This week, I asked some of my favorite food bloggers to tell me about their food philosophy. I love reading about these ladies adventures in the kitchen and often wonder about how they view food. What inspires them in the kitchen? Some people cook out of necessity, some people cook for fun on the weekends, others cook extra nutritious meals to stay healthy so they can run marathons (but that last one wouldn't be me). Some people cook for a family, some cook for only one or two. Some are vegetarians, some are meat and potatoes people. So you can see why even a simple recipe can have so many variations. When I read a recipe, and I start making changes to suit my tastes, I'm infusing it with my food philosophy.
My food philosophy began developing with some of the ideas I was raised with and has grown since then. Early on, my parents limited the amount of sugary junk foods I could have, but had a big bowl of fruit or some other healthy snack that I could eat as I wanted. I learned early on to read nutrition labels - any cereal that had more than 11g of sugar per serving was a no-go, but I could select whatever I wanted as long as it met that requirement. I also went grocery shopping with my mom and would select a "fruit of the week." I could pick anything I wanted, so we tried some things that were pretty tasty and other things that are best left to be ornamental (star fruit).
I think these things early on made me more aware of my food choices and have more responsibility in regard to my eating habits. I went through high school not really interested in cooking and starting a few kitchen fires, melting a few spoons and burning a few pots. Once I got to college, however, I began to develop an interest in cooking more (I think the bad cafeteria food was pretty motivating).
Out on my own after graduation, I certainly enjoyed cooking, but I preferred to cook with people. So, it was absolutely perfect when Nick and I finally moved to the same zip code. I actually feel more adventurous and excited in the kitchen now that I cook for two because I love the reward - the "mmm" or "hun, this is really good." (The other day the ice cream hater himself told me, after polishing off a container, that I made the best ice cream he's ever tasted - *pats myself on the back*). That's positive reinforcement :).
To kick off the week, here's my food philosophy:
Everything in Moderation
I strongly believe in everything in moderation. Since I have to avoid most cow's milk products, I find it too difficult to begin to eliminate other foods. Aside from dairy, I would just rather keep myself open to trying new things. If I feel like experimenting with a fabulously rich dessert, I do. But I also keep my portion sizes in control (and usually give away quite a bit so I don't have too much temptation, will power can only get you so far). Richer foods usually satisfy your appetite with smaller amounts anyway.
This sort of goes hand in hand with moderation. While I want to eat everything in moderation, I also want to eat a balanced diet. I strive to get a balanced diet - a little protein, a lot of fruits and veggies, and some carbs for quick energy.
Local, Wholesome, Sustainable Ingredients
When I can, I prefer to buy local ingredients (even over organic, but if I can find local, organic ingredients, woo hoo!). I also prefer to use whole ingredients when possible and make things in my own kitchen as opposed to buying prepared store bought items. I don't buy substitutes for things like butter or sugar because I trust nature and God over a guy in a lab. One of my only never buy ingredients is farmed salmon, but that is a whole 'nother post.
Homemade is best.
Convenience foods are convenient, but I find that they don't taste nearly as good as homemade. Aside from taste, I like knowing what goes into my food without needing a dictionary. I also find that making things at home limits the amount of "junk" food I eat. Yes, organic potato chips are still junk, even if they are sold at the health food store. Homemade ice cream is junk too. But if I make it from scratch, I tend to make it less frequently than if I let myself indulge in putting it in our shopping cart each week. I also try and savor it, since I know how much work went into it.
Keep it Fun.
This is probably the most important one of all. For me, cooking and eating wouldn't be as exciting for me if I had points or calories to worry about. I like to have fun with food and experiment. Some of these experiments don't go so well. If they aren't as tasty as I would like, well, it's just food.
Stay tuned this week to hear from some other amazing ladies and get introduced to their inspiring blogs!