Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Friday, August 15, 2014


Sometimes it's all in the title. The PDF of the book is free and the recipes are on the cheap. Some people are very kind. Get your copy here and maybe donate. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Roxana Bashyrova/Shutterstock

No one has anything bad to say about the almond. It's high in protein, vitamins, and the fats that are good for you.  I probably have some in my mouth right now. Almonds are good = eat almonds. Unfortunately, as someone who lives in California, almonds also happen to be sucking my state dry of water, and this at a time when California is in drought. 

I've always appreciated people who can see life on a grander scale, people who can plan and execute a seven book series*, people who can read the patterns in the earth. I suffer from nutrition myopia where food is concerned, that is to say, I cannot see beyond eating based on my own health. And that's pretty much it. 

However, I remember coming across an article from 2012 (don't ask) featuring James Beard Award-winning Chef Dan Barber, owner of the Blue Hill Restaurant in New York, and a resident locavore. If you are looking for someone able to see food on a grander scale, he may be one to follow. 

Now, here's Barber in own words. Note, he's not a punch-puller:
"I'd like some to explain the phenomenon of the self-righteous vegetarian to me. I'm not here to say I don't eat vegetables—I do, a lot of them—but, from a soil perspective, they're actually more costly than a cow grazing on grass. Vegetables deplete soil. They're extractive. If soil has a bank account, vegetables make the largest withdrawals. So without animal manure, where are you going to get your soil fertility for all those vegetables in an organic system? You are, by some measures, forcing crops into a kind of imbalance. 

Butchering and eating animals may not be called kindness, but eating soy burgers that rely on pesticides and fertilizers precipitates destruction too. You don't have to eat meat, but you should have the good judgment to relinquish the high horse. There is no such thing as guilt-free eating.  

What's the definition of a healthy diet, the kind you can actually feel a little smug about? There isn't one answer, of course, because it depends on where you live and what time of year it is. 

Good diets, like great cuisines, are filled with diversity—grains, vegetables and a smattering of meat (not big 12-ounce sirloins, but utilizing every part of the animal). The proportions vary depending on the region and the climate. But modern agriculture separates animals and vegetables and grains; we've broken apart the system, which means we've broken the nutrient cycle. So now you need to import your nutrients in cheap chemical form rather than using manure. We've allowed dinner to become less diverse, less nutritious and a lot less flavorful." 

"True sustainability is about more than just deciding to cook with local ingredients or not allowing your child to have corn syrup. It's about cuisine that's evolved out of what the land is telling you it wants to grow. As one farmer said to me, Food systems don't last; cuisine does."
From the Wall Street Journal.

*Cheers to you, Game of Thrones author George RR Martin, and please don't die before completing the series.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I've been thinking about food a bit lately.  Why?  I don't know, sometimes ideas simmer for a while, putting themselves together in your mind, and then when they're ready, they pop into your consciousness, seeming to come out of nowhere. 

I have to eat every day (This should not be a surprise.  I assume this is universal, yes?), but cooking and shopping for food and planning for it is always such a burden.  Sometimes, I eat something (borderline healthy) just to get the hunger over with so I can move on to more important things, you know, like browsing the web.  I knew a single mom who made sure her daughter ate well, and then put a bunch of vegetables in a blender for herself because she was too tired.  It's a similar mentality - just get it over with - but it's something that I would like to change, for the simple reason that since this is something that has to be done daily (I am referring to cooking and eating) - as in - there is no reason why is has to be perceived as a burden. 

Whenever I hear the word "holistic," I think about thinking of the body as a whole organism, and not a series of individual symptoms.  Like a nagging pain in your foot may be caused by damaged nerve endings in your back, or it might be the result of psychological pain.  You do not just look at your foot when you have foot pain, you look at your entire body and psyche. 

How does this apply to food? have to stretch a little.  In relation to food, instead of seeing eating simply as a day to day activity, I can see it as an extension of a larger philosophy and build from there.  

What a philosophy can provide is structure to your thought process, a form of internal guidelines that you can use to order meals - it guides what cookbooks to buy, what recipes to try, what part of the grocery store to hang around, where you even want to buy your food.  The point is to narrow your focus instead of seeing your food options as an all you can eat buffet. I can't really speak to other people's philosophies - I am only one person, but here is some food for thought: 

  • Forks over Knives: a documentary that follows medical doctors that heal their patients by switching them to plant based diets. 
  • The China Study: an in depth study - that, yes, takes place in China because they have a large enough population to study - that makes a connection between what we eat and what afflicts us: namely heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc..  I haven't read it.  It's a tad long.  I read this cheat sheet instead. 
  • My own thoughts: I'm not against flavor and food that tastes amaaaaazing, but I'd rather save that particular good time for a restaurant, not for everyday meals. It leads to less salt, less sugar intake.  I will be the first to admit, this is great in theory and sucks in practice, especially the sugar part.  I struggle with the sugar part.  Especially foods that start with twix.
Secondly, how to apply the philosophy? Putting theory into practice is always the hard part.  Again, it's hard to think holistically.  You have to plan.  You have to shop for the week.  You have to plan the weeks meals and then shop accordingly.  My own thoughts on the matter are basically to keep things simple whenever possible (Can you smell a theme here?).
  • Really, really simple: It's like decorating a room, or an episode of iron chef - pick a hearty seasonal core ingredient for the week and find recipes around it.  For example: avocado during summer, squash during winter, etc. 
  • Professional subscription simple: Try The Fresh 20, which provides weekly recipes based on buying 20 ingredients a week.  Time spent trolling the web for recipes is time wasted.
  • Alternate meal plan subscription: The veggiemealmaker.
  • You have to plan for the worst.  There will be days I fall off the wagon, and I've been watching infomercials, so I'm going to invest in a nutri-bullet.  You never know man, you never know.
  • There's also a China Study Cookbook.  I'll probably take a look at that as well. 
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