Those are two words you don’t commonly associate with food, especially in today’s on-the-go society. We are too busy to stop and appreciate food or respect where it came from and how it got to our table. When we would have time to think about all that? Recently I watched two movies, “Ratatouille” and “Julie & Julia,” and the common theme in these two movies was exactly that – appreciation and respect for food – learning how to view food as an art, rather than a burden or something to just “get over with” as soon as possible. I was pleasantly reminded of the art of food and the love of cooking, and am inspired now to get out the cookbooks, clip some fresh herbs from my garden, and put together a masterpiece for dinner. Of course, the summer heat certainly puts a damper on baking, so it will have to be quick and fresh with minimal heat.
For me, to have an appreciation and respect for food was at one time, inconceivable. I battled an eating disorder for seven years and you can be sure that these words certainly didn’t go through my head when thinking about food. To me, food was something I could control and manipulate. It was also something I had no respect for, because in my mind, it had no respect for me – it just made me fat or weak. “Appreciation and respect” for food was a ridiculous thought. Years abroad led me to observe other cultures’ approaches to food and I found wherever I was – France, Spain or Italy for example – that food was central to social activity, culture and family. And not in a way that made people overeat or obese; but in a way that demanded a subtle but understood respect in planning, preparation, execution and eating.
I came to love this perspective on food and was determined to adopt it myself. With much challenge, I can say that today I proudly stand in my kitchen, excited about what’s for dinner, and eager to start chopping a rainbow of vegetables. Tonight’s menu: Chicken & Vegetable Stir-fry with Brown Rice. Tomorrow: Fresh Summer Fettuccini with Tomato & Basil. Next: Spinach Risotto with Artichoke and Mushroom. Last: Salmon with Watercress Pesto.
Can’t wait! What are you cooking for dinner?
And if you haven’t seen these movies yet – check them out. Let me know what you think and how/if they affect the way you think about food. … And once the weather cools, you can bet I will be making Ratatouille!