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Barry Lewis

Something organic

Barry Lewis
Posted 3/4/22

For as far back as I can remember I simply cut my food.

Sometimes I’d slice it, occasionally mash it and if things got really wild, I’d chop it to pieces. Steak off the grill. Eggs …

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Barry Lewis

Something organic


For as far back as I can remember I simply cut my food.

Sometimes I’d slice it, occasionally mash it and if things got really wild, I’d chop it to pieces. Steak off the grill. Eggs from the pan. Soup out of a pot. I really wasn’t much of a cook, let alone a daring one.

Maybe it was hereditary. Roz Lewis used ketchup instead of sauce, thought tomatoes in a tuna fish sandwich was a delicacy and gave us Devil Dogs for dessert.

Eventually I’d get a bit creative with omelets but no one would mistake my kitchen prowess with that of the Galloping Gourmet.

Not anymore.

These days I halve, peel and mince. Where once I just cut now I dice. When I slice it’s thinly. When I chop it’s finely.

Mere mortal cooks simply flip their food.

Dare I say we chefs tastefully toss our cuisine.

Barry, aren’t you going a bit too far?

I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. I’m zesting here. That’s right, ZESTING!

It wasn’t that long ago if someone asked if I zested I’d say that’s getting a bit personal, but sure, when I shower.

These days it’s all part of a multi-stage health oriented, time conscious, visually appealing process that turns an insulated brown box filled with meat and potatoes, fish and pasta, chicken and rice and a host of vegetables and spices into savory and healthy dishes while at the same time transforming cooking wannabe’s like myself into culinary artists.

That’s what happens when you take part in the $13 billion industry known as the world of meal-kit delivery service.

There are more than 150 of these companies that offer front door, pre-portioned ingredients and instructions for multiple meals. They’ll deliver vegan, vegetarian or organic, beef-free, pork-free and fish/shellfish free. Customize for artisanal or seasonal, with or without soy, wheat or nuts or for those who are lactose intolerant. Get servings to feed a couple or family of four and for one night or every day of the week.

Which one do I think is the best? I’m sure most are outstanding and I certainly wouldn’t want to influence anyone into picking one company over another. But I will tell you my favorite is the one that rhymes with “elbow flesh.”

These weekly deliveries have transformed my life.

Now I’m buying fancy utensils with form-fitting grips, artisanal pepper grinders with adjustable coarseness and always searching for the ultimate extra virgin olive oil.

Where once I aimlessly walked down supermarket aisles hoping to find ingredients that would offer menu inspiration, praying that I wouldn’t end up needing medication and hospitalization, I’m now grilling sriracha-glazed salmon with baby bok choy. I’ve cooked that a dozen times and I still have no idea if there’s a difference between a baby bok and an adult bok or what sriracha is, let alone how to pronounce it. Doesn’t matter.

You’re talking to someone who bragged for years about being able to cook Rice-A-Roni without burning the pan, and is now timing his corn risotto so that it finishes without conflicting with searing scallops.

There are a few challenges with the meal-kit cooking. For example, those who have attempted the simple six-step process I’m sure will attest that within those six steps are actually dozens of subsets of steps. When the easy to read cooking guide says “step 1: prep” it really means prepare to spend the next 30 minutes doing nothing but chopping, cutting, coring, mincing, peeling, halving and slicing. Personally I consider it a Zen moment, when I am one with whatever fruit, vegetable or herb I need to reduce.

Give me a sharp knife, a sturdy cutting board and package of bandages and I am ready to cook.

So, who wants some more bok?


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