I don't get sick, I don't get headaches, I rarely get food poisoning (I think maybe 3 times in the past dozen years, and all from eating out.) I have bested every other girl in our office in arm wrestling, I have an incredibly high energy level. I know that if I were to have to, just to pick something, walk to Missouri, I would have the reserves to pull it off.
My problems come from portion size, not what I’m eating. Ask Tiff-fay-fay. (We are in a good-natured tug-of-war over what we each of us will eat and what we will feed our children: She is quite proud that she gave my son his first french fry, his first “fruit” snack, and his first cheet-o. I got her kid to eat a green bean once.) I believe in eating healthy, REAL foods.
I believe in whole eggs, cream, and plain yogurt. I believe in making cakes and cookies from scratch. I believe in unbleached flour and grinding your own wheat. I believe in lard in my refried beans and pie crusts. I believe that buttercream should have BUTTER.
I believe in buying organic, or at least local. An apple tastes better the closer it grew to you. The imitation of strawberries sold in stores can’t compare to the thumbnail-sized warm beauty from the garden. Unless corn is put into a stockpot within 48 hours, it loses its sweetness. Don’t eat a pea from a pod unless you know its provenance. It’s no wonder so many people hate tomatoes when all they can buy are the red-cotton varieties from the national chains. I don’t believe in putting a tomato in a fridge.
“In season” should be a mantra, just because you can get an orange in July doesn’t mean you should eat it, same with strawberries in December. Produce stands by the side of the road should be a regular stop.
I believe in the avocados that were picked from a friend’s tree in Texas and driven on the high dusty roads without stopping, to my table within 24 hours. Guacamole should consist of: lime, tomato, onion, kosher salt, a dash of pepper sauce and/or freshly minced jalapeno. I do not believe in sour cream in guacamole.
The best cantaloupe I ever had was in Hermosillo, Mexico, a hop, skip, and a jump from the melon fields. It was so intense, sweet, and flavorful; I have never again eaten its equal. That was also where I ate my first homemade tortilla. I can still recall the flattened dough, made by hand everyday, cooked on the stovetop flame. Little crusty bits and a flaky, chewy texture.
A good dark brown bread beats a fluffy white. Baguettes are an exception. They must be crusty and consumed the day they were baked or they are no good. Croissants in plastic containers are an abomination. A soft croissant is disgusting. Bread in plastic bags is a CRIME.
My enemies are varied. High-fructose corn syrup is evil and it is in everything. It must be avoided at all costs. Red number 40, Blue Lake 50, Yellow number 5, with all their cousins and colleagues, are pollutants. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone has been outlawed in other countries, but continues to be used in our milk supply. Antibiotics given as a 'precaution' to our animals is harming us. Pesticides are scary.
I believe in pastuerized milks and raw cheeses. My grandfather was a dairy man. He warned us to never drink raw milk, I believe him. I think cheeses should taste like something, not like rubber. If your cheese has a coloring in it, look elsewhere. Make sure you buy organic if at all possible.
Make friends with your butcher or your fish monger. DO NOT BUY PRE-COOKED SHRIMP. If you can’t smell your fish before buying it, don’t buy it. Your fish shouldn’t smell ‘fishy,’ it should smell of the ocean. If your mussels or clams don’t close when you tap them, don’t buy them. If you can, buy straight from local fishermen. Where is your meat from? How was it raised?
Food in boxes is tricky, sauces in jars, too. Food in cans can be fine (tomatoes being the best example) and frozen foods are the best alternative to buying locally. Easy-Mac is terrifying. I am fine with my co-workers eating it, but it is so highly processed I can’t eat it without gagging. At least I know I could use it to find my way out of the building in a power outage. Processed foods are frightening. They have taken everything that is good, wholesome, nourishing, and removed it on behalf of shelf-life. Trans-fats are lab created fats that ruin your body.
I am Spanish, so I also believe in strange foods. Bacalao, the cod preserved in salt, is delicious heaven. Olives stuffed with anchovies, a treat. I believe in grilled sardines, Jamon Serrano, octopi over rice, and paella in the summer, sopa caldo in the winter. I believe in blood sausage, eating chicken hearts, turkey necks, and beef cheeks. If an animal lays down its life for us, it should be treated with respect and we should discard as little as possible. When I am done with them, chicken bones are DRY. I think the best tortillas are made from potatoes and eggs. Employ olive oil and saffron. The best ingredients in the world should be used everyday for your friends and family.
I have never met a healthy vegan. Every vegan I have ever met seemed to have a constant nasal drip, succumbing to colds, flus, allergens, etc., at far higher rates than their peers. Every vegan I have known has had weird hair and pasty skin. I do not believe in being a vegan. I believe in eating meat sparingly: being a vegetarian is fine by me. But please, eat the honey, use butter sometimes; it’s OK to have some yogurt.
The best foods in the world have simple, fresh ingredients. That is the secret to cooking. All things found in nature are here to fulfill the measure of their creation. Revere them, use them, and respect them. Listen to your body and soul, what you take in affects them both.
I believe in being balanced and I believe in eating REAL FOOD.