Here's How You Can Start Making Meals From Scratch - Exclusive

For most people, making a meal from scratch means gathering non-processed ingredients and following the directions for a recipe. Actor and activist David Moscow takes it to a different level. In his show "From Scratch," each episode, Moscow races against time to find the plants, fish, fowl, and wildlife to recreate a restaurant chef's signature dish entirely from scratch (via FYI). In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Moscow recounted his global adventures that had him diving for octopus and anemones in Sardinia, fishing in Iceland, and hunting wild pig in Mexico. Growing up, Moscow felt one with nature as he picked strawberries or apples and went fishing with his grandfather. But as an adult, his relationship with food — and where it came from — was disconnected. "I would get meat that was wrapped in plastic at the local grocery store ... and it doesn't have any relationship to the animal that it once was," he said. 

Encouraged by Anthony Bourdain, Moscow created a show that explored food culture and food producers around the world. "I thought it was important for me — for my kid — to dive back into this," he said. The concept of harvesting food turned into reality fast. "The hard work that goes behind harvesting sorghum, harvesting wheat, fishing for crab. I mean, these are tough, dangerous jobs," Moscow explained. But the experience of hunting and gathering is tied to the enjoyment of food he prepared. "I recommend people do it. Nothing tastes better. When you start to harvest, your taste buds and your hunger, the desire begins then."

How can we all become more involved in the creation of our own foods? Moscow gave us some pointers.

Cooking from scratch is great for families

According to Moscow, not every meal can realistically be prepared from scratch. But some dishes are readily available in the great outdoors. Autumn is the perfect time of year to pick apples at an orchard or pluck a fresh pumpkin off the vine at a local farm. Making your own cheese is very easy to do, he added, so "go and milk an animal, come back, either get some rennet or some citric acid, put it in there, make a ricotta." 

If you live near the coast or a lake or river, fishing is another option. But that's not always easy. In Season 2 of "From Scratch," Moscow attempted to catch a trout in Utah, and he shows that as romantic as fly-fishing may seem, sometimes the weather and the trout don't cooperate. 

You could also try canning your own locally grown vegetables. Moscow suggested canning freshly picked plum tomatoes and basil. He explained: "You mash it up in the jar, you put it in the steamer, and by the time that hot jar comes out of there, you are salivating, you are ready. You open it up, you grab a spoon, and that is one of the best tastes you've ever had." If you're adventurous and, like Moscow, are really interested in knowing where your food comes from, he suggests finding hunting and butchering classes: "That's where the rubber meets the road."

For more wisdom from David Moscow, be sure to tune into Season 2 of "From Scratch," which premieres on October 31 at 10/9c on FYI.