Gastronomy: the art or science of good eating
Agriculture: the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock
We are currently in the midst of a national transformation concerning food, health and agriculture. Research topics span from the gut science of the microbiome and food’s influence on health to genetic modifications and the feasibility of resolving global hunger. For so long simplifying cooking and create convenience in food was the ultimate goal, now obviously often at detrimental levels to nutrition and flavor. Food in this country less revered as an experience and enjoyable necessity worth of investing time and effort, to now almost an imposition on our busy lifestyles.
The reality is that good food, or often dubbed “slow food” doesn’t have to actually be slow or inconvenient. Unfortunately the common misconception is that if you’re not a chef or familiar with meal planning practices, your only healthy options on the go are bland grab & go meals, supplements or unfulfilling meal replacements. Cooking for yourself and simple meal prep offers you a better variety of nutrient dense food without added sugars or preservatives, and most importantly better flavor. Also not to harp on it, but the fact is that the food you eat and the way it’s prepared has a direct link to your health and how you feel.
Now your probably saying, “of course what I eat is connected to how I feel, I’m not a moron”, well then why are we continually choosing to eat things we know will make us feel lethargic and slow? There’s lots of viable answers to that, including it’s easy, convenient, delicious, and available. Unfortunately these answers are huge red flags pointing to the problem of devaluing good food. Our palates have become lame and sterile to enjoying the rich flavors of real food, and now more than ever our expectations of choice are creating insane levels of waste.
In a recent podcast appearance Dan Barber of Blue Hill farm to table fame, highlights directly the disconnect that has grown between food (gastronomy) and agriculture(where food comes from):
“If you’re cooking for yourself you’re being less wasteful…utilize some gastronomy put some work behind it, and the age old traditions that have been around since the beginning of agriculture have taught us that that work will pays off not just in better agriculture and better health but better flavor.”
We have lost touch with the flavors and traditions of good food, and it is now beginning to cost not just our enjoyment, but also our health. As science begins to dig deeper into the study of our gut and the impact of what we put in our body, it becomes clear that on a purely machine-like level we’re filling ourselves with sludge. More frequently, disease and serious health issues are being linked directly to bacteria or functional issues within our diet and digestion organs.
The question always arises, on how to find time to eat better or money to buy better food. It’s as simple as treating yourself and your food as an investment, not necessarily in the monetary sense, but considering it in the priority of feeling your best. The answer is to find the flavor again, and simply make time to cook. If you’re using fresh ingredients, it doesn’t have to be fancy or complex to taste great. In the same vein, buying local and fresh produce and protein also supports your community. Local farmers are not hard to find and take great care and passion in their practice.
So instead of dumbing ourselves down to microwaveable, bland “meals”- let’s embrace the traditions and experience of food again and the art of transformation between agriculture and gastronomy.