My grandmother was a huge influence on my life. She was born in 1892 in Coffey, Missouri and was raised on a farm. Circa 1915 she moved to the San Francisco Bay area, raised my father in Berkeley, California and spent her last 25 years in an in-law unit attached to my family’s house in Orangevale, California.
Grandma told me stories of life on the farm, which I idolized and helped create my obsession with the “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She read to me, taught me math facts, taught me how to cook and clean and let me do her weekly grocery shopping. Because of that, my obsession with the food market started at a young age.
Grandma had me cook dinner once a week. For unknown reasons, she introduced me to Shake’N Bake and that is how I learned to bake chicken.
Kraft is branching off from Shake’N Bake with Fresh Take, easy recipes, found in the shredded cheese isle at the supermarket. There are several flavors available: Smokey Mesquite BBQ, Italian Parmesan, Southwest Three Cheese, Rosemary & Roasted Garlic, Cheddar Jack & Bacon, Chili Lime & Panko, and Savory Four Cheese. I decided to try Italian Parmesan, because I know my family likes the Parmesan crusted chicken tenders that I prepare using a recipe from Eating Well.
Fresh Take is not more convenient or better tasting than Eating Well’s recipe, however, the flavor line up that Kraft introduced in their Fresh Take line up is interesting and I would like to try other flavor varieties. The nagging question that still haunts me is “Why doesn’t America cook and why is there a market for these prepared seasonings?” I believe it is easier to keep breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in the house for chicken tenders and other recipes like meatballs, lasagna and Alfredo sauce? The preparation of Fresh Take is similar than preparing from scratch.
I also wonder why my grandmother taught me to cook with Shake’N Bake? Did the miserable work of butchering and preparing chicken on the farm cause her to embrace the convenience of prepared foods?
As we enter a time when there is a food revolution, I hope we question why our grandparents choose to change the way they prepared food and realize what is the benefit of prepared foods. As a mom, I believe it is important to teach our children to enjoy home cooked food, to raise animals, to plant gardens, to sit down together as a family for meals and to teach them how to cook. Just like grandma did.