Greens, It’s What’s For Dinner
Posted on March 1, 2013
In the most recent issue of Lucky Peach magazine, Michael Pollan writes an article surrounding the steady decline of home cooking and how our planet is suffering as a result. Apparently we’re facing an apocalypse (much to Anthony Bourdain’s glee). So if we’re not cooking for ourselves, that means we have to pay people to cook for us… and they hire someone do it for them. It takes a lot of work to get that food on your plate. The resources and production practices that these large-scale food production companies use (I realize I’m being vague here, but really, 90% of the food most of us eat falls into this category) cuts corners and pollutes our air. Let’s not forget to mention all the mean stuff it does to our bodies too. This, we all know, right? We know that it’s important to support local purveyors, eat organic, and make your own food. We’re all on the same page there, right?
He does bring up an interesting point in regards to food media and what it’s doing to get us in the kitchen, or rather, not doing. He writes: “Food porn is a lot like other kinds of porn. It becomes a vicarious experience, not a direct experience. Does porn really motivate people to have sex? The opposite is true, and I think something similar is happening with the spectacle around food. It’s not motivating people. It looks too daunting.”
Of course it looks daunting. A large part of these food photographs and cooking shows are meant to lure you in, to persuade you to buy something, to keep you watching and supporting their business. You eat out at restaurants, drooling over your beautiful pieces of art that you quickly disassemble with a fork and knife. We need to shift the way we look at food, cooking at home, and ultimately, community.
In an effort to support the idea of getting people cooking, I want to talk about vegetarian dinners. My Mom has been going strong on the vegetarian thing (go Mom!), but she’s having a hard time coming up with dinner ideas. Rather than posting pretty pictures of vegetarians dinners that I’m afraid would deter people out of the kitchen, I want to show people how to think about creating a filling, delicious, vegetarian dinner that isn’t comprised of 75% carbs. When you decide to make the commitment to vegetarianism, the meal planning transition can be a little awkward. When you plan meals around meat, you compartmentalize the separates of dinner, thinking about them as ‘mains’, ‘sides’, ‘salads’, etc. It took me a little while, but I figured out the route to a successful vegetarian dinner is layers.
I start with a base such as frozen spinach or kale (sometimes I use a sweet potato too!), which I saute with a little garlic and oil, or with some soy sauce. I then add veggies such as corn, or onions (if I cook onions I will soften those before putting the greens in). Next, I will add my protein which is usually one of three things: veggie burgers, beans, or lentils. I have been living off of TJ’s pre-cooked lentils recently. I’ll then add half and avocado if I have it, and sometimes put on egg on it. In the above picture, I had one leftover from my asparagus and egg sandwich. Does this make sense? You want to include things that will fill up your plate, and your stomach.
I do not plan to stop posting beautiful photos of my food, because I like to think that it gets some people excited about food in some way. But do yourself a favor and get in the kitchen. Drag someone with you too.