One solution to our current food crisis put forth by the IRN is: “Inspire, encourage, enable, and involve consumers to make better choices, demonstrating that [real] food can be affordable, convenient, and delicious every day.” How can this be achieved? I, the Minimalist Cook, am on a mission to help.
Several decades after processed foods were introduced and heavily marketed as modern and convenient, we are now dealing with the consequences. There are many well-known issues with processed foods . So why do we still eat them?
Well, there are psychological, economic, sociological, and practical factors at play. Some factors present such a challenge that people need help overcoming them. Basic cooking skills, for example, have gotten lost, and when looking to learn how to cook, people often find that conventional cooking classes are designed for people who, ironically, can already cook.
The goal of Minimalist Cooking is to make eating real food as easy as possible for individuals. In other words, Minimalist Cooking helps clients find ways around barriers to eating real food – be it a lack of time, funds, cooking skills, knowledge about food, kitchen access, or whatever else.
Minimalist Cooking offers basic cooking classes for people looking to learn how to survive on fresh foods every day. Classes start out in the easiest way possible – with minimal equipment, minimal steps in the process, and with a variety of dishes that don’t require measuring or even specific ingredients. Instead we use processes that work with ingredients on hand. It is heartwarming to see how relieved and elated students get when they see how easy and quick cooking can be!
Another tip the Minimalist Cook employs is that most cuisines have a whole variety of dishes that range from simple to elaborate. Why not tap into the solutions that different cultures have created for getting a dinner ready fast? Minimalist Cooking teaches the cook to embrace the quickest dishes from each cuisine.
The Minimalist Cook also teaches home cooks to source high-quality, fresh, organic ingredients. Great flavor makes it easy on the cook!
The question of how to make cooking with organic ingredients affordable comes up often. Solutions include:
- Work as much as possible with what’s available (as in what you already have on hand).
- Choose seasonal produce.
- Source fresh ingredients from gardens, fruit trees, local farms, a CSA, or a Farmer’s Market before resorting to the store.
- Make sure no food goes to waste.
When following these rules, our cooks find that homemade food from high-quality ingredients can be affordable.
What inspires me about this work is witnessing the profound impact it has. People do change their lives, often after just one to three classes. Helping people individually progress is how I help change our food system, one person at a time.
Johanna Dehlinger has been a real food cook almost all her life. Through her blog and her business, The Minimalist Cook, she helps clients learn how to quickly and inexpensively make delicious, healthy meals on a daily basis.
Johanna (left) was a participant in our 2015 Real Food Hackathon.