There is always loads going on In the Kitchen: in Southern Italy food plays a major role in people’s lives, so it does in my little house.
Although In The Kitchen, I’d love to deal with food in the broader sense.
Of course there is going to be recipes inspired by the Neapolitan and Italian culinary tradition, as well as the German, and not to forget the British influence. Get ready for some international and some weird stuff too. I have been collecting inputs and recipes for years on my travels. I will have to let you know about my own personal version of it.
But In The Kitchen there is also a lot of talk about farmers’ markets, the challenge of finding the right ingredients in the wrong countries, the importance of having good quality of your basic ingredients, organic food, etc.
So that you know, I consider myself a “vegivore”: I eat mainly vegetables, pulses, whole-grains. I try to avoid processed foods (but it is not a religion), I like to buy organic where and when I can. Absolutely no OGM on my table as far as possible, as well as I am trying to avoid palm oil (contained basically in anything, unless you do stuff from scratch) and also glutamate got significantly reduced, if not cancelled. I make exceptions for soy-sauce and of course the natural glutamate of parmigiano. I couldn’t live without).
A vegivore is not a vegetarian and even less a vegan, rather someone who prefers eating vegetables to eating meat, “for flavour rather than moral reasons”(Chloe Scott for Metro, January 2013) . I’m afraid I couldn’t give up my yogurt, my honey, my cheese, my fish. And yes, I do eat meat occasionally and when it comes to meat I have no prejudices. I have eaten pretty much anything in my life: from jellyfish to kangaroo, from ostrich, to horse, to alligator. I am not saying I loved everything – the jellyfish was awful, but maybe it was just the way it was cooked. I’d give it another go -, but I am open to try anything once (food-wise) or even twice, and that meat and fish are part of my diet, although maybe not daily. My husband is a Brit after all, he craves meat, and my German genes support him for that matter.
All of this without any extremism: and this is part of what I want to write about. I don’t believe in “fundamentalism” when it comes to the table. I don’t believe in obsessing in the “healthy life-style” only to find out five minutes later that what you were eating bought as organic was contaminated, potentially harmful in vast quantities, causing some major unbalances in the world or in your body. I don’t believe in excluding this, that and the other arbitrarily from your diet – unless you have specific restrictions due to proven health reasons -, then popping supplement pills to compensate. On the other hand I don’t believe in buying ready made meals out of the freezer or worse off the shelf ready for you micro-wave, sauces out of jars, in all of those weird and wonderful processed foods where the ingredient list is as long as the Bible and half of them you never even heard of, living on packed snacks and crisps, in canned vegetables instead of fresh and crisp home-cooked veg, in sugary drinks for meals (and in general), and so on.
My little Boy is a good reason for me to pay even more attention to what comes on our plates than I have always done.
Preparing your meals from scratch may cost you more, in terms of time and effort and in terms of money – it sometimes is a matter of costs, you just can’t buy always “organic” or fresh when you are on a budget - but you can make the best out of what you have: if you have a garden or a terrace grow your own for what you can (about growing food on a terrace or roof have a look In The Garden), or get hold of a local farmer willing to supply, a good fisher-man who sells his daily catches (if living close to the sea) or a good fish shop, a decent butcher you can trust, join a local Organic Buying group, prepare easy meals without over-complicating and you’re already laughing.
Moderation as the key for a better quality of life, this is what I’m going to talk about from my Kitchen, InTheSun.