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Our Eating Habits May Never Be The Same After The Pandemic

As self-quarantining has led many of us to do awful things to keep busy, I found myself watching TMZ the other night.

It wasn’t all bad though, as chef Giada DeLaurentiis was interviewed and gave some interesting food-based insight on the current global pandemic.

“I think our whole life is going to change. Instead of complicating food, we’re going to stick to the basics,” Giada told TMZ. “I think you’re going to start to realize that certain ingredients can be used in many many different ways.”

Which is interesting, because with the way aggressive shoppers have made certain foods scarce, those who are trying to cook at home, probably have to get creative and work with what they have available.

With groceries going like crazy, it’s a little hard to dig into a cookbook right now and try to use all of Gordon Ramsay’s 17 ingredients to cook a beef wellington.

With that in mind, DeLaurentiis has even simplified her own recipes for the public. Fully knowing that ingredients are a luxury at the moment, she said on Instagram Tuesday:

“Adapted a lot of my recipes on @thegiadzy to use pantry ingredients & omit ingredients that are hard to find in grocery stores right now. I hope it’s helpful for everyone staying in & cooking at home.”

We’ve already seen this unfold, as people have been using what they have or what they can snag at the store, leading to things such as makeshift French onion soup ramen, low effort banana bread, and microwave risotto.


While off-the-cuff recipes are being done out of necessity of the moment, it’s fair to predict that home cooking could be the new norm, as the way we eat out will be changed.

The combination of both restaurant closures and budgeted spending from consumers after extended work stoppages could very well mean that eating out will become a luxury.

Jonathan Maze, Editor-in-Chief at Restaurant Business Magazine pointed out some of the post-quarantine struggles saying:

“Once this things clears up, we’re probably going to be in an economic recession, and it’s going to be a while before the economy recovers from that. Then you get into a situation where people are really cutting back.”

Record-setting claims for unemployment have been filing in, as business closures have forced a lot of layoffs.

In the restaurant industry alone, the current business shutdown regulations could affect an estimated 5 to 7 million employees over a three month span, according to the National Restaurant Association.

And even as restaurants try to rebuild in the aftermath, Maze added that they will now have to worry about rehiring its employees, assuming they haven’t found a job somewhere else. On top of that, bringing customers back and letting them know they are open again will be a process that could add another couple months as they try to get back in the flow of things.

We can only hope our favorite restaurants can get through this, and as much as we might want to keep patronizing them, our own personal financial situations will ultimately dictate that. So there’s a chance you’ll want to get used to cooking at home, and getting creative, as that could be the new norm.

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4 Secrets To Making Perfect Pasta, According To Giada

Giada De Laurentiis is an icon in the culinary world, and if you grew up even remotely interested in food, you’ve probably sat through Food Network marathons of her cooking at home serving up unique, tasty Italian dishes.

As the epicurean madness of Bon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d event unfolded, I had a chance to catch up with Giada at her new Pronto restaurant inside the Caesars Palace hotel and casino.

Being the queen of Italian food, there was no way I was going to let the opportunity pass to find out how she makes her pasta, and dig into her secrets to making it perfectly.

If you feel your pasta sometimes tastes a little off, or aren’t even sure what a good pasta should taste like, Giada has your back with these four tips, shared for your cooking pleasure:

Salt It Like The Ocean

 

If the water you boil your pasta in doesn’t taste like the Pacific Ocean, you’re salting it wrong. Giada stressed the importance of salting your water while the pasta is cooking. If you’re trying to salt it up after the fact, it’s too late. You ruined it.

“The first time you get to season the pasta, which is in the water, is what’s going to make the difference between a great pasta and a mediocre pasta. If you don’t season it with enough salt, your pasta is bland. You can add all the salt you want later on, as you’re assembling the dish together with the sauce, but it’s never going to stick to that noodle. Season it like you would the sea. It should be salty.”

Al Dente Is Your Friend


You’ve probably heard the term al dente in Barilla commericals or random Italian movies, and it really is important. Al dente means the pasta has some firmness and a particular, toothsome bite to it, and Giada explained how to get this texture right.

“To me, what I like from a pasta, is a noodle that is al dente, so you take it out of the water a little bit early, and finish it in a pan. As the noodle continues to cook in the pan, it absorbs the sauce. It should have a little bit of a bite to it.”

Pasta With Ridges


While all pastas are beautiful in their own ways, Giada let us in on a little secret, explaining that ridged pasta has a tendency to trap that flavor better than pastas with smooth surfaces.

“I like pastas with ridges, because the sauce gets stuck in the ridges. To me, that’s a better pasta.”

DO NOT THROW OUT THAT PASTA WATER

If you really want a delicious, creamy sauce that puts your pasta above others, save that pasta water after cooking. It is common to dump out your pasta and do away with the water, but keeping some on hand makes a huge difference in the final product.

“Pasta water is the key to creating the creaminess. So after you’ve cooked the pasta, you reserve a quarter, to a half cup of pasta water. The gluten and the starch in the pasta water is what allows the noodle and the sauce to adhere to each other. You just keep adding a little bit of pasta water as you’re tossing the pasta together. You gotta reserve it in advance.”

Giada’s Perfect Pasta

Giada took us through the process of making the perfect pasta, so aside from a good salting and using ridged noodles, what does the final product of her perfect pasta look like?

“Very simplistic pasta. Nothing that’s overdressed or too heavy. If you look at a pasta and you can see the noodle, it’s probably a pretty good pasta. And if every noodle is coated with sauce, you’re looking at a good pasta dish. If the sauce pulls on the bottom, it’s probably not a good pasta dish.”

So there you have it. Giada just schooled us on pasta perfection. You should never mess up your pasta again as long as you follow these tips. I mean, there’s still a good chance you’ll mess up, but don’t blame us, because we just gave you the playbook.

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After Dual-Arm Transplant, Marine Pursues Dream To Become A Chef

Since he was a young boy, John Peck’s dream was to become a chef. Instead, he became a Marine.

Unfortunately, in 2010, John’s military career ended while on tour in Afghanistan, after he stepped on an explosive device. He was lucky to survive as a quadruple amputee.

Still, without his arms or legs, Peck’s aspirations of becoming a chef never faltered.

Now, with the help of a recent dual-arm transplant, Peck says he’s traveling to Italy, enrolling in culinary school, and plans to become the next Food Network star.

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Peck is now the second person in the world to receive a dual-arm transplant.  On Wednesday October 5, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, Peck spoke at his first public post-transplant press conference, where he thanked the family of his donor and explained his plan for the next chapter of his new life.

“My dream job since I was 12 was to be a chef. Now because of my donor’s gift, I actually have a fighting chance of doing this. I plan on going to culinary school, traveling to Paris and Italy, learning their techniques, coming back, and competing as the next Food Network star.”

Still a Marine at heart, Peck exudes a die-hard motivation to pursue his dreams and will not settle in his current situation.

“I am unwilling to accept this until the day I die,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Through more than four years of excruciating recovery, Peck has documented his journey on John Peck’s Journey Facebook page. Since his story broke, there’s been an outpouring of support.

Thankful for the well wishes, Peck has announced a live Q&A session that will be hosted on the John Peck’s Journey Facebook page Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 pm EST.

Peck’s story not only serves as an inspiration for those who are recovering from injuries of war, but should resonate heavily with those who are still in pursuit of their culinary goals.