Vancouver's return to the kitchen
Home cooking is enjoying a real renaissance these days.
Not only are people cooking but they are cooking from scratch. They’re not only making pasta but actually making the dough.
And with the wonderful explosion of farmers markets we can talk to the grower directly and even form weekly relationships with our favourite farmer and bring home a fresh supply of vegetables plus specialty cheeses and breads.
Of course, once you’re back inside the kitchen, it helps to have the right tools. Dave Werner is the owner of Cookworks, two stores in Vancouver dedicated to the home chef. The stores offer up an Aladdin’s treasure trove matching the jobs to products. “It’s very interesting how people are going back to basics,” he says. “A carpenter needs good tools and a cook needs good tools too, so we would recommend starting with a very good set of knives; they make preparation so much easier.”
The recent recession has sparked a trend in cooking, Werner says.
“People are looking for things that fall into a couple of categories. There is a return to quality products, (and) people who are really into cooking for the family plus entertaining, and want products that do the job, will last, and they are willing to invest. People are returning to core basics; they would rather have one good pot than dozens of gadgets.”
Werner has also seen a surge in the number of people who are canning.
“Living where we do with such an abundance of fresh product from surrounding farms, people are really taking advantage of the availability,” says Werner. “Pressure cooking is also having a big resurgence; people may not have a lot of time but they are finding ways of cooking healthy food.”
Baking from scratch is another trend these days with the whole family getting involved. They may not bake on a daily basis but when they do they once again want to know what is going into the food their family is eating. Werner says his stores can hardly keep stand mixers on the shelf, which is a 180-degree turn from four or five years ago.
The explosion of excellent cooking shows on the Food Network has also made it easy for people to get creative in the kitchen. And did you know there are websites where you can list what you have in your pantry and up pops a recipe? Just Google “recipes by ingredients” and you will have a choice of websites.
Next thing we know people are going to start getting rid of lawns and planting their own fruit and vegetables. Wouldn’t that be great?
MAGGIE CALLOWAY/Black Press