(Long live fresh! Nod to the semester of French I took in college and the fact that I’m currently watching the French Open)
Recently, Alice Waters was on Real Time with Bill Maher and turned out to be one of the best episodes I’ve seen. Being a foodie, I’ve heard her name while reading my cooking magazines and various food sections of newspapers. So I picked-up a copy of “The Art of Simple Food” from the library to get an idea of her thinking/approach to cooking.
Her theory on food is simple. Cook with good ingredients, and ones you either grow yourself or buy from a farmer’s market, and keep a well-stocked pantry that will enable you to make fresh food at any time. She, as well as other chefs, all talk about cooking in season. It’s taken me years to grasp this idea, as I grew up with the idea and luxury of buying strawberries all year round. But after having eaten strawberries that I bought at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market, I will never go back to purchasing fruit or veggies from a grocery store grown by Farms-R-Us. Not only were the color of the strawberries the reddest I’ve ever see, but the taste was absolutely amazing! I typically eat fresh fruit with my yogurt and some granola for breakfast, especially after getting back from the gym.
In addition to fresh veggies and fruit being a taste explosion to any dish you are making, it is also sustainable, you feel good about supporting local farmers in your area as well as stretching your grocery dollars farther. And who doesn’t want that? While I’m all about getting a deal, it’s more about eating healthy.
This weekend, armed with my reusable tote/grocery bag *, I went to the Alexandria Farmer’s Market and was so impressed with the quality and amount of produce available to purchase. I walked away with spring mix lettuce, tomatoes that you could just eat like fruit, strawberries, blueberries and spring onions. All for under $15! You can’t get that kind of value from the grocery store, and even if the items you purchase are on sale, they will not be of the same quality you get from a farmer’s market.
As a side note, I recently planted tomatoes (plum and grape), cucumbers, red peppers and basil in the garden at my sister’s house as I live in a condo and don’t have a backyard to start my own. I also don’t have a green thumb (I’ve killed lucky bamboo), so I have challenged myself to get my hands and well-manicured nails (I actually bought gardening gloves!) dirty and learn how to garden. I’m actually looking forward to weeding! One of the worst chores ever when I was growing up, as I never understood why my parents made me do this as I am deathly allergic to bees. Anyway…I am looking forward to cooking with the vegetables I planted when they are ready to be picked.
*Reusable bags are such a fantastic idea, but I always forget to give myself the .05 cent credit when I’m at the grocery store! I’m sure those .05 have added up over two years and could’ve already had that Louis Vuitton “Alma” bag that I’m dying to purchase!