Is Your Cooking Really Boring?


healthy food to eat - Rice crackers on salad

Here’s a radical idea: put some peanut butter and some jam between two slices of bread and eat it. It’s delicious!

There was a time (112 years ago to be exact) when a PB&J sandwich did not exist.  It was first written about in 1901 in The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics.  The specific recommendation was to put “peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer, and currant or crab-apple jam” between three very thin layers of bread. Salt, sugar and fat all in one bite – who could resist.

I get really tired really fast of the same old stuff and so often wish that someone would present me with the equivalent of the 1901 peanut butter and jam sandwich. There are times when I will order in (even though I know I could make it better myself) simply because my mouth is so tired of what it’s been fed for the last two weeks. (And, my energy level to concoct anything new has plummeted to a seasonal low.)

So I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook the “same” thing – a new spice, a new texture, a new color….What I find when I introduce something new to a dish is my taste buds awaken and I actually taste the dish in a new way. I actually taste the spice that I’d never given much thought to before. My mouth notices the crunch that was not there last time.

My most recent addition in the kitchen has been to add crumbled rice “cakes” to various dishes. It adds little in the way of flavor but it lends a really nice light crunch. You can use it as a substitute for (usually high calorie) croutons, or to something where you might add nuts.  I’ve been breaking the rice cakes up and adding them to salads or crumbling them and adding them to yogurt. (Don’t let them sit too long in the yogurt though as they get soggy fast.)

A few other crazy culinary twists include:

Apples in eggs: Slice the apple quite thinly and lay the slices down in a hot buttered pan. Let them cook a little then add the egg mixture and whatever else you wish to the eggs. It’s a delicious combo of sweet and salty and I have become a little hooked.  You could also use pears or try peaches.

Cumin in quiche: This is not all that radical, but I have become a convert.  I make quiche all the time and have always added nutmeg (which I highly recommend) but I’d gotten a little tired of it so started adding cumin and there is no turning back.  Don’t get too heavy handed though, a little goes a long way, especially if it’s fresh – i.e. has not been hanging out in a bottle on your shelf for two years.

Rhubarb and yogurt:  Rhubarb is in season so I’ve been buying a ton and cooking it on the stove (simple and takes about 5 minutes.)  I add a little sugar as it cooks. When it’s cool I put a dollop on top of plain yogurt. Delicious.

Toasted quinoa in salad: This is similar to the rice cake idea for adding crunch.  Cook quinoa in water for about 5 minutes, then drain the water and finish it off in a hot skillet so it’s still crunchy.  It’s nice on roasted veggies.

Got some new ideas for us?

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