This is sooo ironic. The Lazy Cook, who hates to cook and doesn’t follow a recipe when she does, got to go to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California, for three days to sample LOTS of REALLY good food, learn from chefs, and get dozens of recipes. The Crazy Cook is majorly jealous. It was for work (really, it was). I was there for ‘Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives’, a leadership conference bridging nutrition science, health care and the culinary arts, co-sponsored by Harvard Medical School. The conference was a unique approach to reducing diet related diseases in primary health care. The culinary techniques I saw included lots of chopping; lots of oil (including the tip to ‘fry’ quinoa before cooking it); lots of pinches of salt; and lots of herbs and spices (which you should first toast—in oil—for best results). All these things may add a dimension of flavor, but from my perspective, requires additional steps and more utensils and pots to clean (I don’t have dedicated kitchen clean up staff like the Culinary Institute). Add to that, the encouragement to buy the freshest ingredients — which means frequent trips to the grocery store or—better yet– farmers market (try that in Chicago in the dead of winter), and I see lots more time spent on cooking. Not a fun use of my time! It was an excellent conference, but it didn’t inspire me to become The Crazy Cook. While I still hate to cook, and there is no chance of me becoming a professional chef, I did learn a few things that even I can do, like: toss vegetables in spices and just roast them in the oven. You just might see these in future episodes. That is, of course, if I can bring myself to actually do some cooking.