So, this whole organic food thing. Is it really such a big deal? There have been lots of articles lately about whether you should go organic or not. Are there pesticides in organic food too? Are the small amounts of pesticides in conventional food even bad for you? (the FDA says not, but do we believe them?) Does organic food have more nutrients than conventionally grown food? (Some people think so, some people don't.) So many different opinions and studies and articles, it can all make your head spin.
I don't know.
I'm not a scientist, or an expert on what is or isn't in or on the food.
I'm just a mom, and a gal who likes a good meal.
I personally started buying organic food because I believe that any amount of artificial chemicals I can avoid feeding to my kids is something worth doing. If the bottom line is that we don't really know what all these extra chemicals might be doing to us - I say it's better to avoid it if we can. So I buy organic as much as I can. I'm not militant about it, we do eat out, we eat with friends, and I do buy a lot of non organic stuff. But I try to buy as much organic as I think we can reasonably afford, and I try to focus on the things where I think it matters the most. And in the process of trying to buy and cook more and more organic food - especially our meat and produce - I can tell you one thing I that I know for sure...
Organic food just tastes better. It really does.
I might not have believed this had I not experienced it. I vividly remember the first celery I tasted from our weekly organic produce box. It tasted like celery, not like stringy water. Did you know that celery has flavor? The carrots are sweet like candy - I never liked carrots before I started buying organic. Tomatoes are sweet and full of flavor. Greens are not bitter, but they are full of flavor - I never liked greens before I started buying organic. Don't even get me started on summer fruits - I can't get enough of the candy sweetness! Organic chickens have so much chicken flavor, and the chicken broth I make from the leftover bones seriously doesn't even resemble something you could get out of a can.
I think most people don't even really know what most foods actually taste like - because we've never had food that had any actual flavor of its own. I can't tell you why the flavor is so different, and I'm not interested in a debate about it - I will let you delve into the interwebs full of scientific journals and studies to try to answer that question yourself. I just know, as a person, with a mouth, who likes to eat: it tastes better.
And based on that - I will offer you this opinion as well:
Organic food is easier to cook. Yes. It's easier.
I love reading recipes. Even though I hardly ever follow them (or write them down when I make them up!), I love looking up ideas, and seeing what other people do with ingredients.
But I read so many recipes with so many ingredients, and seasonings, and spices. Or recipes calling for packages and cans and jars of processed stuff. All with the goal of giving the food some flavor.
But with good quality (usually organic), fresh, raw, real food, you don't have to do that.
You can make a dinner like we had tonight - just whole chickens and some vegetables, seasoned with nothing but salt, pepper and butter, and roasted. It took me a few minutes to put together, stuck it in the oven for an hour, and it was delicious and very easy. Over and over again I have found that when I cook organic food there is very little that I have to do to the food. It already has so much natural flavor. Chop up some organic veggies and sauté them with just a little olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic, that's all you need. Same for chicken. Or get yourself some organic grass-fed beef - it has flavor! You don't need to add cans and packages of soup to make an amazing pot roast - just a good piece of meat, a couple onions, some mushrooms, salt, pepper and garlic. I made tacos last week with some good grass fed ground beef that I just browned with salt and pepper, and my pickiest child pronounced it one of the best meals I had ever made. Easy.
You don't need complicated marinades and rubs, just a little salt brings out all the natural flavor. Yes, I do sometimes marinade things, and I make up spice rubs - I'm not saying I don't do it, sometimes I want to bring a different flavor to the meal. But the point is, you don't have to in order to make the food taste like something you will want to eat.
So my best tip for you if you want to learn how to cook really great tasting food: buy really great tasting raw, fresh, whole, real food. You'll be most of the way there without having to do much work. You want my best recipe for cooking any kind of meat or vegetables? Start with the best meat or vegetables you can get, add salt and pepper, garlic if you like it, and cook it just enough.
And then sit down and enjoy what real food really tastes like.