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Whole Food Advantage: What is it and why should we listen?

According to Merriam Webster the term whole food means “a natural food; especially an unprocessed one such as a vegetable or fruit.” While there’s no official criteria for a whole food diet, most would agree that it consists of minimally processed food as close to its natural state as possible.  Experts agree this is a smart way to eat as it encourages nutritious options from all the food groups.

At Healthy Gourmet we are proud to prepare our meals using all-natural ingredients and without artificial preservatives.  Consequently, our meals are packed with the nutrients and taste that nature intended and do not have added sugarsstarches, flavorings, or other manufactured ingredients.  In this way, we believe that Healthy Gourmet’s approach to preparing meals is as close to whole food as we can make it.  What are some examples of whole food, why should we eat them and how can we incorporate them into our diet?

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Food Tourism: The Pursuit and Pleasure of Eating and Drinking

Food tourism (or “culinary tourism”) is simply a matter of traveling beyond your immediate neighborhood to find great food. Of course, the further you are willing to travel, the broader your range of culinary experiences will be.  For those unable to travel, Healthy Gourmet brings a world of global flavors to your table and can satisfy your sense of adventure and curiosity as well as your taste buds.  But for those who decide to wander further afield, let us share some insights into food tourism as well as some tips to help you make the most of your culinary adventures.

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Hungarian Goulash – From Ancient Grasslands to Famed National Dish

Goulash is the traditional stew of Hungary.  The name ‘Goulash’ comes from the word Gulyas meaning herdsmen in Hungarian, otherwise known as Magyar (Hungarian) shepherds.  In the 9th century, these Gulyas traveled on long cattle drives across the grassy Hungarian plains with their long-horned, Steppe cattle.  The weakest in the herd would not survive the journey and consequently the resourceful herdsmen would butcher them, making the meat into stew.  For additional flavoring, they would add onions and caraway, which conveniently grew wild on the plains.  The resulting dish eventually evolved into the stew we know today as Goulash.  However this was not before undergoing a number of interesting adaptations.

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From Russia with Love – Beef Stroganov and Other Classic Russian Dishes

Beef Stroganoff (Stroganov) is simple, comforting Russian cuisine, comprising sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce.  It dates back to the mid 19th century and is named after a member of the Stroganov family, a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners.  Unlike the French, who often named dishes after the chefs who devised them, the Russians traditionally attached the names of famous households to their cuisine.  This was because the cooks were usually serfs. In other words, they were agricultural laborers of peasant class without social status.  Count Pavel Stroganov was a celebrity in turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg, a dignitary at the court of Alexander III, a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts, and a gourmet.  Allegedly, Count Pavel’s love of entertaining ‘popularized’ Beef Stroganov, which had actually appeared as a recipe some years earlier.  Let’s review some examples and characteristics of Russian Cuisine.

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Labor Day Cookouts – Celebrating the Healthy Way

The first Labor Day celebration was September 5, 1882 in New York City.  On that Tuesday, 10,000 citizens marched for labor rights down the streets of Manhattan. During this time the average American worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. It wasn’t until the Adamson Act passed on September 3, 1916 that our modern eight-hour workday was established.  Since that time Labor Day has traditionally become symbolic of the end of Summer as Americans across the country celebrate the occasion outdoors with cookouts and picnics.  As we fire up the grill this coming Labor Day, what can we do to make sure we keep our feasting healthy without compromising fun or flavor?

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Middle Eastern Kebabs – The Whole Kit and Caboodle

The Middle East is a vast region located at the crossroads of North Africa, Asia, and Europe.  It centers on western Asia, Egypt and Turkey and incorporates several major countries.  These include Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain and Cyprus.  People from all over the world flock to the Middle East to witness its architecture, culture, and remnants of the ancient world.  Not surprisingly, history, religion, Mediterranean climate and tradition play a huge role in defining its cuisine.  In addition, foreign invasions and trade routes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia have been influential.  Middle Eastern cuisine uses a characteristic blend of local herbs and spices to season its meat.  Accordingly, lamb, beef and chicken skewers produce many different versions of kebab.  Let’s look at Middle Eastern kebabs in more detail.

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Teacher Appreciation: Be a Hero, Help a Hero Part II

This week we continue to focus on celebrating the teaching community and the auxiliary staff and administrators who support them.   As you now know, Healthy Gourmet is a faithful advocate of ‘Philanthropy and Community’ and we encourage you to be heroes in supporting our educational superstars by purchasing gift cards for convenient, gourmet meals that can be enjoyed in the staff room or at home.  Every year the nation comes together to give official recognition to teachers in May during ‘Teacher Appreciation Week‘.  We also celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5.  But gratitude for our teachers exists year round in the hearts and souls of thousands of families across America.  Here are some personal stories of teacher appreciation.

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Be a Hero, Help a Hero – Feed a Teacher

One of Healthy Gourmet’s four guiding principles is ‘Philanthropy and Community’ and this week we are focusing on the teaching community and the auxiliary staff and administrators who support them.  To this end, Healthy Gourmet believes that teachers are a priceless asset in any learning environment and we would like to encourage our community to partner with us.  For this reason, we invite you to be heroes in supporting our teachers by purchasing gift cards for convenient, prepared meals that can be enjoyed in the staff room or at home.

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Keep Calm and Curry on!

Curry is a paradox.  Most people are familiar with the word.  Yet, at the same time, they will have absolutely no idea what you’re eating if you tell them you’re having one.  You could be having lamb or chicken or maybe beef or pork.  Perhaps you’re a vegetarian.  Or maybe it’s a seafood dish.   It is dry or wet?  Will you need a spoon to eat it?  What color is it?  How spicy is it?  The name doesn’t provide the answer to any of these questions.  Only if you take a peek at what’s on the plate do you get an idea.  So how is it possible for a dish to be so ambiguous by definition and what actually makes curry a curry?

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Vietnamese Food, The ‘Yin and Yang’ Cuisine of Asia

Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia, in a region known as Indochina. It hugs the coastline of the South China Sea and borders Laos and Cambodia to the west.  In America, Vietnam is sadly known less for its cuisine and more for the notoriety of the 20 year Vietnam War.  In fact, many aspects of its culture, including a diverse and impressive gastronomy, are relatively unexplored.  Happily, this is beginning to change as Vietnamese cuisine has been steadily gaining popularity in the West.  Why the appeal?  You could say it is due to its simplicity, multicultural influences and healthiness.  You could also say it is a cuisine governed by philosophy, bound by regional geography and shaped by history.  Either way, it is a stimulating, technicolor experience for all five senses and one that stands out from its South East Asian neighbors.  Let’s explore some reasons why.

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