Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 2.14.08

loving your body

Loving to Cook
Serving up the basics with a sharp knife
By Mark Arellano and Camilla Mortensen

Is it possible to have a healthy kitchen if you lack time and money? UO graduate student Kim Mikkelsen thinks so. With the right utensils and tools, healthy cooking is a snap.

Mikkelsen grew up in a rural area of Denmark where self-sustainability is key and people eat organically produced foods. “It’s important to eat organically. I know it can be difficult for some people supporting themselves, but to strive for a healthy intake of food is important,” Mikkelsen said.

If you aren’t planning to go to Scandinavia for your sustainable foods, try Sundance Natural Foods, an organic and mostly locally grown products store. Owner Gavin McComas has many things to say about the essential basics of healthy cooking and eating. “Growing sprouts is healthy and they’re very important to eat,” McComas said. “For people on the go, like students, pastas, soups and rice are ideal because their cooking time is not time consuming.”

And, of course, there are many great fruits and vegetables that you can incorporate into healthy and fun meals. Squashes, red onions and purple cabbages are good ingredients to put into dishes to add flavor and zest. Beans, oats and grains are also simple and delicious items that are fast and easy to cook up and serve.

Hartwick’s, located in the Fifth Street Public Market, is one place to go for utensils for cooking that healthy food. Mikkelsen is very keen on good kitchen items to prepare and cook his food in. “Good pans and utensils equate to good food. You should feel good in your own kitchen,” he said. “If you don’t have a sharp knife, that’s depressing.”

Store owner Lisa Hartwick stocks a dazzling array of kitchenware so there’s lots to choose from. Go for quality; with one good pot and one good pan you can easily put together a healthy meal. Follow the same principle for knives. With a good chef’s knife, paring knife and bread knife, you are well on your way. Spending a little more money at the outset will help you save later, when you don’t have to keep replacing cheap knives and bad pans.

Hartwick’s also offers solutions for the byproducts of your cooking, like a compost pail. It’s a little silver bucket that sits by your sink. You toss in the food scraps, and the filter keeps the smells away until you’re ready to take the organic matter outside to compost for your garden. Outfitting your kitchen with these foods and tools keeps your body happy and shows your love — for you and for the planet.


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Loving to Cook Serving up the basics with a sharp knife