You may not immediately recognize Maria Rodale’s name, but here are a few titles you’re more likely to be familiar with: Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Prevention, and Rodale’s Organic Life. Each of these magazines is produced by Rodale Inc., one of the world’s leading independent publishers of health and personal wellness content. The company was founded by Maria’s grandfather, and she has carried on his legacy as CEO and Chairman.
At only 53 years old, Maria has become a champion and activist of the organic lifestyle. For her, eating homemade meals was never a trend or movement; it was just common sense when surrounded by farmers, chefs, and bakers. Ever since she grew up on America’s first organic farm, Maria has been all about cooking her own meals and using quality, organic ingredients—sometimes ones she grew herself. With the launch of her first cookbook, Scratch: Home Cooking for Everyone Made Simple, Fun, and Totally Delicious, this philosophy is being offered directly to the public. Recently, Foods4Better Health was granted the opportunity to ask Maria a few questions about her new book and her thoughts on the spirit of cooking.
What is your philosophy of cooking?
My philosophy of cooking is that it should be simple, delicious, easy and nourishing. And the best way to do that is to use real ingredients (preferably organic) and to cook from scratch.
How did that inspire the recipes you chose to include in Scratch?
The recipes in the book were all things that I love to eat—family favorites and comfort foods that I either make again and again or for special occasions. I also included a few things that I wanted to learn how to make. But I always start with the question “what am I hungry for? What am I craving?” and then figure out how I can make it as easily and deliciously as possible.
What is your favorite recipe in the book?
Roast chicken and pan gravy, primarily because it’s so delicious and I love to eat it! But it’s also a reflection of my journey as a cook. In the beginning I was intimidated and afraid and thought I had to “do” all these things or I wouldn’t be good enough–brining, basting, trussing, stuffing, spatchcocking, adding all sorts of elaborate ingredients. I tried everything! And ultimately ended up with the most simple thing of all: take a good organic chicken and stick it in the oven. That’s it. Nothing more.
It. Tastes. Amazing. And then you can take the carcass and make bone broth and suddenly life is complete.
How do you hope readers will use Scratch, what do you hope their main takeaway will be?
I hope they use it everyday, like I do, because honestly I still can’t remember half my recipes and have to look them up. I hope they will take away the confidence to know that they can cook, it’s super easy and delicious and it’s the most satisfying way to eat.
Anything else you would like the share?
This book is good for people who have never cooked. But it’s also good for people who cook a lot and just want to try a new, more simple approach. Most importantly, you have the power to change the world, your life, your family and your soul by what and how you cook in the kitchen.
Scratch: Home Cooking for Everyone Made Simple, Fun, and Totally Delicious was released on October 11 and can be purchased on Amazon in hardcover or Kindle format.