About Me

There's a reason the French can eat duck fat fried potatoes, foie gras, and croissants every day and not gain a pound. There's a reason they can smoke and drink wine all hours of the day and rarely get a slap on the wrist from Dr. Healthy. You know what that reason is? They eat actual food. They eat it slowly. And they cook.

That's my goal. To eat more like the French. Or the Spaniards. Or hell, any other culture besides Americans. Real food. None of this canned, processed, frozen and fried "food product" bullshit. Are we really that lazy that we can't cook ourselves a meal without pulling back the plastic film and tossing it into the microwave?

Before you start getting all upset at my American-bashing, know that this used to be me. Double cheeseburger with tater tots and a side of ranch dressing? Sure. All-You-Can-Eat Barbecue? I'm in. My go-to tube of chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer? Yep, that was me.

Then I moved to Europe.

After 3 years of busting my ass at full-time job right out of college, I started to realize that I just wasn't satisfied with the way I was living my life. I loved food, but ate whatever I wanted without really caring about how it would affect my body. My workout consisted of yoga every once in a blue moon. I was moody all time. I was tired all the time. Something needed to change.

So I quit my job, packed my bags, and moved to Paris. Why not?

I started this blog to document it all... the cooking, the eating, the stories. I did this for myself. To see how far it would take me.

After a year and a half, I returned to the States only to be blindsided by a serious case of backwards culture shock. The endless rows of boxed, canned, over-processed "food" greeted me at the front door of my local grocery store with a big ol' smile. Where was the fresh produce? Oh, there it is. Waaaay over there in the teeny little corner, almost completely hidden from view.

The half-mile long outdoor food markets of Paris were my go-to grocery store. The impeccably fresh meat and fish in Spain were a basic given. What did I come back to? Where was the real food? Disgusted by the amount of food products in my everyday grocery store, I made it a pledge to myself to eat real food. It should be our basic right to know what we are eating.

I have adopted a few guidelines to keep me on the real food path:

1. I have completely sworn off using my microwave. 100%. I actually unplugged it and put it in the closet above the dryer (another American necessity we really don't NEED). Why be tempted to buy TV dinners or microwave popcorn if you don't have a microwave? You can cook and reheat just about anything with the use of your stove or oven.

2. No canned food if at all possible. Besides the fact that chemicals like bisphenol A (what is that anyway?) are leaching into our canned food products (yum), most of the "food" in those aluminum time bombs are sodium and sugar-packed anyway.

3. Cook. It takes some effort and planning, but the only way to really know what you are putting into your mouth is for you to cook it yourself. I don't deprive myself of the occasional dinner and a movie, but when at all possible, I make my food from scratch. It helps that my sig-other just so happens to be a chef...

4. Experiment. Be creative. Use what's in your fridge. So often we get bored with leftovers and the same-ol'-shit that it makes the drive-thru window sound so appealing. I try to find creative ways to use leftovers, and I usually cook ingredients separately, so that I can use and re-use them in multiple ways.

5. Wait till your fridge is almost completely empty before doing a big grocery run. This idea comes threefold. First, this limits you from buying things which are long-lived, such as pre-made salad dressings and canned food, and forces you to buy items which are short-lived, like fresh produce and good quality meats and seafood. Second, this keeps you excited about trying new things... with an empty fridge you can basically start from scratch, and buy ingredients based on what you want to eat, and not what you have left to eat. Third, this can have the potential to save you money. Focusing on produce that is local and in season cuts your food bill down by a few bucks every week. Plus, food that's in season just tastes better. 

My ultimate goal? I want to know what I'm putting into my mouth.

I started this blog as a travel diary. A way to show my family and friends what I was up to while I was overseas. Now that I'm back, I'm putting what I've learned to good use...

To show you that it can be easy to cook real food.

6 comments:

  1. Amen! to your food goals! I'm reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" now and the state of North American agriculture is scaring the hell out of me!

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    1. I just finished "In Defense of Food" and I totally feel the same way. I don't trust most packaged food. It's hard to make the change cold turkey, but I've gotten to the point where looking at the label is a natural thing. Thanks!!!

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  2. The amazing thing about living here is we have choices. We can go to the supermarket and pick the latest processed whatever or opt for some organic down to earth food. I always believed in preparing my own food. Your recipes are fresh and interesting. Got to try them soon. Thanks.

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  3. I absolutely love your blog. I can very much relate to you because my dad is Filipino and my boyfriend is French. I can relate to your fast food nation phobia and balut stories. I love it. I hate the fact that Americans do not take the time to cook. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog. Thanks for this!

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  4. Very inspiring! I guess I can relate in part to you wanting to rediscover the joy of honest food, I created a cooking course company in France after leaving a career in finance in the UK. Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes...

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  5. My husband and I started to try to eat real food during my pregnancy four years ago, but it was very difficult to do running a house hold with five people. I took forever at the grocery store and had to drive to farmers markets which are only available during the summers in Seattle. We now live in London, and never, NEVER want to go back! The food just tastes better here! We have readily embraced our new lifestyle. I can't imagine returning to the states now, we couldn't afford all the organic foods we'd have to buy!!!

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