I think about food a lot. I eat a lot, fantasize about what I could make, fantasize about what I might be able to get other people to make for me, I think about shopping lists and recipes and environmental contaminants and ecological and ethical consequences about food, I think about nutrition, and I think about how I’m hungry just about now.
I love food. And even more than that, I love buying, preparing, eating, sharing food I can be proud of.
This isn’t always easy. If Pizza Hut or Chili’s, for example, are on offer, I’m nearly certain to accept. That doesn’t come up too terribly often here (thankfully) since there is only one Chili’s in all of Portugal, and Pizza Hut seems to appear just around big shopping centers and certainly not in my town. The other week, we were running errands, and My Man suggested Pizza Hut to soothe my hungrygrumpy soul… I accepted. During the meal I started to feel guilty about spending unnecessary money and eating gross (but tasty) food and wondering if we do that too much…Then I remembered that the other time we at at Pizza Hut was about 10+ months ago. So, you know. Once a year, give or take, isn’t too bad.
But food I can be proud of is awesome stuff. Like the fruit and veggies and cheeses and olives we get at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and Sundays, just across the street from our apartment. And the happy, newly opened organic farm with a fruit and veggie stand open on the weekends. Plus, they have amazing bread. And their pimentos padrón are frequently super-hot, which is a real treat. And they are organic, and local, so yay.
We also discovered a sneaky gem at the Feira da Ladra last weekend. The Centro das Artes Culinárias (check out the website!) has a lovely market in which they sell traditional foods– cheeses, wines, artesanal beer, condiments, etc. done the Portuguese traditional way…my take is that they are sort of a Slow Food organization that tries to maintain the knowledge of traditional food preparation, the quality of our foods, and to share the knowledge with others. It’s like a small Portuguese food museum. I got some really delicious peanut butter there. The ingredients? Toasted peanuts and flor de sal. That’s it.
I’ve also been working (slowly) on a new variation of cookies– Indulgent Mamas, I like to call them. It’s a simple thing to occupy one’s time, yes, but I enjoy it. You can safely eat the cookie dough (no eggs!). There’s nothing that’s gonna kill yo’ baby if you are pregnant and making and eating them. In fact, the ingredients are pretty nourishing. You can let your kids lick the spoon. You can lick the bowl. Good times.
And then, enter Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. It’s a great read, if you’re late to the party like I am and haven’t read it yet. His sources are sound, his logic simple and clear, and the ideas are probably what you’ve been thinking mixed with some other things that might make your brain explode. It’s worth reading. I want to find a copy in Portuguese, force my husband to read it, and then to have him force his father to read it. (I’m hoping for more organic gardening in the homeland so Grandissimo gets even better fruits and veg from the Portuguese family 😉 )
Michael Pollan, as I said, uses sound sources. This means that the book drives a gal to more online research and reading. His website has good resources to start from. Of course, if you are reading Pollan, you need to jump back into the world of Marion Nestle. Get on into her website and work, and don’t expect to resurface for a while.
All of this, of course, drives me to be more mindful of my food choices and shopping choices and of how I and my loved ones eat, in general. Not that I’m not fairly mindful, but still. It brings it back to the surface.
And now Grandíssimo is awake after his extensive 10 minute nap, so I’ll be going 🙂