Memories are made in the kitchen. Every person has an emotional connection to a specific experience or meal depending on the household they grew up in. I can still remember tasting marinara sauce on the weekend, helping my dad pick out the fresh herbs to add in, and the delicious aroma filling the house. These great memories unite us as a species, because, after all, we all need food to survive. Meals break up the day, enhance a social gathering, and even for some, aid in emotional support. However, in today’s society, the home-cooked meals we had as children are slowly dwindling away and being replaced by delivery, grab-and-go, and frozen meals. It’s time for us to take back the kitchen and start cooking again not only for the memories but also for the positive effects it has on our mind and body.
In recent years, vast amounts of studies have been done to research the effects of home-cooking. Eating home-cooked meals on a regular basis (at least 5 days a week) has incredible benefits such as having a longer, healthier, and happier life. A top take-away from this is the obvious nutrition aspect. When you cook your food, as opposed to eating pre-made food, you see all the ingredients that go into it. You are more likely to use whole foods, less sugar, and no chemicals or preservatives. For example, when you make a stir fry, you typically aren’t adding MSG, low-quality oil, and various additives found commonly in a take away stir fry.
Cooking meals can be a creative outlet for some, which is an incredible way to mitigate stress. Have you ever noticed that cooking feels like a form of meditation? That’s because it has a similar effect on the mind. The amount of focus used to multitask while making a meal has great benefits for the brain. Plus, there is the added bonus of connecting with others. Cooking with friends or family is a great low-cost way to create memories. Whether the food turns out good or bad, it’s still an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and let loose.
If this all sounds daunting, don’t worry. Just like every other habit, it takes time to make it part of your daily routine. Start out by making two meals a day, even something simple like an omelet with fresh fruit in the morning or vegan tacos (see recipe on next page) and vegetables for dinner. By the end of a month, it will become part of your daily routine, and you’ll start noticing the changes in your mood, energy, and waistline.
Cover image by Tessa Neustadt, for Bobby Berk
Photo by Ivan Solis
Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
Recipe by Zach Morgan
- 2 14 oz cans of jackfruit in water
- 28 oz tomato puree
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne (more if you like it spicy)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 12 corn tortillas
- Garnishes to taste:
- 1 cup shaved red cabbage
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Rinse and drain the canned jackfruit.
- In a large saucepan, bring tomato sauce to a simmer on low-medium heat. Add jackfruit, vinegar, and spices. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using either two forks or a fork and tongs, pull apart jackfruit. (At this point it should be tender enough to pull easily.)
- Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Toast the tortillas and assemble tacos with pulled jackfruit, cabbage, cilantro, salsas, avocado, and lime.
Enjoy your meatless meal!