Savoring Each Ingredient
Ever take the time to actually smell fresh greens? Every time I cook with fresh parsley or cilantro, for instance, after rinsing the greens, I always take the time to enjoy the aroma, crushing the leaves between my fingers, then bringing them up to my nose, taking a nice deep inhale to enjoy the freshness and vibrancy that these greens provide.
I love to cook, but it’s more than that; I love to appreciate all of the ingredients that I choose to use. Whether it’s fresh vanilla straight from the bean, or grated cinnamon with all of its spicy goodness, or the scent of fresh basil in my homemade pesto. Every ingredient is one that I like to savor and appreciate for its own unique flavor and contribution; because the start of any great dish comes from the use of the freshest ingredients.
I know that there are some people who don't like to cook, and some that simply don't know how. But I think that once you find an appreciation for what goes into your food, you'll start to ask more questions, and you'll start finding a curiosity within yourself for food in general (and where it comes from) that you might not have previously had. But it's not even about having to cook it. You can just as easily be a connoisseur of fine food without being a great chef just by choosing to appreciate the food that you eat beyond its role of just filling your belly.
I love going to farmer's markets and sampling the local fare. I love fresh local organic produce that was picked ripe and didn't have to travel thousands of miles to get to my plate. Of course there are some exceptions in the case of specialty products that are only found in certain geographical and cultural regions. But, for the most part, shopping artisanal and local, in my mind, is the way to go. Farm-to-table, that's my deal.
So, the next time that you are at the grocer's or you find a quaint little cheese shop or coffee place or bakery on "Main Street," try to be a little more mindful of what you are buying. Take a moment to really appreciate where your food comes from, and then savor it with all of your senses. Smell the aromas, see the colors, listen to the sounds, feel the textures, and taste the delights as you find yourself oohing and ahhing over the indulgences that you have found to enjoy. And most of all, simply be mindful of all of the bountiful blessings that surround you that exist to bring you the utmost joy and sustenance in your everyday life.