Tracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time

Chicken Tacos

25 Nov 2020

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Tracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time

When thinking about famous foods from around the world, some key dishes come to mind. We’re willing to bet Mexican cuisine ranks high on many people’s lists, with tacos at the top. But, have you ever stopped to wonder how the tasty taco came to be?  

It turns out, the history of the taco is as colorful and varied as the taco fillings themselves.  

Tacos as we know them today were believed to have started in the 1800s as the humble lunch of Mexican silver miners. The word “taco” translates to “plug” or “wad” – reflecting the small sticks of dynamite used in the mines.  

There is evidence, however, that the taco’s origins began much earlier.  

It is believed that the Aztecs invented tortillas using masa cooked on hot stones. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, used the tortillas like a spoon to scoop or hold food such as cochineal, beans, and chiles. The word “taco” stems from the Nahuatl word “tlahco,” meaning “half” or “in the middle” in reference to how it is formed. 

(Also ReadMade to Cook: The Cooking Hypothesis)

Early taco fillings were simple and reflected what was available, such as fishcooked organs, small insects, ants, locusts, and snails. It wasn’t until the 1500s, when Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico with pigs from Cuba, that pork was introduced as a filling and served at large banquets (the first “taco parties” as documented in 1520 by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a Spanish soldier sailing with Hernan Cortes). From here, the taco spread across the “New World” as a staple food 

Whether crediting the Aztecs or silver miners, the taco is a dish woven through the fabric of Mexican cuisine. 

Into America & Beyond 

Portable and easy to eat, tacos became a primary meal of the working class. In time, street food vendors filled soft corn tortillas with a simple, spicy filling to offer workers on their breaks. Around 1905, this delicious and practical meal crossed the border into the United States when Mexican laborers moved north to work on the railroads.  

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the traditional filling of organs was replaced by beef and chicken. In addition, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese became standard fillings in America  this fusion brought forth by the availability of American ingredients and a more subtle palate.   

While some may prefer more traditional preparation, today, tacos in America include a vibrant blend of traditional Mexican flavors combined with new ingredients and influences from around the globe – a fusion of flavors to satiate a wide variety of tastes.  

Need further evidence of the taco’s cult-like following? In 2019, Netflix released the first season of Taco Chronicles, a docuseries that explores the rich histories of popular taco styles. From barbacoa to carnitas, cochinita to birria, and many others, watch this mouth-watering series on your next taco night.  

Whatever fillings you like, tacos are arguably one of the most-loved foods in the world. Whether you prefer vegetarian sweet potato and black bean, or chicken, pork or beef, CookinGenie offers fresh, authentic home-cooked Mexican-styled tacos to make every night taco night. We cook from scratch with wholesome ingredients, right in your kitchen. Whether meal prepping or organizing a small dinner party, our Genies can help create a taco bar like no other, connecting you back to hundreds of years of tradition and fusion of cultures through food.  

 

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Healthy Eating on Vacation

11 Oct 2022

When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to let your healthy eating habits slip. Between indulging in delicious local cuisine and celebrating with cocktails, it can be hard to stick to your usual routine. But just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you must abandon all of your good habits. You can enjoy your vacation while still eating healthy with some planning and effort. Here are some tips to help you do just that. 

Why is vacation eating difficult?

Eating healthy on vacation can be difficult for a variety of reasons. For one thing, you’re probably not used to the local cuisine. This unfamiliarity can be a problem if you don’t know what to order or how to pronounce the dish you’re interested in trying. In addition, it can also be difficult because you’re often on the go and may not have time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal. Thus, you may find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods or grabbing a quick bite to eat between sightseeing tours.  

However, with some planning and preparation before you travel and packing some healthy snacks, you can ensure that your vacation eating doesn’t derail your healthy eating habits.

1- Do some research before you travel

If you’re worried about eating healthy on vacation, the best thing to do is research before going. Find out what the local cuisine is like and look for healthy options. For example, if you’re traveling to Italy, you may want to research some traditional Italian recipes that are relatively healthy. This way, you’ll know what to order when you’re at a restaurant, and you’ll be able to find healthier versions of your favorite dishes. 

2- Bring along some snacks

Another way to ensure you eat healthy on vacation is to pack some snacks. This way, you’ll have something healthy to eat no matter where you are or how long it takes to find a meal. Some great travel snacks include fruits and vegetables, whole-grain crackers, nuts, and yogurt.

3- Stay hydrated

It’s essential to stay hydrated when you’re traveling, especially if you are in a hot climate. Drinking plenty of water will help you avoid dehydration and fill you up, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Be sure to carry a water bottle to always have water on hand.

4- Avoid restaurants that serve only junk food

One of the easiest ways to ruin your healthy eating habits is to dine at restaurants that serve nothing but junk food. If you’re trying to eat healthy on vacation, try to find restaurants serving healthy options. You can usually find this information online or by asking the hotel staff for recommendations.

Also Read: Health Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

5- Limit your alcohol intake

It’s easy to overindulge in alcohol when you’re on vacation, but too much alcohol can quickly ruin your healthy eating habits. If you drink, do so in moderation, and be sure to eat a meal first. This way, you can avoid making unhealthy choices later on.

6- Hire a personal chef for your vacation rental

Hiring a personal chef can also be a great way to ensure you eat healthily while on vacation. A personal chef can cook delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family, so you don’t have to worry about finding time to cook or eat out every day. This option can be great if you’re traveling with young children or trying to stick to a specific diet. In addition, having a personal chef can also help you save money since you won’t have to eat out as often. If you’re interested in hiring a private chef, research to find someone who is reputable and can meet your specific needs. 

7- Healthy vacation meal ideas

One of the hardest things about being on vacation is eating healthily. The delicious food options can be tempting, but if you want to stay feeling good on your trip, it’s essential to make some wise choices. Here are a few ideas for healthy vacation meals that will help you stay on track: 

  • Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. Try yogurt with fresh fruit or whole-grain toast with avocado. 
  • For lunch, go for something light but filling, like a salad or soup. 
  • When it comes to dinner, grilled fish or chicken is always a good option. Pair it with some vegetables and brown rice for a complete meal. 

Of course, you should also drink plenty of water throughout the day. And if you want to indulge in a sweet treat now and then, that’s perfectly fine! 

Overall, the best way to ensure you’re eating healthy on vacation is by being prepared ahead of time. A little research and planning can go a long way in helping you stay on track. And if all else fails, remember that moderation is key. Enjoy your vacation, and don’t be too stressed about staying perfectly healthy. Just focus on having fun and making memories. 

 

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Personal chef cooking - CookinGenie blog

25 Nov 2021

For many people, the words private chef and personal chef are interchangeable, and because of that, they equate both services to something that only the truly rich can afford. The truth is that these terms aren’t the same. Each service is different in what’s offered and the cost involved. So let’s deep dive into what a personal chef is versus a private chef and how a personal chef can make a difference in your life. 

What is a Private Chef? 

A private chef is more than likely what you think of when you consider these terms. A chef that works privately for one individual or family is a private chef. They provide a full menu for one client every meal for every day. As a private chef is typically exclusive and works full-time for only one individual, they are often on the payroll as part of the home’s staff along with housekeepers, butlers, and so on. In this arrangement, they are working for an employer that pays them a salary and benefits in exchange for their talents. Often, this can be an expensive arrangement that not every person or family can afford to take advantage of in their home. 

How Does a Personal Chef Differ? 

A personal chef is a different manner than a private chef. Typically, a personal chef has a variety of clients that they occasionally cook for, such as for special occasions or several times a week, depending on the arrangement. In this manner, the personal chef is more like a business owner that provides their clients with a needed service where they bill the person for their time, skills, and the food provided. From a client standpoint, this arrangement makes it much more affordable, along with the added benefit of only using the chef’s services when you need them. 

What Can You Expect From a Personal Chef? 

So once you get past the thought that’s too expensive and realize how affordable personal chef service is, the next barrier is often the unknown. You can be nervous about what to expect from hiring a personal chef. Here is what you can expect from a personal chef service typically to help make you feel more at ease. 

You start by selecting a personal chef and choosing a meal that you’d like them to prepare along with the size. You can go with a small meal to start off with, or you can add more portions so that you can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. After you’ve scheduled your personal chef visit, you’re done on your end. 

Your personal chef will arrive as scheduled after grocery shopping for everything necessary to cook your meal. They’ll prepare your meal in your kitchen, creating culinary magic using your pots and pans. You’ll be served up piping hot and fresh food, and while you’re enjoying not being in the kitchen as you eat a gourmet dinner, your personal chef will be cleaning up after themselves. Your kitchen will look just as it did before they began cooking. That means you’ll have a delicious home-cooked meal right in your home without having to spend any time on it. You can get back to what’s essential. 

What Benefits Come From Using a Personal Chef? 

There are a variety of benefits that come from using a personal chef. One of the biggest is the time-saving factor. You’ll save time when it comes to grocery shopping. You’ll save time when it comes to preparing your food. You’ll save time in not having to clean up after the meal. Even if you select to have a personal chef come in once every couple of weeks, imagine how much time you’ll have to do what’s important to you. Spend quality time with your family watching a new movie. Have a family game night. You could even take some time for yourself to binge that tv show you’ve been dying to see or that hobby you’ve been wanting to start up. 

In addition to giving yourself more time in the day, you’ll also have the benefit of a great home-cooked meal. At the end of a long day, it’s easy to pop in some microwave meal or frozen oven dinner because that’s all you have the time and energy to do. In addition, you and your family can enjoy a tremendous nutritional benefit from fresh ingredients and meals made without preservatives. Your health will thank you. 

Plus, you get the benefit of eating at home over a restaurant. With the pandemic, eating out has become less fun, and for some with health conditions, it’s not an option anymore. A personal chef is like having the restaurant come to your house without having to drive there, wait for a table, or hope for decent service. Instead, enjoy a date night with a special meal prepared just for you. 

In addition, there are no worries when it comes to the menu. Food allergies are no longer an issue when you inform your personal chef of what you or someone in your home can’t eat. This choice provides excellent peace of mind. 

Some benefits come from using a personal chef for special occasions, as well. Who wants to have a dinner party or birthday party and end up spending all of your time in the kitchen? A personal chef is a great way to ensure that you’ll get to mix and mingle with all of your friends during the event. Plus, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up the kitchen at the end of the night. It’s handled for you by your chef, leaving you to tackle the other areas of the house.      

Ready to experience the difference that a personal chef can have in your life? CookinGenie is prepared to give you a wonderful experience. You’ll get the chance to try out a variety of chefs and meals on your schedule based on your budget. Once you give CookinGenie a try, you may decide that you no longer want to visit restaurants as you have a private restaurant with skilled chefs coming to you. 

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Foods to know the Difference Between Food Allergies, Intolerances &Sensitivities

01 Oct 2021

We’re all familiar with food allergies, but nowadays you constantly hear terms like “sensitivity” and “intolerance” to different foods. These three terms often get lumped together, but they’re unique conditions that elicit different responses from the body and have varying levels of seriousness. So, what do all these terms mean? And how should they affect your cooking?

Food allergies

Of the three, food allergies are the most serious. A food allergy is an immune response in your body, usually diagnosed by an allergist with a formal test. The cause of food allergies is still unknown, but the body perceives a harmless food as a threat and in response releases an immune hormone called histamines to “attack” that food it sees as harmful. The release of these histamines causes various symptoms such as hives, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. The onset of symptoms from an allergic reaction is usually immediate.

In cases of extreme allergic reactions, the victim can go into anaphylaxis, a rare allergic condition which can cause fainting and restricting airways. Anaphylaxis requires emergency medical attention and can be life-threatening.

People can be allergic to almost anything, but the most common severe food allergies are milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, wheat, and shellfish.

Allergic reactions from food can range from a slight itch in the ears to a fatal case of anaphylaxis, and just a trace amount of the allergen can be enough to cause a dangerous reaction. Even those who believe they have a “mild” allergy may have a severe reaction any time they consume that allergen, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. Cooking for someone with a food allergy must be done with great caution.

Food intolerances

While food intolerances are not as serious as allergies, they can cause significant illness and discomfort. An intolerance is not an immune response like an allergy, but instead is marked by the body’s inability to digest certain foods. Most food intolerances cause uncomfortable symptoms including stomach pain and diarrhea, but they are never life-threatening. Food intolerances are usually diagnosed by a doctor and symptoms often take several hours after eating to occur. Some common food intolerances are to lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk, and wheat.

Unlike with allergies, those with food intolerances can usually have small amounts of the food they’re intolerant to. For example, those with a lactose intolerance may be able to have a little bit of grated parmesan cheese on a pizza or a touch of heavy cream cooked into a soup, but a spoonful of yogurt may make them sick. Similarly, someone with a mild intolerance to gluten may be able to have a dash of soy sauce over rice, but not a bowl of pasta.

There are, however, some more severe intolerances. Celiac disease is a rare intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, that can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and violent vomiting. People with Celiac disease cannot have any traces of gluten.

Food sensitivities

Compared to food allergies and intolerances, food sensitivities have the mildest of reactions. Similar to an allergy, food sensitivity is an immune response so it can affect multiple organs with a wide range of symptoms including headaches, fatigue, rashes, and nausea.

The reaction from a food sensitivity can begin hours, or even days, after eating. Because of the delayed onset, food sensitivities can be hard to pinpoint and many of them go undiagnosed. Food sensitivity to gluten, for example, can be as simple as generally feeling tired a couple of days after eating bread. A good way to figure out if you have food sensitivity is to systematically eliminate certain foods from your diet for a week or two at a time to see if there’s a change in how you feel. You can also get tests for certain food sensitivities.

For many people with food insensitivities, a moderate amount of the ingredient will not lead to symptoms. However, as with allergies and intolerances, the level of sensitivity varies from person to person.

The bottom line

Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all challenging conditions that should be taken seriously when cooking. When cooking for others with any of these conditions, be sure to talk to them beforehand and fully understand the nature and severity of their condition. If it’s just a mild sensitivity or intolerance, you may be able to use a little bit of the ingredient to make the tastiest dish possible. But, if your guest has a severe food allergy, you should steer clear of that ingredient.

At CookinGenie, all allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are taken very seriously. CookinGenie chefs undergo a rigorous interview process, and they are adaptable to different dietary restrictions. The CookinGenie support staff will also work with you closely to ensure your meal meets your requirements so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious homecooked meal.

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