At GardenTV we’re big fans of good, healthy cooking. Consider these words of wisdom from one of our very own, Alice Waters, while enjoying the holiday spirits this year.
I’m convinced that the underlying principles of good cooking are the same everywhere. These principles have less to do with recipes and techniques than they do with gathering good ingredients, which for me is the essence of cooking. Whenever I give cooking demonstrations, I put everything I will be cooking on display, and the audience is always wide-eyed and amazed at how beautiful it all is. They ask, “where did you get that?!’ and I answer, ‘At your farmers’ market – and you can get it, too!’ After all these years, I’ve distilled just about everything I know about cooking down to that – and a few other simple propositions. I’ve mad a list of them here. I believer that if you follow them your cooking will be transformed. They are the principles of a delicious revolution, one that can reconnect our families and communities with the most basic human values, provide the deepest delight for all our senses, and assure our well-being for a lifetime.
1. Eat Locally & Sustainably
Learn where your food comes from and how it is produced. Seek out a diverse variety of vegetables and fruits from small, local producers who take care of the land. Buy eggs, meat, and fish from producers whose practices are organic, humane, and enviromentally sound.
2. Eat Seasonally
Choose food in season. Even where the growing season is short, organic gardening and farming can extend it: greens can be grown in cold frames and greenhouses, and there are always local foods that can be stored, dried, and caned for winter months. Eating seasonally inspires your menus, gives you a sense of time and place, and rewards you with the most flavorful food.
3. Shop at Farmers’ Markets
Farmers markets create communities that value diversity, honesty, and seasonality, locality, sustainability, and beauty. Get to know the people who grow your food. Think of yourself as a partner with the farmers, learning from them and working with them.
4. Plant a garden.
It is deeply satisfying to eat food you have grown yourself, in your own backyard or in a community garden. Even a pot of herbs on your windowsill can transform your cooking and connect your to the changing seasons, as can foraging for wild foods and harvesting fruit from farms that allow you to pick your own. Learn what the edible landscape has to offer.
5. Conserve, compost, and recycle.
Take your own basket to the market. Reuse whatever packaging you can. Keep a compost bucket nearby when you cook to recycle kitchen scraps. The more you conserve, the less you waste, the better you feel.
6. Cook simply, engaging all your senses.
Plan uncomplicated meals. Let things taste of what they are. Enjoy cooking as a sensory pleasure: touch, listen, watch, smell and above all, taste. Taste as you go. Keep tasting and keep practicing and discovering.
7. Cook together.
Include your family and friends, and especially children. When children grow, cook and serve food, they want to eat it. The hands-on experience of gardening and cooking teaches children the value and pleasure of good food almost effortlessly.
8. Eat together.
No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.
9. Remember food is precious.
Good food can only come from good ingredients. Its proper price includes the cost of preserving the environment and paying fairly for the labor of the people who produce it. Food should never be taken for granted.
Thank you Alice, for your guidance over all these years.