Friday, June 25, 2010

Cookus Interruptus, a review

When I was pregnant with L (two plus years ago), I decided to make all of his baby food from scratch. I bought a copy of Cynthia Lair’s book Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents and by the time L started eating solid foods at six-months-old, I had already stockpiled the freezer with organic and mostly locally grown food.

I cooked and pureed sweet potatoes, spinach, peas, and carrots. Then apples, peaches, and pears were cooked, frozen in ice cube trays, then bagged and labeled. The assembly line worked. He took his first bite of food, smashed bananas then sweet potatoes and onto brown rice cereal.

Our homemade baby food was a success and we bypassed commercial baby food and taught our little one to enjoy eating simple whole foods.

While I still cook from a well-worn copy of Feeding the Whole Family, I've started to visit Lair’s web-based cooking show Cookus Interruptus: how to cook fresh local organic foods despite life’s interruptions. The 100 plus episodes (with accompanying recipes) are cutting-edge entertainment — it combines cooking and improv comedy with mostly hilarious results. This is a unique mix unparalleled by the dozens of culinary-based programming on television or the web.

Lair’s talents as an improv artist, actress, nutrition educator, and cookbook author shine in this medium. She stars and cooks in weekly episodes alongside her quirky fictional family who provide a constant source of interruption.

As the story goes, husband Steve (of 25 years) left his job to do freelance work, their rock-star wannabe daughter Jane moved in with her 5-year-old son, Joaquin, Steve’s dad Ward came for a visit and never left, and Steve’s fix-it friend Darrel showed up unannounced.

In addition to a few good laughs, Cookus Interruptus is a resource for anyone who wants to take in a variety of whole foods in their diet. Search printable recipes by food type: whole grains, beans & soy, vegetables & fruit, fish & eggs, beef & poultry, and gluten-free or by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sweets & drinks, and toppings and sauces. The site also includes instruction on Feeding Kids, Shopping and Kitchen Tips, How to Stock Your Pantry, Finding Local, and What’s in Season. Read Lair's regularly updated blog to learn more about food politics, contests and giveaways, cooking related news, and witty rants written by Steve.

While L’s tastes change as he grows, a few of our current favorites include Becky’s Braised Greens (and yes, this child eats kale!), Soba Noodles with Coconut Peanut Sauce, and Ben’s Friday Pancakes. We check in often for news updates or to watch new cooking episodes, especially at the 5 o’clock dinner hour.

Cookus Interruptus is a go-to site for learning to cook simple whole foods that the whole family will truly love.
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