Something I feel like I've known most of my adult life is that eating fresh food from your own garden is simply the best. Unfortunately, that's not how I have lived my life. Convenience, poor habits and temptation have been key factors in my developing unhealthy eating habits. I also believe what others, and myself, have believed to be "good food" has been a misnomer. When I was very young, I thought eating a whole bowl of artificial whipped cream was "eating good", at least until my mother gave me the opportunity to sit down and have the whole bowl to myself. Suffice to say, my concept of "all the whipped cream I could eat" was no longer on my list of "good foods to eat". Personal food culture, which can involve alot of different factors, including our emmotions, usually dictates what our eating habits and good food concepts are going to be. I posted a good 'common sense' article link today that I think gives a down-to-earth assesment of common sense eating.
Something that tastes good! But, really, "good" is not one of the specific taste sensors that we have to determine if something "tastes good". So, what do we have to work with? Chef Roland has told me that people "eat with their eyes first" and that's why presentation is so important. However, I thought it would be fun just to offer a little science lesson about our 'tasters' and how they work for us. I took the link from Wikipedia and if you don't like the information there, try putting in a search yourself for "how do we taste" or something similar. You'll get a whole host of links to choose from. It's amazing how many 'taste' there are that I just wasn't aware of there being. If you have children, or just want to entertain yourself, you might go through your frig and cupboards and conduct your own little bit of research and see how many items you can catagorize.
I soooooooooo apologize for neglecting our blog for so long. Life just keeps getting in the way of things I want and need to get done. That's my excuse....it's the best I have.
I just came across this clip and, SERIOUSLY, it tells the story of WHY France is so well known for their fine cuisine and their outstanding reputation in Food Culture.
We actually visited one of these schools that has a similar program in a small community and it was incredible how the program is managed and the food presented. It takes school lunches and school cafeteria workers to a whole new level!!
Enjoy! Bon Apetit!
What is the condition that is referred to as "Food Insecurity"? After reading over the following article, I recognized myself, standing in the grocery store isle like a "deer in the headlights!". When you start "reading the box", you wonder, "does any of this make sense to me?" What is healthy, good food?? There are alot of voices in my head and it's only since I've begun my own personal quest to answer my own food questions has the fog begun to lift a little.
I have to say "thank you" to my dear husband, Roland, as his persistance and example has helped me to begin to open my eyes to understand the very real importance of my relationship with food and what I eat.
So, how does a person get to a point where they know that the food that they and their family consumes is, in fact, good, healthy food?
I think the two articles following raise some interesting questions and will give our minds "something to munch on".
How much should we salt?
It's a given, our bodies NEED salt and it's definately a key ingredient that can make or break the taste of a dish. I've actually seen a friend just tip the shaker upside down and let it pour over the food. Whew! It was scary, not only regarding what was happening to the taste of the dish but what was possibly happening to the inside of that person's body!
When going over the literature regarding the salting of food, there seems to be a broad misunderstanding of people's needs versus eating habits, and personal eating habits, even poor ones, tend to win out.
Here's an article that gives a very good, over-arching idea of what salting food is all about. There does still seem to be quite alot of research that is needed on the subject.
Found another good one!
A few months ago, Chef Roland and I took 13 other people associated with Mississippi State University on our culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry in the Central region of France. It was a wonderful experience in the French countryside where we spent a week on a country farm that had converted its buildings into cottages. These types of enteprises are called gites in France and they are always nestled in rural areas near to quaint little towns and villages. Ours was near to Sarzay where we had the opportunity to explore medieval ruins of Chateau Sarzay. I, personally, love it there!
As we spent each day visiting various communities experiencing the local markets, cafes, and restaurants, we all had new food experiences of tastes that were not part of our normal eating at home in the States. Some of us enjoyed the French cuisine more than others. Some, in our group, discovered their love of new tastes that they had never tried before. It was definately a different food culture than what was the norm of our own personal food choices.
As someone who has basically grown up with a typical American repertoire of food experiences,I see now how limited I am in understanding what tasting food is really about. Curious, I began to look up articles on "training the palate", wondering if anyone else was thinking about this subject. I was suprised to find quite a bit on the subject and was interested to learn that, in fact, we are born with a mouthful of tastebuds that have a very wide spectrum of tasting abilities. One article that I read discussed the fact that we can even diminish or "lose" our ability to taste depending on how we eat. Our personal food culture, the types of food and the preparation techniques we use, can greatly influence what it is that we want to eat and what kinds of food we will most seek out. If that's true, by eating the same thing most of the time, we can greatly limit our palate, our ability to taste and to enjoy a greater diversity of food. We can even lose our ability to enjoy real food, preferring an artificial product over natural food. Recently, at the Food Camp held at Mississippi State University, I saw that demonstrated when children voted their preference to be artificial lemonade over real, fresh squeezed lemonade. When asked why they preferred the artificial over the real, they said the artificial was more yellow and sweeter and that's what they liked.
From what I understand, an execptional palate is the ability to taste or detect a wide range of flavors, even very delicate, subtle ones. Just as artists are able to appreciate a broad range of colors to capture and appreciate the beauty of the world around them, developing a palate for fresh, delicious food becomes a significant key in our ability to discern the quality of the food we eat and our ability to appreciate what good food is truely about.
As I looked over various articles on the subject of training the palate, I came across one that really helps to clarify the different cultural attitudes regarding tasting food and the importance of developing that ability in young children through education. I encourage everyone to read over the article, I found it most interesting:
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.