Welcome to Cookshare with Bill Hettig, a place to rest and digest the pleasures of simple cooking.
I created the renewal kitchen cooking school a quarter century ago to share meal making skills. Each post will have a recipe shared from these classes. Over time I will provide recipes in each of a variety of niches: soups, salads, grains, desserts and more. It will not be hard to evolve your own home meals. Practice one dish a week and in just a few months-time you will have a rich source of plain, tasty food.
The main focus is on learning the unwritten style of cooking I came to call “home-meals” that were a fixture in pre-industrial living.
Home meals are mostly locally sourced, either fresh or home preserved, and designed to be satisfying, dependable food. All the goodness was inherent in these local vegetables, fruits and pastured meats. There is little packaging and no coupon clipping involved here. Meals needed to be no-fuss and not so rich and heavy that you couldn’t continue to do your chores. In other words, digestible and fulfilling.
Home meals are innately easy to prepare, and have a balance that pleases the senses: color, texture, temperature, and taste. These are the fundamentals in any cooking. In other words, you probably wouldn’t serve up a meal featuring dishes that were all white colored, soft, sweet and cold. See, you already know there is inherent sensual balance to a meal.
I am an avid endorser of Michael Pollan, the journalist and author of some of the best reasons to get to a more pre-industrial diet. His television programs and books set a clear reason to adopt foods that are less refined and more plant based. Pollan’s equation from “In the Defense of Food” is uncomplicated and clear: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
My time with you will not be spent providing this defense of food. I plan to spend our time finding those recipes that will make this happen for you. If you have a special diet, vegan, paleo, etc. you probably have ways to substitute ingredients.
For over a quarter century I developed a trove of home meal based recipes to guide you into simpler meal making. I am excited to share! Another useful technique is to cook for additional “invisible” members of your clan. These will be leftovers, or I prefer to call them “planned-overs.” We leave nothing, it will be part of another dish or serving.
The term “cookshare,” is coined to emphasize cooking in a sharing economy.
I hold “cooking bees” where a small group gathers to make big batches of home meal dishes to be shared. One share is eaten and the rest stored in containers to share back home.
Bill Hettig is a self-trained cooking instructor, author, and lecturer for the past 25 years. He offered a whole foods based series at health food stores and his home-based classroom in Winter Park, FL. In 1991 he created a device that ferments vegetables in common canning jars that became a company selling the Perfect Pickler® around the world. In 2015 the company went over the million-dollar mark in sales.
Bill is retired and performs workshops and lectures while residing in Central Florida. He blogs on gardening and cooking tips in a sharing economy. This summer Bill plans to reopen his Renewal Kitchen and begin to cook and share his meal making skills once again.