With such a diverse and delicious food scene at our fingertips, we New Yorkers often forgo the comforts and nutritional benefits of our own home cooking for the ever-present lure of fine dining from numerous restaurants. Â Chef and restaurateur Sara Jenkins recognizes this dilemma in her article “Why Home-Style Cooking Will Always Beat Restaurant-Style” from The Atlantic. Jenkins details her long lineage of home cooks, recalling her grandparents’ vegetable gardens that continuously supplied them with fresh produce and her mother’s Mediterranean dinner parties that provided her with both a great meal and a sense of community. Honing her culinary skills in college, amidst the take-out pizzas and microwavable mac-and-cheese, Jenkins discovered for herself the pleasures and benefits of home cooking.
Jenkins’ deep love for comforting, yet healthful food is what propelled her to open two very successful restaurants, but she is quick to differentiate between her professional cooking and her home cooking. It is important to try to make restaurant meals as health and environmentally conscious as possible, but the reality of back-burner soups and bulk-bought vegetables is sometimes too great a hurdle to surpass. Thus, emulating rich restaurant meals in the kitchen should not be the goal; rather accessible and nutritious meals that can be shared with a table of family and friends should be the focus.
By emphasizing seasonal, fresh ingredients and stocking your kitchen with quality equipment, you can create simple, yet appetizing meals that are light on calories, but still pack a delicious punch. Going out for meals is a fine option for special occasions, but, as Jenkins believes, it is the personal home cooked meals that will bring the most benefit, both to the body and to the soul.
For more on home versus restaurant cooking, read Chef Jenkins’ article here. Do you prefer a home-cooked meal or restaurant dining? Let us know in the comments.