Diet, nutrition and healthy eating: Part 2 {Guest Column}

By JULIE DRAKE

Special to the Herald Times

RBC | Rio Blanco County Public Health is offering a series of free cooking classes. Spring classes in Meeker, summer and fall in Rangely.  Cooking Matters not only teaches cooking skills, but also nutrition. The concept of choosing nutrient dense foods over empty calories has stood the test of time. We will teach the basics of choosing these foods.

The following is an excerpt from the 1960s cooking and nutrition book “Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices” by George and Berthe Herter. The excerpt maybe isn’t really practical, but shows the importance of nutrient rich foods in an amusing way. 

“Henry the VIII was the King of England from 1509 to 1547. He never amounted to anything, the only thing to his credit was to highly endorse the kidneys made by Elizabeth Grant, one of his many cooks.

Kidneys properly prepared are one of the finest meats and contain far more digestible food value and vitamins than things like roast beef or pork chops. A mountain lion will kill a deer and eat the liver, kidneys, stomach and heart first.  These organs contain the highest food value and most vitamins in the entire animal.

Here is the original recipe of Elizabeth Grant: Take three large beef kidneys and remove all fat from them. Put them into a pot of boiling water with three level teaspoons of vinegar in the water and boil for twenty minutes. Remove from the stove, throw away the water, add new water and boil for another 20 minutes. Remove and again throw away the water, add fresh water and boil for another twenty minutes. Remove the kidneys from the water and leave them cool. When cool cut out any tubes in the kidneys. Now slice the kidneys in ¼ inch thick slices.  Take a medium sized frying pan and put two level teaspoons of butter and two level tablespoons of beef suet and melt. Add one chopped up leek or onion about two inches in diameter. Put in the slices of kidney and brown them lightly on both sides.  Serve with a few fresh leeks or onions and season to taste. 

The secret is to boil them in three waters for one hour before they are fried. Sprinkle with paprika just before eating. If you try to fry kidneys without first boiling them they will smell like you are trying to fry a piece of an old toilet and they will taste just about as bad.

I have never tried kidneys, but know that tongue, heart and liver are not to my liking. The take-away to remember is that choosing nutrient rich foods over those with empty calories such as pop, chips, etc., will feed your body better, prevent hunger longer and ultimately cost less. We don’t plan to use organ meat in any of our Cooking Matters classes, but the concept of nutrient dense foods will be reinforced. If anyone tries the above recipe let me know how it turns out! 

Julie Drake

Julie Drake is the Public Health Director for Rio Blanco County.