This is especially upsetting once you learn that cooking from real ingredients like beans, whole grains, pasta, and protein sources like chicken, turkey, pork, and eggs costs a fraction of what it costs to buy prepared or frozen food. And with a bit of know-how, it can be done in the short time available to busy, working people.
Common Threads -- the organization that supplied us with kids -- understands this. Their mission is to use cooking to teach kids from some of Chicago's most underserved neighborhoods nutrition, well-being and cultural diversity. It feels good to know that this group of kids will be well equipped to feed their own hungry families good, healthy food one day, without breaking the bank.
I was glad to see that our chefs kept their grumbling to a minimum. It helped that they had the greatest group of sous-chefs in the history of this show.
By and large they did a good job with a few exceptions. Stephanie's dish was overly busy and featured a bizarre flavor combination -- peanut butter, tomato, and lemon juice. Just plain didn't work. Plus, the couscous was overcooked. That said, she did manage to introduce a nice variety of vegetables into her dish.
Mark's dish was way too sweet, and failed to live up to the parameters of the challenge. While sweet potatoes and squash are high in vitamins, he neutralized this by making a high-fat, coconut-based curry, and limiting himself to starchy vegetables.