I dug into the January issue of Bon Appetit over the New Year break and was psyched to see it dedicated to “The New Healthy.” I felt like the NOURISH site was lifted to the Bon Appetit pages, and am SO psyched that the conversation about enjoying a life free of processed food and full of fresh, seasonal, real food has reached the mainstream.
But something stood out that made me say, “I beg to differ.”
Dan Barber, the Executive Chef and co-Owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and one of the pillars of the modern sustainable food movement, states in a chef photo spread, “The future of healthful eating is going to be in the hands of chefs, much more than nutritionists or doctors.”
I agree that lasting change is not likely to happen at the hands of doctors or nutritionists, but I personally don’t think it’s going to happen at chefs’ tables either. You know who’s going to make the tidal shift in America?
You are. You and me and every home cook doing what it takes to get dinner on the table during busy weeknights.
I don’t dispute that chefs will inspire us, and I am grateful for that. Here in Healdsburg, I’m continuously in awe of how Spoonbar Chef Louis Maldonado elevates local, seasonal vegetables and sustainably caught fish to a fine art (I just recently made this Brown Rice Mushroom Porridge as a riff on his version at Spoonbar). And I’m psyched to see him get national acclaim for doing so on Top Chef … did you see what he did with broccoli on episode nine of Last Chance Kitchen?
But real, lasting change across America isn’t going to happen with sous vide carrots. It’s going to happen with dishes like this Leek, Lemon and Cauliflower Fettuccine (I used whole wheat spaghetti last night and it rocked). With dishes loaded with vegetables that are easy to cut up and get in the pan. With dishes packed with so much flavor that the whole family tucks in happily without goading, and that reheat for easy, healthy lunches the next day. With meals that use only a couple of pots and a cutting board so they don’t take forever to clean up afterwards.
I happened to make this pasta last night with a gorgeous head of organic cauliflower grown in the garden of our local Shelton’s market, and I’m thankful to have that choice. But if that makes you roll your eyes and think it’s too hard or too expensive to buy local and organic … don’t feel judged! That’s OK. Do what you can. If you’re committing to buying organic at Whole Foods this year, terrific. If you’re just getting familiar with the outer perimeter of your local Safeway, good on you … you’re forging into new territory and that’s a good thing.
The point is, no matter where you are on your NOURISH Evolution, taking one step forward this year will make a difference. So make this cauliflower pasta … you’ll be changing the course of history when you do.