How Food Can Be My Religion

There are not many things I believe in as strongly as good food. I believe in, whenever possible, eating locally and organically. I believe in slow food, McDonald’s goes against all my beliefs. My son calls it the “M place, pleh!” and knows we only go there to use the bathroom on road trips! I’m lucky to be able to live this way, not only philosophically and economically but geographically.

I can do this living on the central coast of California where we have year-round fresh produce. That’s not to say I don’t cheat every once in awhile and by imported berries in December or grab lunch at Quiznos or Chili’s. I’m only human! I guess this could be a foodie sin, but who do I ask for forgiveness? Michael Pollan?
I do what I can really for very selfish reasons, highest on the list being pure flavor.

These are images from our amazing farmers market in the last couple of weeks. Shallots, green garlic, salad greens with nasturtium flowers, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, and the first peaches of the season. All organic. This is the same market where I buy my fish, my pasta, my free range organic eggs whose yolks are bright orange.

I know not everyone has access to produce like this, especially not year-round. But I think things are changing. More small towns are starting farmers markets. It not only supports the local farmers, it makes for a healthier community that is more in tune with their land and surroundings.

It’s amazing how much food you can grow yourself in just a couple of small pots. You don’t have to pay top dollar to eat at places like Michael Mina, Le Bernadin, Chez Panisse (although of course I love to go!!) but these places pride themselves on making beautiful dishes out of simple fresh ingredients. I try to do the same at home. It’s always hard for me to write recipes because I rarely make the same dish twice. The meal is driven by what I found at the farmers market or our local grocery store.

Experiment in your kitchen, experiment in a garden. Celebrate your local small farmers!! Celebrate the fact that it’s spring and everything is starting to ripen! Celebrate flavor!