I suppose the acronym FLOSS can be used to describe my thoughts on food. I suppose I could also be labeled as energetic and sleep-deprived, frazzled and bossy, presbyopic and middle-aged, but why…why must we label everything?
I can’t think of a greater need as a human being than to eat. Okay, well, maybe drink. And considering that it is something we all, every single one of us on this little rock, must do every day, there is a lot of energy going into thinking about food inside our comfy atmosphere.
Considering that I seem to have this fetish to make food, photograph it, and then, stick it up on the world wide web for potentially everyone in the whole wide world to see…well, I believe I’m using up double energy thinking about food and here’s what I have come to believe.
The three square meals, the nutritionally-balanced plate, the food pyramid….toss ‘em.
Let me get right to the point….don’t ask yourself, “In this one meal, did I eat a nutritionally-balanced meal abiding by the guidelines dictated by the food pyramid and my calorie-counter?”
No, ask yourself, “In the course of one year, did I eat everything that was in season in its proper time and place?”
“Did I eat kale, apples, walnuts and crab in winter? Was it asparagus, chives, strawberries and lamb in the spring? Tomatoes and cucumbers, salmon and chicken for summer? And in the fall, did I eat peppers and corn, hazelnuts and turkey?”
No, I haven’t conducted any scientific studies to back this up. No, I am not a trained nutritionist, but…it simply makes sense. We’ve taken this very basic human need…to eat…and complicated it beyond recognition. For thousands of years, people ate according to the seasons and the rhythms of nature. Not until the middle of the 20th century, when we sent food into the factories to be processed, did this change. And now look, we’re in quite a pickle with our health.
I’m not suggesting we all become strict locavores…goodness knows I’m not. I drink tea and coffee…daily. I eat bananas and mangoes which clearly do not grow in Oregon. It is difficult for me not to buy lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes in the off-season. But I try. I challenge myself to eat what’s in-season. To feed my family based on a yearly seasonal calendar. And I encourage you to try as well. Or at least to give some thought to what I’m saying.
I’ll admit that right now, early spring in the northwest, it’s tough. There isn’t much in-season that I’m excited about. I’m still relying on meals made from canned goods. But maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe that’s what I should be eating right now.
Fortunately, local farmers markets are starting to open for the season. I encourage you to find one near you. Just go and observe. Don’t feel pressured to buy something. Simply use your walk through the market as a guide to what’s in-season. Create your own food pyramid. A yearly one.
And then, you too, may be labeled as FLOSS – fresh, local, organic, seasonal, sustainable. Ah, but who needs labels? They just complicate things. Simply use the seasons as a guide to eating because it makes sense.
Phew….I’m glad I got that off my chest.
What do you think? A balanced meal or a balanced year?
|Chicken Sausages with Tomatoes and Shallot||
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 5 chicken sausages, uncooked, any flavor
- 3 large shallot sections, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves sliced lengthwise
- 2 Bay leaves
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can white beans (cannellini, garbanzo, etc.) drained and rinsed
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot such as a Le Creuset over medium heat.
- Melt and heat your butter and olive oil.
- Add in your sausages and brown about 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Sprinkle in your shallots and using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently press them down to where they can cook in the oil and butter for about 3 minutes.
- Add your garlic and do the same as with the shallots for about 1 minute.
- Add your spices: salt & pepper, Bay leaf and thyme.
- Pour tomatoes and all of their juices over the top of the whole thing.
- Take the pot off the burner and put the whole thing in the oven with the lid off.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Stir in your white beans.
- Bake for another 10 minutes. Check your sausages for doneness.
- Spoon over the top of brown rice.