|there are a few simple rules that guide my cooking|
1. Eat what won’t kill you/put you into digestive coma.
2. It’s all about the ingredients. Use the freshest possible.
3. Never use any processed foods, chemicals, or high-fructose corn syrup.
4. Don’t be scared to experiment. (Unless you’re cooking for a lover or their parents for the first time. Tried and true might be a safe bet for this occasion!)
Give me a few years ago, and I would have claimed to be a Francophile. I can’t quite claim that anymore, as that would indicate a certain separation from a culture that I am currently living in and enjoy intimately. …and I also now have to deal with French bureaucracy on a daily basis, which easily eliminates any Francophilia.
I’ve realized I am what is referred to here as a “gourmande”, which most simply indicates someone who loves food and who finds an incredible pleasure in eating to the point of it being difficult to resist anything delicious. I am also what I refer to as a “Bubble Child”, which means there are a number of ingredients surpassing my number of fingers and toes that will actually kill me if I ingest them.
photo: Julian Walter Photography
Given that there are many “gourmands” in France, it brings a few inquiries about the French and their dietary habits:
1. How does their food taste so good?
2. How does their food taste so rich?
3. That being said, how are they not all morbidly obese?
Answer? It’s because they follow the above philosophy: it’s all about the ingredients. And savoring said ingredients. And technique.
Our bodies do not know how to process artificial things as well as it knows how to process natural ingredients. We also process cooked foods more easily than raw foods. Also, certain bodies cannot handle certain ingredients and proteins like other bodies can, which is where the world of intolerance and allergies enter in. This strict attention to the quality of their ingredients has created not only the renowned taste that is French food, but also the fact that they have less food allergies and their food is easier to digest.
What’s more is that they truly savor food. If you make something that is tantalizing, you simply do not want to rush through it. That is why I aim to give all of my dishes some complexity to them within the simplicity of the ingredients– they are not meant to be binge eaten, because they have different notes that you want to feel mixing together in your mouth.
Know thyself. You know what turns you on with taste and with food and what is absolutely abhorrent to you. If you don’t, experiment! What’s more, and more important for the intent and purpose of this blog, is to know what affects your body in a negative way; what your body can and cannot tolerate ingredients-wise.
It actually took me a surprisingly long time to figure out that I did, in fact, have an intolerance to gluten. My entire life I had experienced stomach pains and would get bloated after eating even the tiniest meal. My digestive system was incredibly weak, and I knew that if I were to enjoy the taste of a normal meal, my energy and the way my pants would button for a few hours following the meal would suffer. I went to a gastrointestinal doctor, who advised that I probably had a sensitivity to gluten. I did not buy it. Or, at least, I did not want to.
Because for me, an allergy is something that could kill you, something that was like the Brazil Nut that almost took my life when I was 10. Not something that made my face and stomach simply swell. Turns out, allergies come in all different shapes and sizes, and it was only after eliminating gluten (not carbs) that I started to feel exponentially better.
So, listen to your body’s signs, and love the food you eat. Food is nourishment and health, and strongly affects the way that you feel. That’s why it is important to know what your body can and cannot handle, and then have fun with it!