|Edible Aria - Sautéed Veal Tips with Cremini, Cipolline & Port Wine Demi-Glace|
Food. Such a simple thing. A thing which could be looked over as a mere necessity like bathing, hydrating or cleaning. Food is special though. It has an astounding capacity to bring pleasure. To ease suffering. To bring peace, and human connection. Food can heal. Cure. Rescue.
Food tells stories, holds histories, and defines cultures. It can intrigue and surprise. Disgust and disappoint. Food is passion, and our connection to it is both foundational and molding.
Take a peek at the internet, television, and magazines and you will see our obsession with it. We want to be 'healthy' but we also want our pleasure. We want it to be easy, but we also want it to be exciting, exotic, new. We expect food to fill a much bigger role than nourishment for survival.
How many of us have made suggestion after suggestion... Thai? Pizza? Mexican? Steak? No. No. No. No. We want something from our meal. We love all those things but tonight they do not provide.
We are seeking a momentary fulfillment in our food.
I have walked all extremes of obsession with food. I honor it and I abuse it. I have taken it for granted and I have deeply feared the loss of it. In the end, for me, I have been forced to consider food as something that will either hurt or heal me. I have lived with decades of painful disease and years of deep health, and fallen off the thin line between the two.
I am a part of American food culture. It is the inescapable framework for how I think about food. Ad so, I must find that magic spot of nourishing and healing my body while creating a sacred and fulfilling relationship with it. Tricky for most. Add to it a hard limit on funds and tolerated ingredients, picky paletted children, and seasonal availability, and you have and equations that seems that it will never resolve.
What is a person to do?
Here in America, a country and culture so young transitional by comparison, our food culture has yet to be nailed down. He have a history and belief in frugality and simplicity. We don't want to pay a lot or work hard for it. We have a love affair with other cultures and new flavors. We want our food to be an experience! But we have fallen prey to industry. Industry trying to make a buck on our desires. Providing food that is quick, filling, easy, and explosive in flavor, but is not food at all, but rather a 40 ingredient long list of chemicals and things derived from food, but are not actually food any more. Food that confuses our bodies. Leaves us hungry. Sick. Fighting against weight and fatigue. Unsatisfied and obsessed.
What is a person to do?
Learn. Learn about the food we eat. Start simple. There are blogs, books and movies dedicated to the exploration of food and food culture. Want food that is paleolithic in it's wholeness? There's a blog for that! Want food that is soulful in it's cultural history and comfort? There's a book for that!
Want to understand what a whole food is? There's a site for that! In this global age of information and availability there is no limit to the food culture of your home. You can order, from India, a spice so rare you've likely never heard of it, or find that something so common as corn can be exotic and completely different from all previous experiences. There are ancient grains, and heirloom vegetables. Wild meats and cultured specialties.
In food you can begin wherever you are and make a fulfilling hobby of your exploration, or you can follow a protocol for a new way of eating. You can change nothing and merely educate yourself on what you eat.
Here in our home it is a little bit of both, depending on how I feel. I have become bored. I have become overwhelmed. I have poured over recipe books and made nothing from them, and fallen in love with new cuisines that take over our kitchen for weeks or month. I have despaired over my limited budget and splurged on exotic meats. I have created art out of foods that heal and indulged in simple treats. But I have rules. Rules which are dictated by my values. I will not fund companies that pollute and poison. I will not consume things which take more than they give to my body, and I will not waste. I also will not make myself crazy. I do as much as I can and no more. I have recycled the same 6 recipes for weeks, and I have created 21 days menus where nothing is repeated. I have lived on leftovers and I have frozen them all. I will not make myself crazy because crazy always ends in defeat.
When I know what I value in food, I know where to look for answers, and in that spirit I would like to share with you some of my favorite food blogs.
Edible Aria - "Eat as if your life depends on it!" Because it does. This blog, created and run by my own father is a passionate exploration of simple and exotic foods guided by a deep belief in sustainability and cleanliness coexisting with beauty and and gourmet inspiration. Featured in Saveur, The Herb Companion, and more. Consistently featured on Austin's Top 10 Food Blogs. It's and education and an inspiration.
Kayotic Kitchen - Dutch food to warm your soul and stick to your ribs. Rarely straying from basic, whole ingredients and simple preparation these recipes speak deeply of savory richness and unique culture.
Katie At the Kitchen Door - this food uses whole food ingredients to create beautiful and culture crossing foods to inspire the senses without being hard on the pocketbook or back.
Jan's Sushi Bar - I have made sushi exactly once in my life and not from a recipe on this site. This is a beautiful collection of everyday, every pallet pleasing foods that heal. Devoid of sugars and most grains this is a diary of one woman's food love turned food education, and her search for health.
Cavewoman Cafe - Blogged by a life loving empty-nester, inspired by her son to try 'Paleo' food. She writes about health, healing and the food vehicle for it. Paleo being a diet free of grains, legumes, sugar and most dairy, it seeks to walk the line between modern flavors and ancient foods.
Seaonal & Savory - She says of herself, "I am an award-winning home cook with a focus on creating recipes that use seasonal produce in innovative and delicious ways. I consider myself a “flexitarian,” in that I eat a lot of vegetable-based meals, complimented with some meat-based recipes that utilize pastured meats or game. Seafood is a personal passion, so if you enjoy fish and shellfish you should check out my recipe database." She values whole, unprocessed foods with a focus on produce. Her recipes are beautiful and simple.
I am a collector of recipes. Though I rarely follow them they deeply inspire and educate my cooking. I collect many of them on Pinterest. You can find my food boards here:
For the love of food, and the gratitude of plenty, explore your food!