11 Nov 2021
Yes, we can make meals that cater to dietary restrictions and allergies
23 Dec 2020
For many people, pad Thai—the delectable sweet, sour, and spicy stir fry of rice noodles, tofu, eggs, veggies, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and an umami-rich sauce that can be found on the menu of virtually every Thai restaurant in the US—is their first taste of Thai cooking.
So, it’s interesting to learn that the dish that most Americans think of as the quintessential Thai food didn’t even exist until the mid-20th century.
In her book Materializing Thailand, nutritional anthropologist Penny Van Esterik says that the dish was born out of prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram’s campaign throughout the 1930s and 40s to build a national identity for Thailand. Hoping to create a sense of pride in “Thai-ness” by uniting his country through culture, he changed the nation’s name from Siam to Thailand, commissioned a new national anthem, banned local languages and dialects from schools, and set out to create a national dish.
(Also Read – Tracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time)
Curiously, the main ingredient in the dish that Phibunsongkhram—who was known as Phibun—promoted isn’t even native to Thailand. Stir-fried rice noodles originated in China and were introduced to the kingdom of Siam by Chinese traders in the 1700s. But promoting a stir-fried noodle dish helped solve a serious problem that Phibun’s nation was facing: flooding and war had caused a severe rice shortage, and encouraging people to eat noodles helped preserve the country’s precious rice supply.2 Phibun’s administration took the basic recipe for stir fried rice noodles and loaded it up with nutritious bean sprouts, onions, peanuts, eggs, meats, and a tamarind-based sauce, then encouraged vendors to sell the dish from street carts all over the country. It was, Phibun’s son later pointed out, the first fast food in Thailand.3
Phibun’s efforts to make pad Thai a part of his country’s heritage succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Today, it is a staple of the Thai diet. Beyond Thailand, it has become a beloved dish worldwide: In 2011, pad Thai ranked number 5 in CNN Go’s reader poll of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.”4 Wondering how this simple noodle dish became an international culinary superstar? Mark Padoongpatt, a professor of Asian and Asian American studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the author of a history of Thai food, says this, too, was driven by the Thai government as an act of culinary diplomacy: in an effort to stimulate exports and encourage tourism, it established the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd. to train chefs and send them around the world to open Thai restaurants5.
And now, CookinGenie brings this beloved classic noodle dish to your house. We offer three varieties of classic pad Thai—Chicken, Shrimp, and Vegetarian—cooked from scratch with wholesome, authentic ingredients like rice noodles, sweet-and-sour tamarind paste, spicy chile-garlic paste, and Thai preserved radish. Book your Genie to bring a true taste of Thailand to your very own kitchen.
28 Sep 2021
Cooking for someone with a severe food allergy can be intimidating. And with food allergies on the rise, it’s becoming more common than ever. You want people to enjoy your food. But you would never want to be responsible for giving someone a severe allergic reaction.
Thankfully, with the right knowledge and planning, cooking for guests with severe food allergies doesn’t have to be daunting. It will take some extra steps, but it’s always better safe than sorry. Here are some things to remember before cooking for guests with food allergies.
People can have food allergies to just about anything. But food allergies, which are not the same as food sensitivities and intolerances, are not all created equal. Some people have allergies with mild symptoms like hives and a stomachache. Others may have allergies that could cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock, which may include dangerous symptoms like a swelling throat, fainting, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
While all allergies have the potential to be severe, certain ingredients are far more likely to cause extreme reactions. The 8 most common severe allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
It’s important to understand the complexities of these allergies. Someone who’s allergic to milk can’t eat other milk-derived products such as cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. And while some of these allergies sound very similar, they can be different. For example, someone may be allergic to almonds, but not peanuts. Or they may be allergic to shrimp and scallops, but salmon is fine. Whatever the case may be, make sure you talk to your guests and understand exactly what it is they’re allergic to.
Some people tend to think that if a guest has an allergy, they can just leave out that ingredient for that guest and it’ll be fine. While this may be true for some, in cases of severe allergies, the allergic person may not even need to directly consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction. For example, an invisible trace of peanuts that can be spread through the air onto a dish may be enough to trigger an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. So, if possible, it’s best to leave the allergen out of the entire meal, even for those who aren’t allergic to it.
Reading labels can be a pain, but it’s an important safeguard against allergic reactions. Sometimes ingredients can have unexpected allergens. For example, Worcester sauce, which is a popular condiment for steak and burgers, often contains anchovy paste, making it unsuitable for people with seafood allergies. But, by the name, look, and flavor it, you would never know, making reading the labels all the more important. By law, common allergens are bolded on the bottom of the label, making it easier to identify them.
Additionally, because just a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction, you need to watch out for any possible exposure. Some foods, like prepackaged cookies, may not actively contain nuts but may be processed in the same facility as almonds. In this case, those cookies would not be safe to serve to someone with a severe nut allergy.
Before beginning to cook for someone with a severe food allergy, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the kitchen, including surfaces and utensils you will use. There’s no telling if there may be trace amounts of the allergen floating around the kitchen. So, to be safe, give everything a good cleaning beforehand.
If you take all the proper steps to protect against food allergies, you should have nothing to worry about. But just in case, you should be prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction. Make sure any guests with food allergies are carrying their EpiPen on them. Also ensure that someone in your party knows how to properly inject an EpiPen as the person having the reaction may not be capable of injecting it themselves.
The EpiPen will help immediately ease the symptoms of the reaction. While one person is injecting the victim with the EpiPen, someone else should call 911 to get the victim professional medical aid. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, try to keep the victim calm while lying on their back.
Anaphylactic reactions are scary, but if handled properly, everything should turn out fine. Less than 1% of anaphylactic reactions from food are fatal, according to the national institute of health.
At CookinGenie, the chefs know that protecting customers from allergies is of the utmost importance and they’re experienced in cooking for people with serious allergies. Genies can modify orders to fit around allergies and the support team will work with every customer to craft the best meal.
30 Oct 2019
Gig economy is changing the worker employee relationship. By allowing people to specialize in a specific area of their expertise, it allows many workers to do the thing they are best at. Which can drive prices down and provide an excellent income for many professionals.
But how does the Gig Economy work for an experienced cook? In the traditional path you would be trained in a culinary school. Then you would begin working your way up the ranks in a local restaurant, taking on more and more responsibility as your skill set improves. From there you would work your way up the culinary ladder by then working at larger more prestigious restaurants. Once they’ve built a skill set and a name for themselves some cooks choose to strike out on their own. From this point they can either move into event cooking, and catering or they can move toward opening their own restaurant. Both of which require the use of a commercial kitchen, and a staff. This is not a small investment and not easy to get off the ground even if you are talented in the kitchen.
Some Cooks are exploring the gig community as a way to step out of the hustle and bustle and pressure of working in a restaurant. They work gigs such as event cooking, weddings, corporate gigs, even food trucks are an extension of the gig economy. Of course, in this line of work it’s a tough survival, the competition is steep and it’s hard to accomplish a steady income.
There are more opportunities than ever for cooks who are wanting to expand their audience and built their reputation. There are apps that have been developed like DishDivvy and Appetivo. Which allow cooks to prepare meals for their own kitchen for pickups. The downside is a lack of reliable income, never knowing how many orders will or won’t come in, and working on a schedule set by customers. All of this can make it hard to make plans.
Then there are new experience-based opportunities like Feastly. That offers services like pop ups, cooking classes and dinner parties hosted by expert cooks. This would be a fun way to expand your clientele and network with other cooks, but the events are only available in a handful of cities and the competition is fierce. Again, this isn’t steady work so even if you make your way into this elite group you can’t count on it for a reliable wage.
This is where becoming a home cook really begins to shine as a perfect option. You collect a handful of clients who you get to know. You prepare the food you love to cook. You set your hours and your availability. You can enjoy the security of a regular wage without the pressure and non-stop grind of restaurant or catering life. If you’re a cook looking for a better path and searching the gig economy. Maybe it’s time to consider being a home cook yourself, you might just be pleasantly surprised at what you find. To learn more about this please go to www.cookingenie.com