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Home Cooking Is For Everyone



Interview Summary:

  • Maria started sharing recipes via her blog and the ones from scratch really resonated
  • One blog a week – 6 years later, a cookbook
  • Blogging is ephemeral,  a book is a permanent record
  • If she wanted to live organically she had to grow the food and cook it herself
  • Not everybody lives in a place where you can get healthy take out
  • For the time it takes for me to call, order, and receive take out, I can make this from scratch
  • How can I minimize the amount of dishes I use?
  • The fun part of cooking is you can version it to your own taste
  • Cooking can be therapeutic
  • Maria’s grandfather started the organic movement and started Prevention magazine- they’ve seen
  • Every health craze come and go – she’s held the line and said “its about real food”

Learn More About Scratch at: scratchcookbook.com

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Interview Notes From The Show:

Dr. Pedram:

Hey. Welcome back to the Urban Monk, Dr. Pedram. Here today with Maria Rodale, delightful individual. I’ve had the opportunity of hanging out with her recently in a film shoot we did for our prosperity film. She is the CEO of Rodale Publishing, and she’s been around books for a very long time, and now she’s written her fourth major book. We’re here to talk about it because this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Maria, hi.

Maria:

Hi. How are you?

Dr. Pedram:

Fantastic. Fantastic.

Maria:

Good.

Dr. Pedram:

Just offline, we were talking about how our kids end up in bed, and I woke up with a foot in my face this morning. It’s kind of a common occurrence around parenting.

Maria:

Yes. Definitely.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, so you’re so busy! You’re the CEO of this very large publishing company and you thought that it’s important to pull over. I know what it takes to write a book. It’s a lot of work, and write this book because this is what the world needed at this time.

First of all, my hat off to you because that’s a lot of work.

Maria:

Thanks.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Secondly, how did this journey of writing this book come about? Why now?

Maria:

Well, I’m the kind of person who always needs to learn by doing, so when blogging first started many years ago, I thought, “You know, I’m going to start a blog.” The easiest thing for me to do, and the most fun thing for me to do was to put up some of my recipes. I blogged about a lot of topics, but the recipes really seemed to resonate with people. As I was learning and watching the traffic and the metrics, and seeing what resonated with people, any time I wrote a recipe from scratch, it did really well, so I thought, “This could be an interesting cookbook for me to do.”

What’s great about blogging is that you do one blog a week, and six years later, you have a cookbook. I didn’t really take a year off or anything. It was really done on a bit by bit process over many years, and then I just put it all together and filled in some of the gaps. I’m really happy with what I created because it’s a permanent record. Blogging can kind of be ephemeral.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. It gets buried fast.

Maria:

Yeah, and it’s really wonderful to have this cookbook in my kitchen so I can actually remember my recipes very easily.

Dr. Pedram:

The book is called “Scratch”, and it’s really … There’s this kind of generational gap that … I was born into this generation, where my mom cooked most things from scratch, but when I’d go to my friends’ houses, things came out of boxes and bags. It was all processed stuff. People in my generation … I’m 41 years old … really didn’t have a baseline to know how to cook. They didn’t know what a purple potato looked like. They didn’t know what to do with kale. They didn’t know what to do with anything. This is kind of a lost wisdom archive of how to cook from scratch, which to me is really refreshing.

Maria:

Yeah, and that was what was fun for me is almost like recreating and reconstructing and reinventing some old recipes, because I’m like you. My mom cooked a lot of stuff from scratch, but we also had stuff from boxes. When I was younger and out on my own and learning to cook, I realized if I wanted to eat organically … Now, I’m 54, so that was before Whole Foods, before a lot of things … I had to grow the food myself, and I had to cook it myself. It became kind of a fun game. I write in the book about how it started with a box of Bisquick, which my mom used all the time. I looked at the label and went, “Ugh. I don’t want to eat this, and I don’t want to feed this to my daughter.” Then I learned that making biscuits from scratch is not only super easy, but it’s completely a thousand times more delicious than Bisquick. That’s kind of how this process started for me.

Dr. Pedram:

There’s kind of a pivot right there between having that kind of visceral reaction of being like, “What’s in this crap? I don’t want to eat this,” and saying, “Oh, I know! I’m going to go figure out how to make this on my own,[inaudible 00:04:55]” and using those as ingredients.

Maria:

Yeah, and then you add into it that when I was learning to cook, just when I started to get confident, you had people like Martha Stewart come along who upped the bar so high that anything I could do would be inadequate. Today, we have that with the chef culture, where we revere and enjoy watching chefs as entertainment, but we’re not cooking for a restaurant in our homes. We’re cooking to nourish our families. I went underground and just cooked for my family, my kids, for 30 years, and it really was a delight and fun. Now I’m kind of coming out of the closet as a cook. I’m not a chef. I’m a cook.

Dr. Pedram:

Coming … That’s an interesting distinction because right now, I think for a lot of people, to your point, is cooking has become a spectator sport.

Maria:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

Right? That doesn’t help when you got to eat three times a day.

Maria:

Exactly.

Dr. Pedram:

Humanizing this and personalizing this. Now, just a little bit of pedigree here. Her grandfather is the guy who started the word organic in America, so they have a long history of farming and cultivating and all this, so you’ve grown up in a … I stayed. Actually I stayed in the farmhouse when we were over there filming. It was amazing! It’s like there’s this long history of saying, “Okay. Let’s do the right thing with food.” A lot of people don’t have that. Taking what we now know about processed food and the need to eat vegetables and organics and getting the pesticides out and all that, and actually making that translate into what we do every day as part of our ritual with our family …

Maria:

Exactly!

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram:

… that’s really where I think the magic is happening, and I think that’s really why I feel like you’re so passionate about making sure this book gets into all these hands.

Maria:

Exactly. The power that happens at your kitchen table, whether it’s with you alone or with your kids, or with your friends is so healing and nourishing and wonderful. It’s just the most beautiful thing you can do for yourself and your family, and it’s so simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s really about trusting the taste of an ingredient and letting that ingredient speak for itself. I want people to feel safe in the kitchen. I want them to feel confident and capable, that you can do it, whether it’s the simplest thing or the hardest thing. It’s fun, and you might make mistakes, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s still going to taste good. For the few times it doesn’t taste good, it’s worth the risk.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Let’s talk about ingredients real quickly because if you get a conventional tomato, then you’ve got to put all sorts of weird wiz-bang type of things on it to make it taste like something versus an organic tomato, which should, off the vine, taste delicious. The old days, it was salt and pepper, right?

Maria:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

Because most food didn’t need more [inaudible 00:08:08].

Maria:

It’s also about eating that tomato in season. We think about, whether it’s organic or conventional, chemical, whatever, the idea of having a delicious tomato all year round is kind of unrealistic. For example, it’s the beginning of September, and I just spent the last month making vat after vat of tomato sauce, and tomato soup with those fresh garden tomatoes and freezing them so that I have that taste all winter long. You’re not going to get, whether it’s organic or conventional, you’re not going to get that same taste in March, unless it’s shipped from the Southern Hemisphere, and then you have all the issues that go with that. It’s really about eating in season, eating organically, and then enjoying it while it’s there and not expecting it every single day of the year.

Dr. Pedram:

That gives the body an opportunity to cycle and phase. You look at all the kind of medical studies, and like hormesis and all the things that we talk about with challenging the body with new things. If you’re eating the same damn thing every day, your body goes waa. It just falls asleep.

Maria:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

You titled the book “Scratch”. Why “Scratch”?

Maria:

Well, because I thought it was a fun title.

Dr. Pedram:

I think it’s great.

Maria:

I like the boldness of it, but really, that is the power that everybody has in their hands is making something from scratch. I wanted to demystify it and make it fun and easy, and just, you know, there’s nothing quite like eating something made from scratch, and everybody’s capable of doing that.

Dr. Pedram:

Most people in my generation are busy working their asses off. That’s maybe three, four generations now is you go. You get some takeout. You get some delivery. You stop at a restaurant. You might go to a healthy restaurant, but there’s still something missing. Someone who’s in that world of spin and spin, and doesn’t know really how to go about starting a healthy kitchen life, what advice would you have for them?

Maria:

I think the first thing to remember is that not everybody lives in a place where you can get healthy takeout or even good takeout or even a healthy restaurant. I live in Pennsylvania, which, as you know, it’s not New York City. It’s not California. There’s limited choices, so if you want really healthy, good food, you have to make an effort, but my whole point is, let’s say you come home from work, and you’re tired, which believe me, I have done.

Dr. Pedram:

Been there.

Maria:

Yeah, and your kids are going, “Mom! What’s for dinner? I’m starving!” Just making an egg sandwich takes five minutes. You’ve got something in your mouth that’s nourishing and delicious and simple. Yes, it’s a breakfast food, but it’s a dinner food, or making spaghetti really quickly. There’s so many things you can do that literally take 20 minutes. The longest thing is waiting for the water to boil, or just making up your mind.

I wanted to give people the tools and the recipes to be like, you know what? In the time it takes for me to call and order takeout and have it delivered, I can make this from scratch, and everybody will be happier. You have dishes to do. That’s the only problem.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. It’s just people don’t even know what to do with them because they don’t get dishes dirty.

Maria:

One of the things I do in the book, because I’m fundamentally a lazy person, I try to figure out, okay, how can I minimize the amount of dishes that I’m using in making something? When I first started to cook, I’d use dozens of dishes and the whole kitchen would be a mess. Now, it’s like, you know what? You can actually make a cake using one bowl. You don’t have to separate things out into two bowls. Just throw stuff in, and it actually turns out really pretty good.

Dr. Pedram:

You know what? That’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve always had with it. You get into a recipe book, and next thing you know, it’s like Armageddon in your kitchen, and you’re like, “Damn it!” This either came out well or it didn’t, but now I’ve got two hours of labor to undo this.

Maria:

That’s right. That’s right.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. No. That’s good.

Maria:

Really, you don’t need that many tools. I don’t own a food processor. I have a Vitamix, which I use sparingly, but you don’t need a lot of tools to cook really great food.

Dr. Pedram:

If you’re just getting started and you’re going to want to toe in to this thing, do you just go like, “Okay, look. I’m going to go find one recipe that sounds awesome for me, and I’m going to try it. Then I’m going to maybe try it again, and get it under my belt and feel comfortable with it, and then that starts to kind of build a repertoire”? Is that the easiest way in?

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Maria:

Yeah. I think what’s beautiful and amazing to me … I have three daughters, and they all cook, even though my youngest is only ten, but what I see is everybody, when they cook a recipe, it comes out a little bit different. My sisters and I all make my grandmother’s [kogle 00:13:47] but each of us does it a little bit differently, and the fun part of cooking is that you can version it to your own taste, so you don’t like garlic? Skip the garlic. You want to add kale to everything? Put kale in it. What I want to teach people is just the basics so that you have the power to experiment and play in the kitchen and know that it’s going to work out, and it’s going to be delicious. It’s going to be exactly the way you want it.

Dr. Pedram:

Once you understand the fundamentals, you could have a traditional recipe, like, “Here’s my pasta primavera. It’s come down from Grandmama’s thing, and dadadadada.” Then, once you’re comfortable with it, how easy is it to experiment? Like how easy is it to just play?

Maria:

Super easy! The only thing to fear is fear itself. I have a recipe for paella in the book. I kind of created it from a taste memory I had in Spain. I know a Spanish woman, and she said, “That’s the secret to paella is every woman has her own version of it, and it’s never the same for anybody who makes it.” Knowing that you have that permission and that there’s no perfect one way to do it … A lot of chefs will say, “This is the exactly how you have to do it, and if you don’t do it this way, you’re a failure.” It’s like, pfft.

Dr. Pedram:

Come on.

Maria:

No. Maybe if you’re in a certain kind of restaurant, that’s the case, but not if you’re at home. The kitchen is your domain of freedom and empowerment. You can walk around in your underwear. It’s like …

Dr. Pedram:

Own it!

Maria:

… you can do whatever you want. Yeah. There’s a saying, “Don’t cook bacon in your underwear,” because, you know.

Dr. Pedram:

Your skin might be upset. Done that. Actually, if I ever cook bacon, I’ve got the apron on now, because I’ve had that experience in the morning. It’s like, yeah. This is dumb. This is really, really bad.

There’s this culture now that I see. It’s this chef thing. I want to lean into this a little bit because I think it’s ugly. You’re watching these people competing and super stressed out, and they’re getting pounded by this drill sergeant type chef person. It’s a lot of shame. It’s a lot of … All the bullshit that TV created for itself that makes people not really want to hang out and watch TV anymore. Thank you, TV. Then people associate that with cooking. Then I think of you in your kitchen, humming and dancing and singing and doing your thing. My mom is so happy in her kitchen. I love cooking with my wife, and so the vibe is completely counter to what the home kitchen should be, you know?

Maria:

Yeah. No, I mean, I don’t want to criticize any of the TV shows. Actually, honestly, I don’t watch too many of them. I enjoyed Michael Pollan’s series on Netflix “Cooked”. He’s a great writer. Again, that’s exploring how …

Dr. Pedram:

That’s different.

Maria:

Yeah. That’s different. It’s more educational, but I don’t believe in shame. I think shame is one of the most offensive, shameful things. I often tell people when they come to my house, “This is a shame-free house. You can do whatever you want. You can be creative, and you won’t be judged.” It’s that way in my kitchen too, and I think that’s an important thing for all of us to create for our families because, you know, shame is so damaging to children, and it’s not worth it. It’s never a good thing. Everybody’s kitchen should be a shame-free zone, and that means don’t try to feel like you have to be perfect or you’re competing with anybody. You’re just feeding and nourishing yourself and your family. That’s a beautiful thing, and it’s personal. What feeds and nourishes you is different than what your neighbors are feeding and nourishing themselves with.

Big proponent of don’t baby your kids in terms of what you will or won’t feed them. They should eat what you’re eating, and they’ll develop their own personal tastes, but you shouldn’t force them to eat anything, but you also shouldn’t give into them just wanting what I call the white food diet, you know, buttered noodles and potatoes.

Dr. Pedram:

Starch. Right.

Maria: Starch.

Everybody gets everything at my table, but nobody’s forced to eat anything.

Dr. Pedram:

Got it. Yeah. It’s hard because my kid, my two year old, does not like broccoli. I know broccoli’s good for him, but I don’t want to fight every night either, so it’s a challenge.

Maria:

Yeah. What I found with my kids is that eating it raw with ranch dressing does the trick, but don’t force it.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, because you see people twenty years later … I actually have a friend who has a very profound … and this is the mayor of a city, like a medium size city, so he’s no slouch … He has a profound fructo phobia because when he was a kid, his mom used to make him eat bananas with milk and cereal, whatever. She said, “You can’t get up until you finish your plate.” He’s deathly afraid of bananas. It’s like, “Holy crap, man! That really hit your young mind pretty hard.”

Maria:

My oldest daughter is … I was a young mother when I had her, and there was like one or two times where I was like, “You’re not getting up from the table …” and she outlasted everybody. She was not … She was so picky, and I couldn’t’ understand it. What I learned, what we learned, what she learned is she’s extremely gluten intolerant. That explains why she never would eat a sandwich. It made it hard to be her mother when I was younger, but it really taught us all a lot, and taught me to respect a kid’s fundamental preferences. To this day, both she and her husband will not eat a banana.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. You’ve had what, almost three decades of generational shift with your daughters. Does that lay out differently? Has food changed in the way you can can interface with them.

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Maria:

Oh, my God!

Dr. Pedram:

I mean, it must be so different now.

Maria:

It’s unbelievable. Yeah, when my first daughter was born, like I said, there’s no Whole Foods. If you wanted organic, you had to make it yourself, or go to the co-op, which wasn’t always the greatest, and times were very different back then. Nobody knew what sushi was. I remember learning what pesto was and thinking, “Wow! That’s really interesting!”

That was one era, and then my next daughter came along, and starting to have a lot more options organically, you know, organic baby food was a thing. Then, with my last daughter who was born ten years ago, it’s like anything, but I’m really grateful that I didn’t have anything available to me all those years because it did teach me how to cook. I love food! I’m a foodie. My youngest daughter, she and I joke. She’s a foodie too. She loves food and will eat almost anything and has a real palate. She’ll smell a food before she eats it. It’s fun. It’s fun to see how each kid is different, each generation is different, each decade is different, but they all love my cooking.

Dr. Pedram:

Hey, that is the ultimate compliment. Let’s talk about these things. Your youngest one grew up in a world that always had a cellphone and a smart phone really, at that point almost is there. By the time she could use them, they were showing up.

Maria:

Yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

Right now, all I see is like food porn. It’s like all this Instagram picturing of all these recipes and how it’s kind of turned into this food art. How much of that do you think is useful and helpful, driving people in the right direction, and how much of it is a distraction from the actual process of cooking and hanging out in the kitchen?

Maria:

First of all, I do think it’s a good thing, and it’s really been helpful because what it does is it exposes so many more people to so many more food cultures and food ideas and places. One of the things I love about having a phone at the table is … My middle daughter is the queen of this. If anybody has a question, she can get the answer immediately. I remember before we had that, you had to go to the library, or …

Dr. Pedram:

Ask people.

Maria:

Then you could never find the right book. There’s this kind of instant education that’s available to kids today that I think is awesome. Having said that, I think it’s really important to have that put the phone down time, and we’re just going to be together and actually talk to each other.

I try not to make hard and fast rules, but overall, I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a good thing, and that comes in terms of me being curious about a food or a recipe, and I can look it up right away, or if I’m hungry for something and I don’t have the recipe, I can find it.

Dr. Pedram:

Did they cook with you over the generations?

Maria:

Oh, yeah.

Dr. Pedram:

How did you pull that one off?

Maria:

Well, starting from when they’re super tiny, I put them in those little bouncy chairs right next to me as I’m cooking, and I’m like, “Okay. It’s time for cooking school.” You know, “Okay, now I’m going to put the water on to boil. Do you think the pasta’s ready?” It’s just my way of engaging and not being bored and going crazy when I’m cooking.

Dr. Pedram:

Also babysitting them simultaneously.

Maria:

Exactly. You can’t just let them alone in a room when they’re that age. Then, I think the most important thing I’ve learned in terms of getting my kids engaged is letting go of that need for me to do everything and for me to be perfect. They want to measure stuff and mix and stir and try things, so it’s really important … I think a lot of people’s nature, including mine, is like, “No. Let me do it. I’ll do it right, and I won’t make a mess.” Just to let them make a mess is such a joy for them that it’s worth the extra cleanup time, and then they feel a part of it, and they feel like they made it. Then they’ll eat it because they made it.

Dr. Pedram:

That’s the ownership part. There’s actually a piece to this that’s funny. We’re actually recording live now for the show. Let me get you to shift back. You’re starting to scoot, so come this, the other way.

Maria:

This way?

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. Now we’re centered again. Awesome.

Actually, we tore out our lawn. We’re in Southern California, so we don’t get water. We tore out our lawn. We put all these raised beds out there, and I’m out there every day with my kid, my son. My baby’s too young. She’s out there now, but just picking stuff and planting and all that. Now he’s turned our raised beds into his sandboxes, so he’s in there with his little bulldozers, tearing things out, and trying not to. At first, I’m like-

Maria:

It’s a big yard.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Exactly. It’s a living, digging yard, and I’m like, wow! At first, I’m getting pissed off about it, like, “You’re ruining everything!” And I’m like, “Oh, my God! He’s got his hands in the dirt. What’s wrong with you, Dad? Just let him be.”

Maria:

Yeah. No, that’s-

Dr. Pedram:

So there’s one less carrot.

Maria:

That is essential is to let them play in the dirt. Let them have their own corner of the garden, and they will plant stuff and completely forget about it, and it will be a disaster, but you have to give them that chance to fail and to try it. There’s dozens of studies that show that kids who garden and are part of a family who gardens will eat more vegetables than kids who don’t because you’re out there, and it’s like, “Look at this tomato! A green bean! Oh, that’s how broccoli grows!” They feel part of it, and yeah. All my kids … and also, there’s other studies that show that playing in the dirt, playing with farm animals, prevents you from having allergies. It’s the most health inducing important thing you can do is to let your kids play outside, play in the dirt, get dirty, roll around in it, have fun, and don’t fret about it.

Dr. Pedram:

How fun was it, as the mother from the Rodale legacy, of going out and growing some tomatoes with the girls and then coming in and cooking them? How does that connect it all up for them?

Maria:

To a certain extent, I think we all take it for granted because it’s just what we do, and it’s the kind of thing they appreciate, but they don’t think is that weird or unusual. It’s just what we do, so I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. You should ask them. Ask them how that influenced their time in there, because for-

Maria:

I think it’s … Go ahead.

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Dr. Pedram: Yeah, I was going to say, I’m leaning into it because I feel that it’s important. I’m wondering what that’s going to do to a kid growing up in a modern world. It’s kind of Waldorfian. It’s like, go get back in it.

Maria:

The other thing that’s really important in terms of parenting that I’ve seen time and time again is that kids watch what you do more than they hear what you say. It’s a fact, so if they see me out in the garden and coming in and cooking, they are learning, and they’re watching, and they’re mimicking. That’s more important than me sitting down and giving them a lecture about something, or letting them run off and not see it at all. I always take my kids food shopping with me and get them involved in that process as well.

Dr. Pedram:

You’re the CEO of a pretty large company. You’re busy. What’s that like, coming home and having that work/life balance? Just being able to shut it down and go into the kitchen and be? I know a lot of people in my audience in particular struggle with that work/life balance. How do you do it?

Maria:

First, let me be completely honest and say, I have help. Here’s what I hate to do: I hate to do laundry. I hate to do cleaning. Those are the two things I really don’t like. I have a cleaning lady who does my laundry, so I don’t have to worry about that, but I do love to cook. To me, cooking goes into a different part of my head, and it’s a mindful practice. It’s that transition, and I don’t drink, so I can’t have a cocktail for that transition. I think cooking is actually more positive and constructive than having a cocktail, so by the time dinner’s done, I feel much more relaxed. I feel like I’ve detoxed from what has happened in that day, and I can really enjoy the rest of the evening, whether it’s going back to work, working, or just spending time with my family. I’m not saying everybody can do that, or wants to do that, but that’s what I do.

Dr. Pedram:

That’s interesting. Actually, I’ve been playing with this a lot, because I’m off traveling and filming and all this, so we’ve actually … Our nanny is wonderful, and I said, “Well, listen. You have all these wonderful recipes that you brought back from your family lineage in Mexico. Here’s our ingredients list, so just cook it with the good stuff, and I come home to a nice warm meal. I feel like I’ve been robbed of the experience of cooking, but you know what? Daddy’s off working, and you can’t win all those battles, right?

Maria:

Right.

Dr. Pedram:

I cook on weekends. I cook when I can.

Maria:

Yeah, no. I think that’s an important thing to realize. I don’t cook every single night. I mean, I’m traveling a lot too. When I go to New York, which is every other week for a couple days, I’m eating out in all sorts of restaurants, dives and fancy restaurants. I’m exploring, and I travel a lot, so when I do come home, that is my pleasure and my special time, but it does end up being probably five nights out of the week that I’ll cook.

Dr. Pedram:

That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Where do people get stuck? What are some of the misconceptions between me listening to you right now and saying, “Okay, that sounds interesting, but not for me,” and actually saying, “Oh, no. I’m all in. I’m going to start cooking from scratch, and I’m going to figure this out”?

Maria:

Yeah, well, if you’re starting at the very beginning, which is where I started, there’s just the whole fear of like … I had somebody recently ask me, “How do I know I’m not going to poison my family?” It’s like, “Okay. There’s certain mushrooms and rhubarb leaves. Other than that … and maybe the puffer fish in Japan, so avoid those things.” Just fear of harming or eating something that’s bad is a fear. There’s only one cure for that which is just to start. Look at expiration dates. Smell things. Taste things.

The other thing is the intimidation of, “Oh, it’s complicated. I need all these tools.” Really, you don’t. You don’t. Even, “Are my pots and pans good enough?” There’s so much peer-pressure and intimidation. Your pots and pans are good enough.

Dr. Pedram:

They’ll do just fine, and later on, if you want to upgrade, there’s always someone …

Maria:

Yeah. My favorite pans are those cast iron pans, and they are cheap as dirt. Well, good dirt’s expensive, but … It’s like twelve bucks for a great pan that will last you a whole lifetime, so don’t be afraid.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. It’s interesting because there’s so much information out there about like, the aluminum’s giving you cancer, and autism, and there’s so much out there that stuns people into paralysis, and saying, “Oh, man! I have aluminum pans, which means I’m going to go eat at Panda Express tonight instead.”

Maria:

What’s been actually great for me personally is … So I grew up in the organic family with all the like “aluminum is bad,” but then I married into an Italian family, Italian-American family, and I’m now divorced, but I learned so much from my in-laws. They cooked everything in aluminum pans. Tomato sauce, pasta, the same aluminum pan forever. They both, my father-in-law just recently passed away at the age of 95, and my mother-in-law is still going strong at 95, so it’s not any one thing. It’s a lot of things that make a healthy life. They always cooked and ate real food, so the most important thing is really to nourish yourself and your family with real food, and do the best you can.

Dr. Pedram:

That’s really it. If we talk about a vitalistic model of health, it’s about giving your body all it needs to have a fighting chance, because if you’re constantly saying, “Oh, the sun’s giving me cancer. The aluminum’s doing this. That person just sneezed,” it creates a neurosis that just crushes you versus cooking from scratch, eating right, taking care of yourself, and giving your systems the kind of robust advantage that they would normally have against all the crap outside.

Maria:

I think that’s one of the things I learned most from growing up in the … because not only did my grandfather start the organic movement, but we published Prevention magazine, so we saw every single health craze you could imagine, and I always, in my gut, said, “You know, it’s about real food. It’s butter, not margarine. It’s olive oil, not …”

Dr. Pedram:

Crisco.

Maria:

“… artificial oil. Crisco.” What studies are showing now is that that’s the best way to eat. Just stick to the real stuff, real vegetables, not processed stuff. If you’re going to eat sugar in desserts, stick to real sugar, organic sugar, and not artificial substitutes.

Dr. Pedram: Yeah, and that’s hard because there’s been so much information and mis-information in that direction for so long that again, people are stunned. All the studies I’ve looked at say basically eat unprocessed food. If you’re having meat, have clean meat, and eat lots and lots of vegetables, 50% or more, and then everything else is kind of negligible. Just go out and live your life.

Maria:

Exactly! Go out and enjoy the sunshine.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Maria go sunburned last time we hung out because my brown ass could handle it. It was fun. We were outside for a long time, out on the farm. It was good.

All right. I’m going to start as part of my thing doing some of your recipes with my family. I’ll just report back.

Maria:

Oh, cool!

Dr. Pedram:

I love cooking from scratch. Again, I either got to go ask Mom, and for that it’s all Persian stuff, and our Persian stuff has too much rice in it, so now I could actually go to healthy, wholesome things that are outside of my cultural heritage and also dip into that.

Where could people find the book? I would love for people to do this kind of cooking thing with me. We’ll just do recipes every week.

Maria:

Awesome! You can find it obviously anywhere books are sold, like Amazon, and then we also have a website called scratchcookbook.com where you can order it. If you pre-order it, which you can still do, there’s all kinds of extra bonus gifts you can get. Scratchcookbook.com is a good place to go. Also Amazon.

Dr. Pedram:

I saw some of your videos. I saw some of the bonus videos that you did for it, and they were great. They were really well done, and they actually made me hungry. I’m like, “How funny! I want to eat that!”

Maria:

Well, I wanted to show people that it is so easy. One of my highest reoccurring, responding blogs is how to make mashed potatoes from scratch. It is the easiest thing you can imagine, and anybody can do it.

Dr. Pedram:

Yeah, but it’s mystified. It’s like, well, it comes in this powder, and we would just add water. I don’t get what … Yeah. That’s the generational hiccup that we’re all recovering from is we got so good at mass producing food and processing it, we said, “Well, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. Let’s go worry about everything else instead of the most important thing, which is food.”

Maria, I love your work. I love everything that you’re doing.

Maria:

Thank you.

Dr. Pedram:

I’m going to start cooking with this and hanging with my tribe and reporting back, and I’ll video some of it.

Maria:

Thank you. I love what you are doing too, Pedram. It’s amazing.

Dr. Pedram:

Thank you. Thank you. We have fun. We have fun. Excellent. Thanks so much for being here.

#Quote by @mariarodale via @PedramShojai

Maria:

You’re welcome.

Dr. Pedram:

The URL one more time?

Maria:

Scratchcookbook.com

Dr. Pedram:

Scratchcookbook.com. Maria Rodale. Delightful, delightful human being. It was a pleasure having her on the show. Let me know, give me comments if you want to join me in what we’re doing, in terms of myself and my wife doing the recipes and cooking along. Join us. It’s going to be fun. You can check me out at theurbanmonk.com, and I will see you next time.

The post Home Cooking Is For Everyone appeared first on The Urban Monk.

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