After turning the pages of the January issue of Bon Appetit and reading about their annual food cleanse, I became intrigued. Not because it promoted eating healthy and wholeful foods but because it offered something different-and I was drawn to that. I have been stuck in a rut for way too long and needed the boost.
My first food awakening was at the age of 25. I had enrolled in culinary school, taking it very seriously, learning everything I could because knowledge is power but most importantly I had learned to love vegetables. I came from a household where my leafy green was an iceberg lettuce and broccoli was steamed in the microwave from its previous frozen state and drenched in cheese.
The first class you must take in culinary school is a skills class. You are taught the importance of proper cookware, knife skills and cooking techniques. It was there, in that kitchen, when broccoli changed my whole perspective on vegetables; blanched, a quick shock in ice water and a light reheating tossed in olive oil, almonds and garlic. The color-vibrant, the texture-crisp but tender, the taste-layered and delicious and far from the steamed mush I knew from childhood. It opened a whole new world for me.
I also worked at a large specialty food store during this time. I was surrounded by gourmet and whole foods and foodies and they played integral parts in this awakening as well. It was a new exploration of food on a daily basis-an array of citrus during the winter, champagne grapes, Brussels sprouts sold on the stalk, and back then, a very rare treat of organic produce. I tasted chocolate truffles made in San Fran and French truffles dug from the earth and shaved thinly over a soup. There were different breads to try, from a buttery croissant to the unassuming spelt; soft goat cheeses, aged English cheddar with crunchy salt crystals dispersed throughout; French pate to Chinese vegan egg rolls made on sight by the vendor. This was a perk of my job but it also gave me that nudge to try new foods.
Somewhere along the way, I got off track and stuck in a rut. After reading the recipes in that January issue I saw opportunity to explore once again. I got excited. I sat down and wrote out the meal plan, I wrote every meal in my planner, I reviewed each and every one of the recipes given on the BA website-tweaking here an there, checked my pantry staples, wrote out the grocery list and finally, after days of planning, I went shopping. There was an actual thought for food in this plan-I actually had to sit and take time to think about what I was about to put into my body. Shouldn't this be the way we should think about our food all the time?
I am 35. I just had another food awakening-giving a thought to food. It took me ten years to get to this point. I am excited about the journey.
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