Food … what a fascinating topic
Food. It is the foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs along with water and sleep. We think about food, talk about it, obsess over it, crave it, and avoid it. An entire television network is dedicated to nothing but food programming. We are inundated in every form of media with food advertising. Food permeates every aspect of our lives. The same foods that are loved by some are hated by others. Food is primitive and it is modern. It is romantic and it is sensuous. Wars have been fought and lives lost over it. We spend countless dollars and hours procuring, growing, preparing, serving, and cleaning up after it. Food has the power to divide us, and it has the power to bring us together.
Food is beauty
Food is not sustenance alone. Food is art, science, and economics. It is, at the same time, both complex and incredibly simple. Think about a crisp, tart apple or a slice of just-picked tomato from the garden, still warm from the sun with a dash of sea salt and a twist of fresh black pepper from the grinder—or the flavor of a ripe, juicy peach that demands you to stand over the sink to eat it. All the while, it’s sweet, golden juices drip from your elbow—sublime. Consider the complexity of a beautiful, handcrafted soufflé that has a mysterious, tenuous structure, yet you’re reminded of it’s exceedingly light and delicate nature as it melts on your tongue.
It’s fascinating how ingredients are subtly and dramatically transformed in the presence of the most simple things like, the edge of a blade, the kiss of a flame or time spent lingering in hot air or a flavorful liquid. Size, texture, flavor, color, and aroma all respond to the application of these tools and basic elements. All of these tools and elements are in common anywhere in the world that food is prepared. But then, ponder the diversity found in the approach and application of these elements based on where in the world you happen to be.
Food is local
Roam the streets of your town and take in the diversity of foods available to you in restaurants and on the shelves of the local grocer. Look a little closer and you’ll see products grown or produced in your town, region, and state. What an incredible wealth of local foods we have available to us! I live in Chelan, WA, where in their season, the vines are laden with grapes, the fruit trees are heavy with every variety imaginable of cherries, apples, peaches, pears, plums, and pluots, and farms and gardens big and small, yield their delectable bounty. We don’t have to wander far to find some of the finest ingredients available on the planet. They’re right here in our backyards!
Food is personal and uniting
One of the reasons I chose cooking as a career is because I love the responses from the people I’m serving. What a joy it is to set a plate of well-prepared food, made from the freshest ingredients available, in front of an eager recipient and observe how they respond! Involving family and friends in the experience of creating and sharing moments around life sustaining food is so worth the effort. Food, hospitality, and generosity all go hand in hand. It should be shared with those we love, this bounty that is ours to enjoy.
Food preparation is so worth the effort
The next time the pangs of hunger nudge you to eat, I hope you will be inspired to look beyond your established meal routines and food choices. Look past what is easily within reach or what can be popped into the microwave. Consider taking this business of food and eating more seriously. Explore foods at the peak of their flavor and quality like you would a fine glass of wine. Carve out a bit more time to slice, dice, sauté, braise, bake, broil, fry, poach, and roast. Reintroduce yourself to the world of food you have forgotten or have never experienced. Get back in the kitchen and think of it as a culinary adventure!
Food is adventure
Here’s a culinary adventure for you. Grab your significant other, your kids, a date, your mom, whoever—just grab them and go find some wild asparagus. It’s local and growing right here in central Washington.
Take those delicious, emerald-green beauties back to your kitchen and try this simple recipe that showcases the seasonal treasure that will only be around for a few weeks!
If you decide to take me up on this culinary adventure, I’d love to hear how it goes! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life is too short to eat poorly, so go on a culinary adventure. Pasta la vista!
Quick Cooked Asparagus with Truffle Salt
A Bunch of Fresh, Local Asparagus
- Put a big pot of water on to boil
- Snap or slice off the tough, woody section of each spear
- Add the asparagus to rapidly boiling water and simmer for 2 minutes
- Drain in a colander
- Splash with a little cool water, just to slow the cooking process a bit, but not to make them cold
- Sprinkle evenly with truffle salt and eat them immediately, with your fingers just like French fries!
(By Kent Getzin, CheffyK and CA, LLC)