Eating In

It's the new eating out

Top: istockphoto; bottom: Rachael Olmstead

 All the cool people are cooking at home these days. Gwyneth Paltrow whips up gourmet meals for her friends while updating her healthy-eating website, Eva Longoria uses a wooden rolling pin to make tortillas from scratch. Singers Naomi Judd, Trisha Yearwood, and Patti LaBelle have published cookbooks that feature their favorite home recipes.

Whether it’s the result of a sluggish economy or a desire to eat more healthfully, an increasing number of people are discovering the joys of cooking and eating at home, and Bay Area chef-entrepreneurs are riding the wave. Silicon Valley chef and nutrition educator Joni Sare makes house calls as a personal cooking trainer, helping clients to discover the best meals they can cook given their schedules, lifestyles, abilities, and health. At Cucina Bambini in San Jose, parents and kids learn to cook together in hands-on workshops, and kids alone attend five-day “culinary summer camps” or one-time classes in rolling sushi or making pasta.

Dr. Ed Bauman, Executive Director of Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, says anyone can learn to create healthy and delicious meals at home. Bauman College offers cooking classes in which home chefs gain hands-on skills to aid them in preparing nutritious meals at home.

“By reclaiming the role of healthy home chef, personal, family, and community culture is enhanced and sustained,” he says.

Bauman’s food philosophy, which he calls “Eating for Health,” focuses on getting back to basics. He encourages home chefs to cook from scratch and utilize ingredients categorized by the acronym SOUL: seasonal, organic, unprocessed, and local.

Bauman believes that time management and organization are key to being a healthy home chef. He suggests investing an extra 30 minutes each evening in planning out the next day’s meals, stocking the kitchen with whole foods, and creating a repertoire of recipes to draw upon. And Bauman recommends that the entire family be involved in meal preparation; even the youngest or least practiced cook can contribute in some way.

What about weaning your family off their take-out pizza addiction? Bauman says there’s no need to outlaw foods. He espouses the 50 percent rule: “Say you eat a lot of chocolate. Eat half as much and you’ll feel better.”

Dr. Bauman’s food and philosophy will be featured at Eucalyptus Magazine’s Dinner Event at Stillheart Institute in Woodside on June 15. While guests dine on a meal prepared according to his SOUL philosophy, Dr. Bauman will lead a discussion on healthy cooking and eating. Click here for more details.