So, I plan meals differently. Sometimes we eat just one or two things: brown rice with ratatouille and olives, or quinoa with avocado and ponzu, or pasta with roasted butternut squash and hazelnuts.
I’ve always loved cookbooks. But, ironically perhaps, I now spend less time reading cookbooks than I once did — and more time cooking.
Some other fine things happened, too—things I could not have anticipated.
I began to taste food differently. I could always appreciate my favorites — juicy peaches, deep dark chocolate, roasted pork. But I began to relish other foods, even foods that I once considered a little boring: squash, trout, beets, oats.
I engaged my sense of smell more fully in the realm of food. I learned that a locally grown cantaloupe, or one that was shipped only a few hundred miles and not across the country, would smell like a melon, not an odorless orb.
Meanwhile, I’ve learned not always to trust my 20/20 vision when it comes to food. I’ve begun to love homely produce. Sometimes the best-tasting vegetable is not always the most beautiful, at least not in a shellacked, unblemished kind of way.
If I’m buying meat, I can no longer accept it at face value; I want to know a little more about the beef in its plastic package. Like, say, whether that bright red color is natural or due to carbon monoxide.
But when we’re talking about food, it all comes back to flavor. Milk from grazing cows and eggs from grazing chickens taste different — richer, brighter, fuller — than that of their sisters sequestered in barns. Grazing cows and grazing chickens themselves taste different — in a good way. So I’ve made the choice to buy local farm-grown foods as often as I can.
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