Food Is the New Politics...

(and last week ended with food, and so it begins again)

or so it has been said. I totally buy that argument, however. I feel like food has been consistently brought up in the conversations I've had over the last year or so, but very intensely this past weekend. What is your food philosophy? What food books are you reading/have you read/would you recommend? What have you been cooking lately? Where do you look to for ideas? Diet/Exercise balance and your thoughts on it... food. food. food.

I'm game. I like love food and am constantly evaluating my thoughts and practices with the stuff in my life. I began my cooking journey just before moving to Memphis... in that crazy phase of my life. There is something really therapeutic I've found in cooking; it's soothing, it feels good to do, and is (surprisingly or no) a sufficient creative outlet. Right in step with my journey into food preparation, I've simultaneously felt healthier both mentally and physically since delving into trying to make (at home, from scratch) as much of what I eat as possible (or that my skill level and patience can allow, I still have days, of course). Real food, whole foods, things that grow from the ground, with ingredients that are pronounceable and understandable. Not to mention: real butter, full fat, and so much cheeeeese! To me, "fat free" on the label = processed, synthetic, additives, etc--I just want fresh delicious food. To talk about and to share with others, a regular lifestyle where I'm not obligated to assign morality to my sustenance (good v. bad). I mean, CHEESE is invoved here....

So here are a few thoughts and go-to places of my own today...

After speaking with a dear friend, I was inadvertently asked the question, Where to Start? (I don't even have any spices...)

As I am still a kitchen novice I'm probably not the one to go to, but in my recent experiences I would say:
{1} Buy things as needed. When I first started cooking I had a few spices, right, things like dried basil, thyme, and rosemary. I thought these were practical spices and that I would have the basics to make most things getting started... So it turns out I don't particularly love Italian food and I vastly prefer the three aforementioned spices of the fresh variety. Don't buy the "essential spice kit," you will end up with a pantry full of bottles of which you will have only cracked the freshness seal of half, if you're lucky. Take inventory of what you do have, but don't let it dictate what you cook. Find a recipe and buy as needed. You'll slowly acquire a few good spices/spice combinations and from there can build a pantry of relevance! (I can say pantry of relevance because 1. it struck me as hilarious and 2. no one has made it this far in the post...) My 2 most used spices? Cumin and Chili Powder. Its unreal how much cumin I can go through.

{2} Use fresh ground pepper. It makes a difference. And always use fresh garlic. It makes a difference. And, if we're really getting down to it, use fresh every time possible--it's so worth it.

{3} Always have good extra-virgin olive oil and at least one good vinegar stocked. For vinegar I would suggest: balsamic, red or white wine--these will give you the most options.

{4} Invest in: a pot with a lid, a large frying pan (this too should probably have a lid) and a simple food processor (example). Nothing fancy on that last item, a small chop/grind model should do. It's amazing how the possibilities of what to make opened when I added this to my kitchen.

{5} One good, sharp, knife = the awesome. I am still completely smitten with mine.

So where can you go to see what kinds of delicious things you could make?

One of my friends from dance let me borrow this cookbook for a few days and I'm ordering my own copy ASAP. I really enjoyed her thoughts on food/food philosophy, the inclusion of baby in each home cooked meal (although I have no plans to procreate in the foreseeable future), clear and concise run-downs of basic staple beans and grains and how to prepare them, fresh and simple recipes, AND, most importantly, when I gave it a test run (Curried Cauliflower and Lentils over Basmati Rice with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce) it absolutely delivered!

In Blogland (which is similar to "Big World" in Super Mario Brothers), I've been turning to:

Speaking of Pioneer Woman, I have her cookbook (my mom sent it to me shortly after the big move) and I have yet to make one things from her archives online or in the book that hasn't been fantastic. Maybe I just love her cowboy food? I am from Utah after all. Please make a note of her India Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani), and those effing tasty Cinnamon Rolls that don't require any special equipment or kneeding, and her Tequila Lime Marinade is perfect... fantastic foodstuffs.

Well, okay. That's it for now.




1 comment:

Rachel Swan said...

pantry of relevance? ha! you're a genius.

i'm pretty food obsessed, good food obsessed, that is. I love the entire process; the planning, the shopping for good ingredients, the preparation, and finally sharing my meals with people i love. it's so simple + commonplace, and yet such a powerful ritual.