Cookus Interruptus: Simple Cooking for Busy Lives

Cookus Interruptus is a website out of the Pacific Northwest that aims to educate viewers on how to cook fresh, local, organic, whole foods despite life's interruptions. Every week the show features a new recipe and short (five minutes or less) video on how to prepare it. Their mission is:

to educate viewers about how to prepare high-quality wholesome food within the context of busy family life. We welcome dialogue on our blog about how to achieve this.
Cookus Interruptus utilizes and advocates the consumption of foods that are sustainably produced emphasizing whole fresh local organic ingredients made into recipes that taste fantastic. These choices help maintain health and pleasure for individual family members and well as for our community and our environment.
We believe that education should be entertaining as well as informative.

The host of the show is Cynthia Lair, a renaissance woman whose skills include (but are not limited to): cooking, nutrition, teaching, writing, and improvisational acting. She tapped many of these skills when she co-created Cookus Interruptus a few years ago along with director/producer Brad Huskinson. Since 2008, the site has gained a large, passionate following, with more than 70,000 pages viewed a month. Lair describes her videos as Michael Pollan meets Everybody Loves Raymond. One of the key points she hopes to convey is that eating well isn't just for the intellectual or financial elite.

The brief videos on Cookus Interruptus are a mash-up of cooking demonstration and family sit-com. Lair cooks while the cast of other actors come in and out, just like a real-life family kitchen. In fact, while I was watching some of the videos, my sons were wrestling on the couch nearby. I thought about hushing them, but instead let them be, to see if watching a video about cooking in real life could be done while actually living real life. My sons became interested in what I was watching, came over and looked over my shoulder while I viewed Be Bop Breakfast, in which Cynthia prepares a modified version of the Korean staple Be Bim Bop (which means simply "mixed rice") for her breakfast. While my 5- and 7-year-old boys loved saying "Be Bim Bop!" over and over, they were not at all excited at the prospect of kale (or spinach or chard or any of the variations Cynthia suggested) for breakfast. Still, my husband and I both enjoy savory breakfasts, so we'll probably give this a try.

The show's characters grow and change over time; there's even a back story on the site to help newcomers follow them. It's entertaining to see Cynthia and her husband Steve discuss vacation plans, or to have Cynthia put out the dog while she's cooking, because these are the kind of things that happen in everyday family life that no one ever puts in a cooking show. The videos show cooking (and eating!) quality, whole foods at home as an easy, everyday part of life.

At first, it seemed to me that Cookus Interruptus and its light, almost silly tone would be especially helpful to new cooks, ones intimidated by cooking at home. This would be a great site for a parent to watch with a child, for a college student, new grad, or person of any age who wants to learn to cook but gets intimidated by unusual ingredients or complicated recipes. I found the videos helpful too, and I cook frequently at home. Each recipe has variations and ideas for accompaniments. The site is also useful for those days (and weeks, sometimes) when I have no idea what to cook, and want to do something creative, healthful, and simple. 

Cookus Interruptus makes cooking fun and accessible through simple recipes and short, engaging videos. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

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Orange Glazed Salmon Kabobs with Yogurt Garlic Dip, from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008).

Preparation time: 20 minutes, 1 hour for marinating
(Makes 4-6 kebobs)

Instead of salmon chunks, you can try chicken breast, beef, tempeh, or tofu. Directions are for broiling but these are yummy grilled too. For fun, use rosemary stems instead of wooden skewers.


6 wooden skewers

1- 1 ½ pounds salmon fillet



¼ cup thawed orange juice concentrate

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons tamari

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 


Yogurt Cucumber Dip:

1 small or ½ large cucumber

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley



  1. Soak skewers in water. Cut salmon into 1-inch strips. Take skin off of each strip and then cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a shallow dish.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a small saucepan. Warm just enough to incorporate honey. Pour over salmon pieces. Let salmon marinate about an hour, turning occasionally.
  3. Peel, seed and grate cucumber. Place in a small bowl with salt and set aside. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and parsley, set aside.
  4. When salmon is well marinated, preheat oven to broil. Put 4 chunks on each skewer. Place in baking dish in oven. Broil about 3-4 minutes, turn skewers and broil another 3-4 minutes. Place the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan and reduce over low heat until thickened.
  5. Squeeze grated cucumber to discard excess water and blend into yogurt mix. Place some dip in a small bowl for each diner. Dress kabobs with reduced marinade and serve next to a small bowl of the yogurt dip.

FOR BABIES 10 MONTHS & OLDER: These kabobs are delicious served with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. Smush some of the potatoes with a teaspoon of plain yogurt.


Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple, Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative's newsletter on health and wellness, and for her own blog Girl Detective. Her last post for us was "Feeding the Family: One-Pot Weeknight Meal to Welcome Spring."