Many people believe that good cooking is a mystery, one that can only be solved by celebrity chefs using arcane ingredients and complex methods. These TV chefs often use new methods and combinations that have been invented by the chefs, who gets praised for their innovation. High-tech modern products like meat glue are often used by such chefs.
I believe that simple recipes, using real food such as grassfed meat and organic traditional vegetables, using traditional food combinations, and traditional methods, prepared by ordinary people, taste the best.
I believe that cooking should be easy, not complex and difficult.
I am inspired by the quality and benefits of grassfed meat and real food, with their wonderful natural flavors. I am inspired by the ingenious simplicity of traditional cooking, which often uses just a few ingredients, simply combined and prepared, to produce outstanding, healthy food. These flavor combinations became traditional because they are really good. Many of these traditions are being lost, and I am honored to help preserve some of them in my cookbooks.
I contend that the best grassfed meat and real food is simple, using traditional methods, traditional ingredients, and easy recipes. When you have great ingredients, their wonderful natural taste should come out.
With Real Food — Simple Is Better
When I wrote my two cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, I had several goals. One of the most important was to make them simple, and easy to use. Another goal was to provide recipes that were absolutely delicious. A third goal was to create recipes that people would actually make.
These three goals are not contradictory, if you are using grassfed meat and real food. The quality of these foods from nature is so high that the food itself provides most of the flavor. In fact, I contend that grassfed meat and real food are the best when prepared simply with traditional methods and ingredients. You can have a wonderful dish with just a few ingredients, if they are of the highest quality, and carefully combined. When you use only a few ingredients, all are important and changing even one of them can have a dramatic effect on the taste of the dish.
Real food ingredients have so much natural flavor and goodness that they are at their best when made simply, so that their wonderful natural flavor can come out.
Then, there is the simple fact that complex recipes, with dozens of ingredients, and difficult, complex techniques, are much harder and take much more effort and time to make. Often complex recipes fail, for any of a number of reasons. Usually, complex recipes are read, admired, and never made.
I want my cooking to be easy and simple, and delicious. I wrote these books for the ordinary person, because I wanted them to have ways to cook tender grassfed meat that were not only delicious, but easy. I wanted my recipes to be used, and enjoyed.
I did not write these books for critical acclaim, but to help people make delicious grassfed meat, the easy way.
In fact, I admit it, I prefer to make easy meals! It is not only easier, it is more fun!
I had four relatives in my family who lived long lives: my mother, my aunt, my uncle, and my dad.
Three of them had severe Alzheimer’s during the last years. But my dad, who lived to be ninety, (he should have lived longer, but that is another story) was sharp as a tack, right up to his last day. He had no signs of mental impairment.
I have often wondered why he was different. The other three took the advice of their doctors, and put themselves on low-fat diets. But my dad continued to eat a special breakfast that had been taught to him, which was full of animal fat. I think he kept sharp because of the special breakfast he always had, and the way he kept his mind active. I do not know if what he did will help others, but I have decided to share it.
The Food: Dad’s “Garbage”
Ever since I can remember, my dad always had the same breakfast. This was the menu:
- Two eggs with the yolks, fried in butter
- A small piece of rye toast, thickly spread with butter
- A thick slice of full fat cheddar cheese
- Several pieces of marinated raw herring
- Some smoked salmon
- Raw onions, that had been marinated overnight in vinegar
My mother, who was Russian, and felt she had a license to be rude, called this meal “garbage.” She ranted and raved at times about all the fat and cholesterol it contained. My dad continued to eat it every day, and eventually referred to it as “my garbage.”
I asked my dad why he ate it, especially when my mother was so mean to him over it. He said that his father told him that it would keep his mind sharp.
Interestingly enough, the butter, cheese, and egg yolks contributed valuable animal fat and other nutrients that are very important for nourishing the brain. Some studies have shown that eating eggs every day may be an important factor in maintaining mental function.
Both herring and salmon are very fatty fish. He ate them raw, though one had been fermented by smoking, and the other by marinating. Fermenting foods preserve and increase their nutrient value. Fish has been recommended for mental sharpness for thousands of years.
The ancient Egyptians believed that onions would heal and prevent all kinds of problems. Again, the onions were raw, somewhat fermented from the marinade.
My dad never wrote down phone numbers. He always memorized them, keeping them in his head. And he always remembered them when he needed to make a call. He could hold hundreds in his mind at a time, and was always able to recall them.
My dad always followed the news of the world, keeping himself current on every issue. He would watch or read about the news many hours a day. And he would think about the issues, analyze them, and come up with ways to solve them that I thought were much more sensible than what the politicians actually did.
I asked him once why he spent so much time on the news, and why he memorized the phone numbers instead of writing them down. He said that he liked to use his mind.
Some studies have shown that older people who are mentally active are far less likely to get Alzheimer’s.
Now, this is what he did, on advice from his father, who was also mentally sharp until the day he died. I do not know if this will work for anyone else.
But I am so grateful that he kept a sharp mind throughout his entire life.
Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.