The Funky Kitchen:
Reintroducing the Foods Which Nourished Our Ancestors
By Sarica Cernohous
By now, most of us are on board with the importance of nutrition in our well-being and health. But for as many times as I’ve heard patients or friends say, “I eat well,” I’ve learned to ask the next question: “What does ‘well’ look like?” Does it mean a vegetarian diet? A low-fat diet? A diet free from cholesterol and saturated fat? Does it mean a diet low in sugar but high in artificial sweeteners? Or maybe it’s a diet heavy in fats and protein but very low in carbohydrates?
After many years of formal study regarding the various approaches to eating and dieting, I’ve come to the place of most simplicity…eating as close to our ancestors’ ways as possible, eschewing processed foods and foods devoid of nutrition, and making sure every forkful of food is as rich in nutrition as possible. And one of the best ways to ensure that we are getting that highest complement of nutrition is by utilizing the various traditional food techniques, practiced by our ancestors but largely forgotten in modern commerce.
What are some of these ancient methods? One invaluable method is making a rich stock or broth, from bones, connective tissue and even organs from pastured animals. Our ancestors had to work hard for their fats and protein, and nothing went to waste once an animal was killed. In exchange for this effort, our ancestors were rewarded with nutrition that was the apex of what their bodies needed…fat-soluble vitamins, cell-building cholesterol and saturated fats, minerals and other tissue-building components.
Our bodies have developed over the eons with this memory and expectation of nutrition—a broth is rich in amino acids, cholesterol, bioavailable minerals and many vitamins. These components are all but completely missing from the modern diet, even among those that eat organic or pastured meats—there is a very different nutrition profile in the various parts of an animal.
Organs are rich in Vitamins A, D and K, integral components to growth, development and immunity. Organs are also rich in B Vitamins that support a healthy stress response and cellular communication. Connective tissues between and within bones are replete in glucosamine and chondroitin, the components many pay for in supplement form to keep their joints pliable and strong. And broths from bones are some of the least expensive and most effective sources of bioavailable minerals—calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and others—that one will find anywhere, in food or supplement form.
There is much more to talk about in regard to the health benefits of consuming broth, and my book, The Funky Kitchen, goes into more of them. But beyond the health benefits, the flavors of soups, stews, grains, beans and braised vegetables that have been prepared with homemade broth are beyond compare. It is a nutritional AND flavor powerhouse that will please the entire body, from your palate down to your cells!
Making broths is but one form of traditional food preparation that can pay big dividends in our health. My blog, naturallylivingtoday.com, shares many recipes of traditionally prepared foods. Please visit to explore new ideas on using old techniques to bring as much vitality as possible to your life!
The Funky Kitchen: A Compilation of One Soccer Mom’s Favorite Traditional Food Techniques and Recipes is an easy-to-follow, inspiring and thoughtful exploration of different traditional food preparation practices. The book’s author, Sarica Cernohous, is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and her training in this ancient art is an inseparable component of the information she shares.
Written in an unassuming, approachable manner, The Funky Kitchen is an enjoyable handbook on bringing greater nutrition into our kitchens, using methods employed by our ancestors but which have been largely forgotten in modern times. Looking at various traditional food preparation methods, from nourishing bone broths to fermenting and culturing, from soaking grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to low-heat dehydration, every chapter has clear direction on how to do each technique, as well as the reasons why these methods are so important for health and well-being.
With professional color photography throughout, The Funky Kitchen offers encouragement and clear direction to those completely new to these techniques—it was written as a primer for anyone interested making delicious and nutritious food truly from scratch, but wouldn’t know where to begin. However, it has many novel approaches to methods familiar to seasoned food enthusiasts, making it a great inspiration for anyone interested in sharing in the collective practices of reviving traditional practices in the modern kitchen.
Sarica Cernohous lives with her husband and young children in Arizona, where she maintains her practice of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as teaches on the techniques of The Funky Kitchen. She writes on living more naturally in the modern world on her website, naturallylivingtoday.com.