Happy Monday! I hope that everyone had a great weekend. Today I want to chat about a topic that I am very passionate about, which is food. Of course, if you have been reading this site for a while, it is an integral part to one of the things that make up ROSE & IVY. If you follow on Instagram, you see that the fresh food is something that pops up every weekend after a trip to one of my favorite places, the farmers market. I am lucky that we have two by our apartment, one that I visit on Saturday and another on Sunday. Right now, it is bursting to life with everything from blueberries, peaches to zebra-like zucchini and summer squash.
Not only, do I think that it is important to support local farmers, but eating fresh food is integral to a healthy body and mind. Last week, I was absolutely disgusted when I read this article in New York Magazine called The Neurotic Eater's Grocery List. Not only was I literally gasping out loud, but I also wanted to go on a diet that you only eat air going forward, of course I am kidding. It seems that everything we eat has an impact on the planet or have bad practices. While I know it is impossible to eat air, I mean one of the great pleasures in life is eating delicious food, it made me become even more aware of my food choices.
Let me preface this by saying that I believe in everything in moderation - from bread to chocolate. My approach to food is like the European way. I am very strong-minded though when it comes to the food industry and if I could I would take it on, there are so many misleading claims out there, it is scary. When developing recipes, I look to whole foods that are in their natural state as possible. Here are some of the food philosophies that I try to follow:
1. Eat in season & local food | This is easy, especially during the summer when my only source of groceries for fruit and vegetables come from local farmers. They pale in comparison to the grocery store. The other day, I ran out of blueberries and felt myself getting sick so I went to Whole Foods to pick some up - they were nothing like the farmers market - they were mealy and didn't taste fresh.
2. Avoid preservatives & processed foods at all costs | After I was diagnosed with MS, I became even more aware of what I put into my body. I was shocked to see items that I had used quite often had them - Goya beans, the wasabi at Whole Foods, canned tomatoes among other things use additives to keep things fresh. The latter often contains citric acid, which is derived from black mold. Even the organic varieties have them, it is scary! When I need to use canned tomatoes I go with Pomi. When developing recipes, I always keep this in mind.
3. Avoid 'Natural Flavors' - I was shocked to see that so many food items that I had bought for years had 'natural flavors' in them. What does this mean? It means that these brands are still using a chemical company to add flavors that they deem 'natural' into their foods. I was shocked to see brands like Cabot butter that I had used for forever in my pastry recipes had cream and 'natural flavors'. Yogurts, seltzer waters, sauces - it is really disgusting and if you ask me unethical. So when developing recipes, again I make sure to stick to the simplest of ingredients.
4. Bread is fine, but only if its homemade | I love bread (yes, white bread), but the only way that I eat it is if it comes from a local bakery. My favorites in New York are Grand Daisy, Bien Cuit and Sullivan Street Bakery.
5. Quality vs. quantity | Sometimes I find myself justifying buying an expensive bottle of olive oil than on clothes! Not only is it so good for you, but over time I have been able to identify the good from the bad and believe me, there are a lot of bad ones out there that are misleading. My favorite is from Mandranova, a olive farm in Sicily that I visited last year. I met the farmers and know that they only use the purest practices. You can buy their oils here.
What principles do you follow when it comes to food?
Photography & Styling by Alison