25 Mar 2021
I believe Cleveland’s own Michael Symon says it best: “Cooking and feeding people always makes me feel better and, I think, it will also make everyone else feel a little more normal and better, too.” 2020 has, to nobody’s surprise, devastated the culinary industry around the world. It has left many cooks, chefs, dishwashers, and servers without a reliable source of income and taken away a major part of their daily drive. But as times change and industries evolve, people find new outlets for work, creativity, and passion to satisfy their craving for fresh food.
Right as the pandemic took hold and many places were forced to close their doors, I found myself without a kitchen to run and a lot of time on my hands. It allowed me time to pursue other culinary outlets and has given me the chance to explore the world of cuisine from outside the confines of a hot bustling commercial kitchen. With CookinGenie, I am able to keep pursuing that daily drive and practicing my art, even in times of turmoil. At first, as with any new industry, I had my doubts about reversing the typical restaurant status quo and traveling with my expertise. But as I would go on to learn, culinary passion is the same whether it was in a busy kitchen or in someone’s home.
One of the best feelings of working in a restaurant is going out to the dining room at the end of a busy night and seeing a packed house of customers all having the night of their lives. From couples having a romantic night out, to families celebrating a birthday, it brought a sense of accomplishment and pride to see plates of food that took so much time and effort to make come back practically licked clean. With CookinGenie, I am able to work directly with the client and give them that same sense of satisfaction, while being able to give them and their food one hundred percent more focus and attention. My first client was a family celebrating getting their vaccine and being able to see extended family from out of state for the first time. I was able to connect and bring these people a stress-free, decadent first meal in a long time. It allowed them a chance to reconnect, drink and share all while not having to worry about shopping for fresh ingredients, clean-up, sanitization, or any other worry that could come with traditional restaurants.
CookinGenie brings a sense of appreciation that is sometimes hard to feel in the back of the house (BoH is anyone that works unseen in the back. Cooks, food runners, dishwashers, etc). Instead of the train of tickets on the line, with orders from 15 different families, CookinGenie allows for a much more personal, romantic experience. When preparing food for a client in their own kitchen, it allows the individuals cooking the meal the chance to really let their culinary talents shine. Most cooks have to follow a menu set by either their chef or the restaurant owner and never have a chance to let their personal talent and skillset succeed. With CookinGenie, the menu, the schedule, the sourcing is all mine. It also allows for menus to be changed seasonally so that you can always guarantee fresh delicious home cooked food.
12 Mar 2021
There are certain things that just evoke America:
– Uncle Sam.
– Corn fields.
– Apple pie.
But what if we told you one of these iconic symbols doesn’t really belong on the list?
Turns out there’s nothing all that American about apple pie. In fact, neither apples or pie originated in North America: the ancient Egyptians get the credit for creating pie, and modern apples originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, then spread along the Silk Roads from Central Asia to Europe.
While early pies were made with meat, Emily Upton, writing for Today I Found Out, reports that the first recorded apple pie recipe was from England way back in 1381. These early recipes bear little resemblance to the apple pies we know today—they rarely called for sugar (which was an expensive, luxury ingredient at that time) and came served in a pastry that went by the rather unappetizing name of “coffin.” This “coffin” was not meant to be eaten; it was really just a container to hold the filling, sort of the Middle Ages version of a paper plate. The first apple pie recipe that resembles the pie we know and loves today, with a sweetened filling and a lattice top, appeared in a 1514 Dutch cookbook.
So how did apple pie—which is so deeply rooted in Europe—become synonymous with America? European-style apple trees arrived on American shores with the Jamestown colonists, who brought seeds and cuttings to plant in the New World. (And here’s a fun fact from What’s Cooking America: In Colonial times, apples were sometimes called “winter bananas.”) As colonists pushed westward, they brought apples with them. Upton credits Johnny Appleseed with cementing the apple as part of American folklore, as he roamed the frontier planting acres upon acres of apple orchards. By the 19th century, American farmers had planted and cross-pollinated trees to develop an astounding 14,000 different varieties of apples. And of course, many of those varieties were perfect for making pie.
(Also Read – A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue)
Nearly as intriguing as the history of the apple in America is the history of the phrase “as American as apple pie.” Upton cites a newspaper article in 1902 that said “no pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished” and a 1924 ad in the Gettysburg Times selling “New Lestz Suits that are as American as apple pie.” The phrase became such a part of the American fabric that by World War II, soldiers told journalists that they were fighting for “mom and apple pie.”
Apple pie may have become a symbol of all that’s good about Americans, but there is a dessert that’s actually a better candidate for the title. While it might not have the same ring, a more apt phrase might be “As American as a blueberry cobbler.” Unlike the apple, blueberries—along with black cherries, strawberries, cranberries, and elderberries—are native to North America, and cobblers are a uniquely American creation. These fruit and pastry desserts, along with regional variations with such colorful names as Bettys, pandowdies, grunts, slumps, buckles, sonkers, crumbles, and crisps were created by early American settlers who turned to the simple ingredients they had on hand to create satisfying desserts. Nevertheless, it’s apple pie that became the apple of Americans’ eyes.
At CookinGenie, we’ve recently added fresh homemade desserts to our menu and naturally, our choices include an all-American apple pie. Genie Brande Colson folds tart green apples and warm spices into a flaky, golden, homemade crust. She can even make a gluten-free variety. Cap off your next CookinGenie visit with a slice of this wholesome, rustic goodness—we can’t think of a better way to end a home-cooked meal.
09 Sep 2021
We all know at least one person who loves their food insanely hot. They insist that their hot wings “aren’t spicy enough unless I’m dripping with sweat.” On it’s face, that doesn’t make sense. Spicy foods cause physical pain, not just in the mouth, but sometime through the entire body. Why would we deliberately eat, and enjoy, something that causes pain? Well, it turns out, there are actually some pretty compelling reasons why so many people around the world love the way it hurts.
Spice is not a “flavor” but rather a sensation. The sensation of spice comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, which is the substance that makes hot peppers hot. Capsaicin causes pain and triggers the body to think it’s in danger. In response, the body releases endorphins, which are pleasure causing hormones, this is the body’s way of trying to eliminate the “threat” it feels when you eat spicy food. This chemical release causes some people to associate eating hot foods with happiness, creating a “high”, similar to that of the good feeling you get after exercising.
When the body feels it’s in danger, it will also release the survival hormone adrenaline, which can give someone eating a fiery hot bowl of noodles a sense of heart-pounding excitement, just like if they were riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping. In short, for many, eating hot foods is a kind of thrill seeking.
It stands to reason that since the chemicals in hot peppers cause us pain, they can also be harmful to bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Before refrigeration, hot peppers were often used to help preserve food and ward off bacteria in hotter parts of the world. This was integral to food safety; hot peppers were literally life savers.
That’s why hotter countries like India and Mexico have developed very spicy traditional cuisines while more temperate climates like England and Scandinavia produce much more mild food. So, because of these antimicrobial properties found in hot peppers, many cultures created spicy traditional dishes and over generations, billions of people have come to love them.
One reason we may love spicy food is because it’s so good for us. Extensive amounts of scientific research point to all kinds of health benefits from eating spicy foods. Capsaicin, the chemical compound found in chili peppers, is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Capsaicin has also been linked to improved digestion, an increased metabolism, better heart health, reduction in cancer risk, and a strengthened immune system. Turns out, hot peppers are one of nature’s true superfoods.
At CookinGenie, we offer a range of fiery, delicious dishes that appeal to even the most avid of heat seekers. Try genie Jared’s Red Thai Curry, which uses bird’s eye chili peppers along with a blend of aromatic Thai ingredients to make a vibrant, spicy curry sauce filled with stir-fried vegetables. Perhaps order genie Dylan’s Jerk Chicken, which takes juicy chicken legs and slathers them in a tangy, sweet & spicy Jamaican sauce made from habaneros, ginger, cinnamon, and more.
Whatever, your spice preference may be, CookinGenie can accommodate you. You can always request that a dish be more (or less) spicy, and our genies can even make separate plates so that some portions are really spicy for the heat lover in your family, and the rest are milder. To bring the delicious, healthy heat to your kitchen, book a genie today.
Written by: Jared Kent