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Defending the Art of Simple Food

Posted Aug 04 2009 6:22pm

Wow, you guys are truly awesome! Ask for foodie book requests, and ye shall receive; inquire on recommended Trader Joe’s food, and the opinions roll in (I am making my shopping list for the gift now, and will report back with the final basket! Keep the ideas coming if you wish).

I am back from my two week vacation … 9 days of which was spent on a quiet lake in British Columbia, with no electricity.

rubylake

Yes, I went without internet for that long if you can believe it. We finished two entire thousand-piece puzzles, competed in dozens of cribbage games, rowed over for several visits around the lake with friends and family, and I did read two books thanks to your help!

However, I asked you all a bit late, so I didn’t have time to order any books online before we left, and Borders was way too pricey for my tastes. So I took the frugal route. I wrote down all of your recommendations, and took the list with me to BC. While we were in town, I headed to the library and found what they had in stock to borrow! Unfortunately, quite a bit was checked out, so I have added several of your selections to my Amazon wish list for later reading (or sooner, have you seen the insane deal on  The School of Essential Ingredients and Mindless Eating? – both hardcover no less!)

Luckily, I did end up with two great books:  In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and The Art of Simple Food  by Alice Waters.

indefenseoffood I truly enjoyed In Defense of Food. While I expected more of the same old talk about eating whole foods, Pollan went further really helping you to get into the psychology of food. I found his insight on fortification fascinating, and can honestly say that some of his words will be prompting a few changes in our own eating and purchasing habits for the better.

The Art of Simple Food was actually a great follow-up to my first read, as it is an in-depth how-to guide for navigating your way around the kitchen by famed chef Alice Waters. I have always loved baking thanks to my mom, but my cooking has been very self-taught, and I have been wanting to learn more of the tips and tricks that help to make cooking even more enjoyable and that focus on quality food rather than loading on the salt and sugar. This is the book. There are of course recipes throughout, but the book is broken down theartofsimplefood by cooking methods, really stepping you through the processes and offering recommendations on everything from the best size and type of pan or dish to use for the job to when to add seasonings during the process for maximum flavor. There are so many helpful tidbits that it is near impossible not to find a new-to-you concept even though the methods are all time-tested. I have added this one to my wish list to purchase as I couldn’t possibly remember all of her concepts and small tips.

As for food on our vacation, we really took advantage of all of the fresh, local produce in BC, but not much cooking was done as we enjoyed salads, raw fruit, and simple grilling for most of the trip. And alas, we had some trouble with the oven (run on propane), so I didn’t get the chance to experiment and come up with new baked goodies for the blog, but there are still more recipes (from pre-vacatin) to come.

 

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5 Good Things Since My Last Post

  1. I came home to several boxes of delicious food, including the new Coconut Milk Kefir, which I already wrote a review on. I guess I just couldn’t wait.
  2. I learned how to bake on the barbecue. Grilled PB&J cookie bars anyone?
  3. I enjoyed lazing on a boat for hours with my husband, eating bags of ripe, fresh BC cherries, and rolling into the water for a swim whenever the heat became just a bit too much.
  4. We were there for my mother-in-laws 60th birthday, and got to see her so wonderfully happy (and deserving) with all the thoughtful gifts she received. She even got a car, it is the first car she has ever had!
  5. We had a safe trip, and are relaxed and surprisingly happy to be home.
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