Chef Marion Sansing's Top 10 Tools for Reclaiming Real Food

I think many of us are convinced about the importance of moving toward a healthy, whole foods diet by now. The problem is how do we do it with busy schedules, limited incomes, and not very much confidence in the kitchen? 

I asked Marion Sansing, our Chef for the Mississippi Modern Homestead Center and teacher of the upcoming weekend retreat Nourish, September 26-28th, what her top resources and tips were for making real food a reality. This is what she told me:

  1. Find your local farmers market. If there isn't one, go the the next town over. If there isn't one there, pick a local, public spot and put an ad in the paper for vendors. Buying local, fresh food at farmers markets is inexpensive. It supports your local economy, and allows you to bring fresh produce into your home.
  2. Buy more than you need in season and learn one or two simple ways to preserve the harvest. Freezing is something everyone can do. Food in season is much less expensive.
  3. Local Harvest is a database of locally grown produce. Knowing your farmer and where your food comes from is key to assuring good health. 
  4. Eat Wild is the same thing as Local Harvest, but for sustainably raised, grass fed, healthy meat.
  5. Invest in a crock pot. They save time and anyone can learn 5-6 good recipes that are healthy and easy.
  6. Cook what you love. If your family doesn't eat eggplants, don't bother buying them. Learn to do 15-20 meals really well.  Do those meals over and over until they become easy. 
  7. Think in terms of a "Continual Kitchen." Marion coined this term and it means getting in a rhythm that makes cooking from scratch easier. For example: Roast a chicken for dinner, use the leftover chicken in a dish the next evening, use the carcass to make a bone broth for soup another evening. Now your effort of roasting a chicken has provided three meals instead of one.
  8.  Make double batches. If you are going through the effort of pulling out ingredients, go ahead and make an extra batch to freeze.
  9. Invest in an extra freezer. You will pay it off in one year by buying in bulk and freezing produce that are in season.
  10. Cooking real food is probably THE most important thing you can do for your health and the health of your family. If you keep this in mind, it makes the learning curve worth while. Changing your diet CAN change your life. Isn't that a valuable effort? Find a mentor, join us for a weekend of hand's on how to at the Homestead Center, watch a video on youtube, cook with friends. The resources are out there. Go get your hands messy!