The best ingredients are solar-powered and raised by nature’s perfect cycles. Our bodies recognize the elements, seasons, and life force of what we consume. It is my quest, in this increasingly careless time, to examine and find what is real and good, and make an offering. There are studies that exclaim this and that, and then there are further trials that reverse those claims. My gujarati grandmother said that her medicine was food and her food, medicine; that it had been tested for over three thousand years by the mothers that preceded her. Hence, we ate the traditional Thali daily. This was never a monotonous meal! It varied by time of day, time of the lunar month, time of the solar year, and season of the eater’s life. It was achieved by preparing foods using the still-practiced Ayurvedic philosophy of making several dishes, consumed in varied proportions in accordance to each individual. They had, at best, at least seven colors, six tastes, five textures, four components, three temperaments, two eaters (a shared meal) One Unity.
My philosophy is to use naturally grown plant-foods*, with as many ingredients in their whole form. (Oil pressing is a curiosity, but not yet part of my repertoire.)
I shop at the Saint Paul farmers market through the year and am often able to prepare entire meals from items I purchased directly from growers there. I will continue to study ways to dry, can, preserve and freeze the local harvest so that I can develop and make future offerings during the snowy months. To supplement the market, I shop at the Co-Op; for spices and some ingredients, at the Indian grocers. I will also share some of the ingredients I brought back from India and a few from my own garden.
*There are occasional exceptions. For instance, I Use Milk and Cream (For making butter) bought from Lucas Kapper OF the Big Red barn, a family owned and run farm. They have sixty-six cows. This is sparingly used and will be indicated on the menu sent with each meal. I may also use fresh eggs bought from local farmer, Jessica, of Gilbertson farms.
This is an exploration of joy, and is not set up as a business, hence will not be subject to the food inspector. However, you are welcome to witness or participate in the cooking of this meal in good humor. I have been through food safety training and certification when I operated in professional kitchens, yet I prefer the use of natural methods to handle food preparation, utensils and surfaces.
1. Clean the entire kitchen before cooking any meal. (An Ayurvedic ritual.)
2. Bathe before starting meal preparation. (Also Ayurvedic.)
3. Wash hands frequently.
4. No use of “bacterial nurseries” (no sponges) to wash vessels and implements. Air or sun dry vessels.
5. Wash produce under running water, rinse with salt water (an effective residue-remover,) re-rinse with water.
6. Soak grains, nuts, seeds and legumes before cooking to remove natural anti-nutrients (primarily phytic acid.)
7. Buy chemical-free whenever I can to minimize residue.
8. Buy non-GMO since GMO produce was developed to be resistant to the herbicide Round-up (so those will certainly have nasty residues.)
9. Use and re-use stainless steel or glass to transport meals. Plastic is ubiquitous, I’ll try to avoid it.(Let us all work not to make waste!)
·I will use the best methods and food-combinations to make nutrients available and absorbable:
·There will be some raw foods, since vitamin C is destroyed with heat.
·Some will be heat-produced foods, since nutrients such as Vitamin A from carrots, And lycopene from tomatoes, become more absorbable when cooked.
·Pressure cook Legumes to preserve nutrients.
·Include Fermented foods to provide digestive enzymes.
·Have Modestly salted, highly spiced food to provide pleasure.
.use onion, garlic, ginger, citrus, chilies, cruciferous Veggies for their antioxidants & unmissable flavors!
·Tone down use of sugars. (No refined commercial sugar, Instead maple-syrup, Jaggery & honey.)
·There will be occasional deep frying, at low temperature, to avoid consumption of dangerous acrylamides.
·Cook in Good Humor. It’s contagious!