and/or online.

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  • Fun Cooking Accessories the Entire Family Can Enjoy

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    July 30, 2021 /  Food

    When it comes to cooking, the whole family can get involved. Sometimes, it is easy for one parent to get stuck doing all of the kitchen work because he or she is naturally the better home chef. With the right tools, though, everyone can get involved in this fun activity. The key is to find fun cooking accessories that the entire family can enjoy, so all of the adults and children can make meals together.

    One of the best ways to get the family involved in mealtime is to find fun and creative ways to make the foods they love. Start with dessert, which is always a crowd-pleaser. An ice cream machine is a good investment. Along with the rest of the family, you can mix up a batch, and let it freeze as you are cleaning the dishes. Once the ice cream is ready, you can all take turns scooping it into cones, adding toppings in a bowl, or even baking other treats that can be topped with ice cream.

    It is also easy to get the whole family involved with baking cookies. Sugar cookies work well, since even the smallest hands can decorate the cookies with sprinkles or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Consider buying a cookie press, which can help streamline the process. They are fun for kids to use, and once you buy the machine, you do not have to spend much money to purchase different shapes for every occasion. Along with a cookie press, be sure that you purchase good cookie sheets, as well as a baker’s cooling rack so that the end product turns out as delicious as possible.

    Another great way to get your family involved in the cooking process is with a juicer. Fruit and vegetable juice is perfect for helping your children (and picky adults for that matter) get enough nutrients into their diets. With a juicer, your family can choose exactly what they want to drink, and you do not have to worry about the hassle of chopping and peeling, like you would if you used a blender. You can also use your juicer to make more adult drinks, like a Bloody Mary, so it is great for adults as well as kids.

    There are actually a number of kitchen gadgets that you can use to entice the other adults in your household to participate in the kitchen. For example, your spouse may not like to cook, but maybe he or she would like to mix the drinks using a glass tabletop beverage dispenser.

    Perhaps they would be willing to choose and chill the wine using a rotating wine cooler. You can even purchase a Mr. Beer home brewing system, which comes with everything you need to make the perfect beer from the comfort of your kitchen. Even people who do not like to cook are usually willing to work a little if it means having fun entertaining guests later.

    No kitchen would be complete without some fun tea and coffee gadgets. Your spouse may not like being in the kitchen, but learning how to brew the perfect pot is not that difficult, especially if you have the right tools. Many retailers sell percolators and stovetop teakettles. You can also invest in an espresso machine, a cream whipper for topping cups of hot chocolate, or an entire coffee set. Instead of buying a bulk package of the store brand, consider splurging on specialty coffee and tea blends that complements your new equipment.

    When it comes to getting your family involved, fun tools can make the prep work for a dish seem to go a lot faster. Luckily, most little gadgets are not expensive at all. For example, a cherry/olive pitter is a fun tool that most home chefs do not own, but can make the task fun for those who are not usually cooking. You can also purchase a hand held citrus juicer, a pineapple cutter that makes perfect rings, a frozen drink mixer, cake decorating pens, an egg slicer, a can crusher, several tools to make mini hamburgers, a waffle maker, a peanut butter maker, pancake molds, or even a yogurt maker. New gadgets in the kitchen can go a long way towards making cooking a lot of fun for you and your family.

    When it comes to getting help in the kitchen, most of the time all you have to do is ask. Nearly everyone is happy to help in the kitchen, at least occasionally, if they think that they are wanted and can be of help. You family may just be avoiding helping you because they think they will be in the way. Give every member of the family a task to help prepare each meal. Even small children can learn to set a table or mix batter under supervision. Cooking together makes every meal better, since everyone at the table eating the food will take a small sense of pride in it.

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  • How To Properly Serve Delicious Peanut Butter Bread

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    July 29, 2021 /  Food

    PRESENTING bread, it seems easy but it turns out there are wrong ways. This includes making peanut butter.
    Well, for those of you who want to get the flavor and aroma of peanut butter, it’s good hatikan following tips, as reported Bonappetit:

    Use whole wheat bread
    To get the flavor and texture of peanut butter bread, use whole wheat bread. In addition to healthy, whole grain bread will make peanut butter feels soft when consumed.

    Select the best peanut butter
    Another factor is the peanut butter. In order to find a good taste, you should not hesitate to choose the best peanut butter, which according to taste.

    Do not be stacked
    One way is often done when serving bread, especially when traveling far. To get a good flavor and texture, not again accumulate bread. With stacked, the appearance of bread will be ugly.

    Pair with fruit jam
    If you want to give a different taste of peanut butter on the bread, you can play in it sense. Do not hesitate to do so. Could give strawberry jam, pineapple, or other fruit jam.

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  • Quickstart Guide to Making Your Own Pet Food at Home

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    July 26, 2021 /  Food

    As a pet owner, no doubt you want to give your dog or cat the best care possible. And caring for your pet means feeding him the best diet you can. By making your own pet foods, you’ll be saving money, up to 80%. And to top it off, it’s easy; making pet food at home is probably a lot less time-consuming than you may have thought. With hundreds of websites offering free pet food recipes online, it’s now easier than ever to make your own pet food.

    To prepare healthy and nutritious food for your pet you should study your pet’s natural habitat and food sources, and then prepare foods that most closely resemble their own natural or original diet.

    Animals, because they are color blind, choose their foods by smell. Most dogs like gamey flavors best, as well as liver, fat, garlic, onions, horsemeat, lamb, beef, cheese and fish. Cats enjoy chicken, liver, fish, turkey, lamb, and yeast, and prefer fresh to aged flavors.

    Cats are fussy eaters and it is not wise to continually feed them their favorite foods. Soon they will refuse to eat anything else; it is your job to see your cat has a balanced diet.

    Animals do not need salt added to their diet as the natural salt in the food is enough for them.

    Dogs may eat any vegetable they want, but cats should not have any starchy veggies, like peas and corn. Some dogs and cats even enjoy fruits!

    It’s a good idea to always add a grain, such as Kibble, wheat germ, cooked oatmeal or whole wheat bread to meat dinners. For dogs use 75% carbohydrate foods (grains and vegetables) to 25% meat; for cats use half carbohydrate foods to half meat.

    You will find, once you begin making your own pet foods, that it is really relatively simple and you will save some money as well. Remember that all pet foods should be served at room temperature; don’t serve food cold from the refrigerator nor hot from the stove.

    Homemade pet food should take a ridiculously small amount of your time. As a general guide meats should be raw and vegetables must be finely chopped in a food processor or by a hand grater.

    When it comes time for feeding, it is important that you let your dogs and cats eat as much as they want at the time of feeding. Once their body becomes nutritionally satiated, they will cut their food intake, sometimes by half the amount, and go on a maintenance diet. Incidentally, you should know that cats should be fed three times a day, while an adult dog needs only one meal a day.

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  • Becoming a Personal Trainer

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    July 24, 2021 /  Fitness, Food

    I talk to a lot of people who are interested in becoming personal trainers. In this article, I will briefly share some thoughts on motives, attitudes and resources if you are thinking of becoming a personal trainer. I would recommend that you start by getting a legitimate certification. You can research the internet or talk to personal trainers at health clubs or private studios. As a suggestion, you could check out the International Association of Resistance Trainers, ISSA or ACE. These three certification organizations can be found on the internet and have several areas for you to consider. When considering a legitimate certification program, check out personal training / liability insurance.

    Be sure that the certificate you earn will have clear guidelines on how to purchase insurance once you actually start to train clients. There are many fitness certifications that are not recognized by any insurance companies, stay away from these. If you choose to train without insurance, you are taking a big risk. Depending on the physical location of where you will train your clients (club, private training studio, corporate fitness center) you will need to check with their individual requirements regarding acceptable certifications and insurance policies.

    After you have done your research on the above issues, if you are still interested, get started today! Whether you remain interested (out of the people who go into fitness training, many more drop out than stick with it) you can always use the information to further your own personal fitness programming. I believe that your initial training / certification will never be a waste. You will want to check out other certification programs later (may be required based on place of employment) in order to get plenty of exposure to all the different training methodologies.

    Try to stay grounded – many programs are not that reality based. With any training information, ask yourself the question: How will I use this for my own, as well as my clients, fitness program? I have many doctors, other trainers and people with sports / human performance degrees who hire me to help with training issues. The rubber hits the road when you have a client who is depending on you to give them a cardio, strength training, eating, supplementation, injury recovery and / or flexibility program complete with personalized scheduling. You do not need to have all the answers but try to establish your own process for giving them the answers or effective referrals for what they need.

    Not knowing what your previous experience is regarding working with people in general, I would suggest that you assess what your tolerance is for complainers and whiners as there are so many issues for so many people that you will need to address at some level (as a fitness professional). If you want to be a good trainer, you need to commit to the total client. I think too many trainers end up wanting to legitimize their own training priorities and believe that by becoming a personal trainer / fitness professional, they can focus all their time on themselves (not an acceptable mindset). They should stay out of personal training if they are not ready to commit to their clients. Do not fall prey to canned programs or using a cookie cutter approach for everyone you will train.

    I come from a human service background (double major in Social Work / Criminal Justice) and worked my way up to manager in a juvenile diversion program over a period of 10 years before getting into personal training. BUT, in the first three years of being a personal trainer, I placed in three international personal trainer contests. These were great experiences but in all three instances, success was based on the commitment to the client more than caring about winning any contests.

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  • Functional Fitness Training with Fit Balls

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    July 23, 2021 /  Fitness

    Fit Balls, Swiss Balls, Physio Balls and Exercise Balls! Call them what you will, we all know what you’re talking about – those big blow up balls of different sizes and colours you have always wanted to try but never had the chance. They are becoming a favoured tool of the personal trainer, the ‘must have’ piece of equipment for the home studio, and an essential item for complete programming for the development of core strength and reduction and termination of lower back pain.

    Because of a sedentary lifestyle, most people have poor posture. The muscles of the trunk are no longer able to support the body in the most efficient way possible. Because of external support from a chair, couch, car seat, etc., the neuromuscular system has “forgotten” how to maintain posture easily and efficiently. This usually leads to breakdown, pain and dysfunction.

    I have found that using a Fit ball is a very effective way to correct postural alignment. Exercises on the ball can be very mild or extremely challenging depending on the needs of the client. By balancing on the ball, the client now has no other support to rely on except his or her own body. The body will automatically call on the righting and equilibrium responses, facilitating a coordinated effort of the postural muscles. The client unconsciously finds a way to balance on the ball with the least amount of muscle use possible, therefore reinforcing positive movement patterns.

    Fit Balls are one of the most effective exercise tools to improve and develop spinal, pelvic and shoulder girdle stability. Total core stability is achieved along with improved posture and an increased awareness of your own body – the way it moves and the way it is designed to move. An enhanced kinesthetic sense is discovered and refined, allowing you to ‘feel’ your own actions and be able to adjust incorrect positions and movements performed throughout the exercises.

    Fit Balls add variety to create new and challenging demands on the body in a number of different planes. Just about any exercise done in the gym can be performed using the Fit Ball. We all know how important variety is to every program. Not just from the point of view of changing the stimuli to allow for continued adaptation but to enhance motivation. Without it, the likelihood of adhering to our current exercise program and achieving our goals is somewhat slim.

    Available in a number of sizes, from 45cm to 75cm in diametre, the right size Fit Ball is determined by your height and more importantly your leg length. While sitting on top of the ball, with calves perpendicular to the ground, your thighs should be parallel and at 90-100° with your knees and your body weight evenly distributed over both feet. This is your correct postural position. Imagine a straight line starting from your ear, travelling through your shoulder and stopping at the centre point of your pelvis. This visual connection will help you adjust and maintain correct postural alignment in the initial stages of learning with the Fit Ball.

    Implementing the use of a Fit Ball recruits your ‘stabilizer’ muscles to establish and maintain a solid platform from which you develop strength, endurance and correct postural adaptations. They encourage the contraction and stimulation of deep muscle fibres within the trunk including external and internal obliques, rectus and transverse abdominals and the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum. I’m sure those of you who have sought professional advice for lower back pain and postural correction have heard of these muscles before. The relationship between the abdominal and lower back muscles is crucial to core stability, yet neither should be the sole focus of any particular training session.

    When using the Fit Ball it is possible to reach muscular exhaustion without showing any normal signs of physiological fatigue due to the high involvement of stabilizing muscles and joint structures. Rotate exercises between the upper and lower regions and the trunk. This guarantees complete recovery of all muscle groups to allow each muscle to be utilized with maximum efficiency and productivity.

    As with all exercise, the quality of the movement is more important than the quantity of exercise, repetitions or sets performed on the Fit ball.

    The Fit ball is a great tool for the personal trainer to use. Clients enjoy using the ball, and it also promotes body awareness, improves balance and coordination, and reinforces proper spinal alignment along with a great new and challenging stimulus for your brain, as well as your body!

    As a health and fitness professional for over 10 years, Daniel has personally trained more than 4000 people, on 4 continents towards the achievement of their fitness and lifestyle objectives using his unique holistic and functional approach to lifestyle enhancement. Daniel is a true leader and innovator in the industry. Daniel draws from an academic background in Human Movement, Exercise Science and Sports Management in Australia & also holds a Diploma in Massage Therapy, & Certificates in Workplace Health Promotion, Personal Training (ACSM) and Australian Training for Fitness Professionals (ATP), Golf Fitness & Conditioning, Postural Analysis, Weight Management & Fat Loss.

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  • Fresh Roasted Coffee Facts

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    July 21, 2021 /  Food

    Depending on the day, coffee is either the number one or two most consumed beverage in the world. It is enjoyed daily by hundreds of millions of people in virtually every country around the globe.

    Many fresh roasted coffee lovers have no idea how their favorite morning cup of coffee is ‘made’. This article briefly explains the process of roasting gourmet coffee beans and how those wonderful flavors and aromas’ get into your morning cup!

    It takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to roast gourmet coffee beans using a typical small commercial gas roaster. The usual rule-of-thumb is the quicker the roast, the better the coffee.

    Short roasting retains the largest percentage of the gourmet coffee bean’s aromatic properties. Slow roasting gourmet coffee beans results in the beans baking and usually prevents them from developing fully. Also slow roasting normally won’t produce bright roasts and typically makes the beans hard instead of brittle even after the color standard has been attained.

    Gourmet coffee beans have varying degrees of moisture when they are green or raw. The best fresh roasted coffee is created by first starting the roasting process with a slow fire until some of the moisture has been driven out of the bean. If too much heat is used at the beginning of the roasting process there is a high risk of “tipping” or charring the little germ at the end of the bean which is the most sensitive part of the bean.

    Kissing The Cheeks” of a gourmet coffee bean is caused by loading too many beans in the roasting cylinder at one time and revolving the roasting cylinder too fast. This causes some of the beans to ride the cylinder walls for a complete revolution instead of falling off the sides into the cylinder as it revolves. As a result one face of the gourmet coffee bean gets burned or ‘kissed’.

    There are no universal standards for coffee roasting. Because roasting is part ‘art’, a roaster will develop a personal blend and roast combination and establish that blend/roast combination as a sample ‘type’ to be used as the in-house standard the next time a batch of that blend/roast is roasted. Coffee drinker’s tastes run the entire gambit of roasting possibilities, from light roasted to extremely dark roasts.

    Many roasters use the following roasting classifications:

    • Light
    • Cinnamon
    • Medium
    • High
    • City
    • Full City
    • French
    • Italian

    A city roast is a dark roasted bean. A full city roast is a few degrees darker yet. A French roasted bean is cooked until the natural oil appears on the surface. And an Italian roasted bean is roasted until it is carbonized so it can be easily powdered.

    In the United States, lighter roasted beans are favored on the west coast, the darkest roasts are enjoyed in the south and a medium-colored roast is the primary roast enjoyed on the east coast. Coffee drinkers in Boston especially enjoy cinnamon roasted coffee.

    Coffee loses weight during the roasting process. The amount of weight lost varies according to the degree of roasting and the nature of the bean. Green beans, on average, loose sixteen (16%) percent of their weight during the roasting process. Typically one hundred pounds of coffee in the cherry produces twenty-five pounds in the parchment. One hundred pounds in parchment produces eighty-four pounds of cleaned coffee. And one hundred pounds of cleaned coffee produces eighty-four pounds of fresh roasted coffee.

    During the roasting process the gourmet coffee bean undergoes both physical and chemical changes. After it has been in the roasting cylinder a short time the color of the bean turns a yellowish brown which gradually darkens the longer it is cooked. Likewise as the beans heat up they shrivel up until they reach the halfway point of the roasting process called the “developing” point. At this stage the beans start to swell back up and “pop open” increasing their physical size by fifty percent. When the developing point is reached the heat is turned up and the roasting is finished as quickly as possible.

    “Dry” and “Wet” Roasts

    A coffee roaster uses a utensil called a “trier” (it looks like an elongated spoon) to check the progress of the beans often during the roasting process. The trier is slipped into the cylinder taking a sample of the roasting beans and compared to a type sample. When the coffee has reached the desired level of roasting the heat is shut off to “check” or stop the cooking by reducing the temperature of the coffee and roasting cylinder as quickly as possible.

    In the wet roast method the coffee is sprayed with water while the roasting cylinder is still revolving to cool the beans and stop the cooking.

    In the dry roast method the beans are poured out of the roasting cylinder into a large colander type basket where they are stirred rapidly while air is blown through the beans to cool them down as quickly as possible to stop the cooking.

    Excessive watering of coffee in and after the roasting process to reduce shrinkage is typically frowned upon. “Heading” the coffee or checking the roast before removing it from the roasting cylinder is considered a legitimate practice.

    When water is used to quench the roast and stop the cooking most of the water turns to steam and does not get absorbed by the beans. However the beans do tend to swell slightly and brighten the coffee. Even though some water is used to check the roast it is still considered to be a “dry roast”.

    It is doubtful that more than a handful of American coffee roasters use an absolutely “dry” roasting method – it is difficult to maintain consistent results from one batch to another and usually doesn’t provide the best possible product. The term “dry roasted” has been abused for years by coffee company marketing departments. Of course “dry roasted” coffee as described above will always make better coffee than beans that have been soaked with water but the word “dry” needs to be defined as to what exactly that means among roasters before the term can provide any real meaning or value to consumers.

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  • Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

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    July 21, 2021 /  Food

    Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Coffee Quality

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    July 20, 2021 /  Food

    Coffee cultivation is not an exact science, but it has a tremendous impact on coffee quality. Although there are many factors and conditions that are likely to lead to the production of high quality coffee, there are many things that affect the taste of coffee that would appear to be more or less random. As powerful as it can be when sipped hot in the morning, it is a very adaptive crop, and when it comes to producing the highest quality, most expensive coffee, here are a some factors that influence it more than others. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • What is traditional Christmas cooking

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    July 19, 2021 /  Food

    What is traditional Christmas cooking? Well, that depends on you and your family. Tradition is something you make up as you go along. A traditional Christmas is what is traditional in your home. It may be a recipe handed down from your great grandmother or it may be something you thought of in a desperate hurry last Christmas Eve. Anything can become a tradition. What makes something traditional depends on how we feel about it.

    That said, once something becomes traditional then you change it at your peril. If your children expect to come home to stir the Christmas pudding and put in the family favors then you had better not change it. For more details www.cooking-chinese-style.com .They may be away at college or carving out a big career for themselves in the city but they will still expect Christmas to be the Christmas they remember. Christmas cooking is a big part, maybe the biggest part, of the way we remember Christmas.

    Every part of Christmas is accompanied by food of one sort or another. The tastes and smells of that food fixes the memory of Christmas in our minds. That smell of cinnamon or hot sugar. If we catch a hint of it anywhere at anytime we are transported instantly back in time to a Christmas kitchen of our childhood. That is the power of traditional Christmas cooking.

    I remember how when my mother-in-law was alive and would come to us for Christmas dinner, I had to cook a big traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Turkey seemed a very dry meat to me so I looked through one of my cookery books and found a recipe that involved glazing the turkey with apricot jam for the last 15 minutes of cooking. As a “proper” cook I was appalled, but it seemed to work, so every year I poured a pot of apricot jam over my turkey and, I have to confess, it was delicious.

    When my mother-in-law died I saw the opportunity to change our family’s traditional Christmas cooking routine. At last my culinary skills would find true expression in a Christmas dinner that would be original and exciting. No more apricot jam for me. I would amaze family and friends with my creations. For more details www.atkins-diets-recipes.com But no matter what I tried in subsequent years nothing was quite as good as the old turkey recipe with its apricot jam. It had become part of our family’s traditional Christmas cooking. So I gave in and everyone was much happier, even me.

    However good a cook you are and whatever new recipes you may attempt in the rest of the year Christmas is a time to come back to traditional Christmas cooking whatever that might be for you and your family. There is a profound wisdom in that which cooks too easily forget. When we cook we are engaging in one of the great acts of social ritual. We are not just cooking for ourselves we are cooking for other people. Our Christmas dinner table expresses not just our skill but our human relationships. Traditional Christmas cooking encapsulates all those relationships, gathered over the years, with people still living and people long since dead that go into making us what we are. At Christmas ghosts sit down at out tables. Traditional Christmas cooking makes sure they are happy ones.

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