Cook Food

a manualfesto for easy, healthy, local eating


Put most simply, Cook Food is a cookbook, one that you should run out and get a copy of right now this minute.

But it’s so much more that just a cookbook. With its focus on fresh, local, minimally processed ingredients and basic kitchen techniques, it’s a rousing food manifesto, a nifty set of tools, and—I hope—a book that will inspire a lot of people to make cooking with fresh, local, animal-free foods a part of their everyday lives.

It’s also not just a book. I like to think it’s an attitude. See, one of the reasons I wanted to write a cookbook in the first place is that I’ve met a lot of people who tell me—often after I’ve shared with them some food that took me about a half an hour to make—that they can’t cook. When I ask them why, they say that it’s too complicated, that they can’t figure out what to cook with what, they don’t know which spices to use on which ingredients, or they’re confused about what size to chop their vegetables.

This, to be blunt, is frickin’ insane.

Because when you’re cooking for yourself, your friends, and your family, you should use the spices you like with the ingredients you like, and chop your stuff to whatever size you like. Delicious meals are within the reach of anyone armed with a simple set of techniques and the knowledge of what they like to eat.

Let me say that again: Delicious meals are within the reach of anyone armed with a simple set of techniques and the knowledge of what they like to eat.

Please pause and take this in. There is nothing at all about this statement that should be surprising. But not enough people believe it. The idea that cooking is some rarefied skill requiring swanky equipment and pricey ingredients is as rampant in our culture as it is wrongheaded.

Cook Food is an attempt to change all that, and make preparing tasty, wholesome meals simple and accessible for everyone, on any budget or with any amount of kitchen skills.

About the Author

Author photo tastic!

Here I am in a friend's kitchen. Photo by Drew Beck.

Lisa Jervis is the founding editor and publisher of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, the founding board president of Women in Media and News, and a member of the advisory board of outLoud Radio. She is currently the finance and operations director at the Center for Media Justice. Her work has appeared in really a lot of books and also magazines, many of which are, sadly, defunct.

She may someday get back to writing that long-planned book about the intellectual legacy of gender essentialism and its effect on contemporary feminism. She grew up in New York City, and retains a certain hard-nosed East Coast temperament, but the transplant to Oakland, California, has worked out remarkably well.

In her spare time, she squeezes fruit at farmer’s markets, bikes around town, and tries not to indulge her crazy-cat-lady tendencies too much.