January 6, 2010
Warning: Here at Merit to the Carrot, I like to keep my writing short, sweet, and to the point (with a nice little addition of wit and sarcasm). However, this post is a little different. I hope it doesn’t scare anyone off, but I’d just like to go into a little detail about something I discovered…
I feel as if I have been living a lie. Perhaps I am flirting with a hyperbolic line by saying “living a lie”, but it sets up the discussion. I have regarded myself as a foodie for some time now; however, I have failed to fully grasp the meaning and depth behind that label. I suppose I can relate my struggle to that of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, in which the main character, good ol’ American Edna, struggles to find herself within the crazy Creole world of New Orleans, bustling with the candid French. Her character has a strong proclivity for the propriety of the Victorian way of life, therefore leaving her new and naive to the life she has taken on by marrying a Creole, where sex, child birth, and adultery are openly discussed and taken lightly. Edna slowly but surely begins to suppress her fears of emotion, spontaneity, and candor to achieve an awakening: an awakening of the senses, whetting her appreciation for life and all it has to offer. With that said, I present to you my gastronomical awakening.
I like food, I like to cook it, I like to eat it… but I also spend a lot of time worrying about it. Nutritional concerns, of course. Now, there’s no harm in that, because I am a firm believer in a well balanced, nutritious diet, but I find myself missing out on the joy of cooking… with real butter, with artisan cheeses & bread (non-whole wheat), with olives, with pesto, with creme fraiche… all in moderation. MODERATION. Duh, Sam! I’d like to think back to my time in Paris, where slim, French women de mode won my adoration with their impossibly natural beauty and impeccable taste, in both fashion and food. In France, I didn’t see Special K posters in the metro boasting a bowl of ‘delicious’ cereal, containing only 100 calories, nor did I see bananas with possibly the most offensive, ridiculous sticker I am yet to see on a piece of produce. Or anywhere for that matter.
Okay… have I been asleep my whole life, or has America truly gone crazy?
For breakfast, baguettes, crepes, and croissants are consumed with an accomplice of coffee, sweetened with sugar. Heaven forbid. I used the word accomplice specifically for its connotation to crime. In the good ol’ US of A, many would frown upon this seemingly ‘bad’ combination of carbs & sugar passing for breakfast. But you know what? It tastes good, and the French do live longer lives. Coincident? I think not. The fact of the matter is, REAL food is GOOD. I’m not saying in any way, shape, or form that a carnivorous, cheese filled, vegetarian, vegan, or raw diet does not consist of ‘real’ food, I’m just saying that, personally, I’ve been blind. I have avoided true culinary delights, looking at them through a microscope as if they were bacteria, breaking down its organic makeup and origin. Thank goodness for Science, for it has proven that there are both good and bad bacteria. Just like gastronomy. There are both the good and the bad. To have fresh fire roasted tomato Bruschetta or chicken liver pate atop my crunchy artisan bread? It’s all a matter of taste, and I’ve realized that maybe MY taste would like to be further awakened. (Don’t worry, I’m not saying I’m going to go run off an whip me up a batch of liver pate).. I’d just like to be more adventurous with my cooking, creating new flavors and incorporating ingredients that I’m not used to. What’s truly important to me is that it’s fresh, wholesome, and the ingredients are not processed in a huge factory with additions of anything from the periodic table of elements. I still think of myself as clever in the kitchen, but I’ve realized that I’m bouncing around in a bubble, going from side to side without breaking through and discovering something truly magnificent. I’d like to see a little less couscous & veggies and a little more Parmesan, parsley & pistachio flat bread pizzas coming out of my kitchen. I love the way I eat, I’d just like to open my eyes and truly see all that the incredible gourmet world has to offer.
I want to be the one people ask for a fantastic pasta (which will still remain whole wheat 😉 ) recipe. I want to be thought of as friends and family scan menus at great restaurants, where they’d say “Oh, I bet Sam would LOVE this!” and it won’t just be a salad. I want to be like Julia Child, James Beard, Craig Clairborne… all of the shapers and shakers of our country’s food revolution!
But of course, I still want to be me. Just with a wider dietary dictionary and an even greater love for food.
If you made it through all of that and managed to connect the dots of my crazy point, you deserve to win my giveaway. Last couple of hours to enter!
Now I leave you with a picture, and of course, a few words to describe it.
Mediterranean Chickpeas & Spinach atop spinach and orzo, garnished with a drizzle of mint yogurt sauce.
Oh, and please please please check out my bestest friend’s new blog!