“Don’t use bleached flour!” Gay Cook spoke with a passion and authoritative tone that makes you want to listen. The energy level of this 85 year old Ottawa foodie is wonderful.
“For some people wanted white flour – I guess they thought that their cakes would look better whiter. So the manufacturers put in stuff like chalk or bleach to make the flour white.” A multitude of “eeewww” and “yuck” went through the audience.
I had come to the amazing Cherry Pie event at the Experimental Farm and Agricultural Museum in the heart of Ottawa with the hopes meeting the amazing entrepreneur and educator, Gay Cook and I was certainly blessed. Along with about 99 other people packed into the demonstration kitchen, we learned the secrets of healthy baking. I have to admit, I did not expect some her tips:
- Use real butter
- Always use unbleached flour.
- Maple syrup is a better addition to a pie than sugar.
- Prepare the crust with feel and not just a recipe.
- Ingredients are made by nature so in dry years, your dry ingredients will need more liquid to the same consistency as you will require.
And we watched, each one of her 100 kitchen guests listened as quietly as possible. Her passion for the food was electric in the room. Her tone made you feel like you too could bake. And then, Gay pulled out three pies and proceeded to cut them up so that everyone could have a taste. What was the most interesting is that those 3-4 bites of pie were so incredibly filling. It was such a sensual experience from the preparation through to the enjoyment of flavours that the actual eating with only a part of it what the made the evening special.
So I started to think, I wonder if some of our issues with eating disorders, extreme food waste and food sensitivities might be from our dissociation with nature and the natural food processes. I wondered how much chalk I have eaten and I vowed to eat simpler.
And since my lovely evening with Gay and 99 of her kitchen guests, I have successfully achieved a healthier, natural and respectful friendship with the simpler joys of food preparation and enjoyment.
Thanks Gay Cook – you are an inspiration!
For awesome natural recipes! Check out her book…I did.