Grunt Work and Diabetes

Cooking with pot

I eat deliciously and still really manage my diabetes. Sometimes it takes a lot of chopping and advance work….also called “grunt work.” In a professional kitchen much of this is done by the prep cook. In my (home) diabetes-compatible kitchenm, it is all done by me. It is well worth the energy.

I always think it a great evening when I can actually watch the craziness on the evening news while my dinner is cooking in the oven. I think of it as a mini vacation from all that last minute prep and stir. But before it got to the oven, there was work to be done.

I won’t lie to you: sometimes diabetes-compatible cooking takes more work than the way I cooked before. I have grown to really enjoy cauliflower and spaghetti squash. There is no question that it takes a lot more time and work to make mashed cauliflower rather than smashed spuds. Spaghetti squash takes longer and again more effort than opening a box of pasta and tossing it into a pot of boiling water. The results are different than the original products (potatoes and pasta) but the flavors are often even better. Good flavors, more nutrients, and lower carbohydrates, isn’t that worth the work?

Dog work has been a part of our cooking for ever. In the days before preprocessed foods, doing it from scratch was the only choice. Many of us today are shying away from the pre-done idea of packaged foods and making meals with less additives AND more flavors that we like to eat.

Think pot roast, beef or chicken stews and so many of the “homey” foods we love eating. All those wonderful long cooking dishes have been part of our lives for as long as we can remember. Step one is to seal in the flavors by searing on all sides.

A good holiday turkey takes a long time and a lot of basting not to mention preparations for the stuffing/ dressings and the countless sides. What would Thanksgiving be without it?

Think of the modern day “slow cooker”. Sure you set the dial and go off to play shuffleboard, but before you set the timer you have been chopping and mixing to get the flavors and textures into you dish.

I often write about a paté being little more than a fancy meatloaf. It is true, but how plain is a meatloaf? It takes chopping and mixing, and forming. The end result is pure comfort food….and the best sandwiches the next day.

Now if you have never been interested in making a meatloaf or stew or turkey, all the extra work that some meals take to get on your table will be of little interest to you. But if you have been doing these kinds of meals for years, the extra effort to make them work for your diabetes meals really won’t be that much trouble. I don’t suggest you re-invent the wheel, simply make the wheel a tool in moving the good management of your diabetes along more smoothly.

Dozens of my recipes suggest (it is always your choice) to prepare parts of it in advance. It not only makes the final preparation easier and quicker, but adds flavor depth to the dish. Think about why you marinate meat or chicken. Recipes suggest doing this so that the protein absorbs more flavors and becomes more tender. If you don’t believe me, try cooking two steaks using the same seasonings. Marinate one of them and prepare the other just before cooking. I think the difference is enormous. The other thing is if you marinate the steak a day ahead, the amount of time you have to work at the end is a lot shorter.

Please don’t get me wrong. I have no difficulty using some pre-made products. I do not make my own sausage. I found several chains that make great products and I don’t have to do the work. Then there is frozen spinach. I would be lost without it. It still tastes good, has all the nutritional value, and I don’t have to cook it before using it in a recipe.
As for the extra work making meals or even just side dishes that fit better in a lower carbohydrate eating plan.. aren’t you worth the time and….no trouble at all?

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!

Source: Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic