Tuesday, September 03, 2013

what's for dinner?

in this age of sharing everything via instagram and facebook and twitter, what's for dinner has become a much more public question. i'll admit to feeling the pressure of it and i only share the good and inspired days in my dinner list group on facebook. but there are a lot of ordinary days in between. and we still have to eat dinner. it's the one meal of the day where we really do try to sit down together. this long, glorious summer, that may have been at 9 or 9:30 in the evening, decidedly southern european times. now that school has started again, we've tried to move it back to 6:30 or 7, but it's not easy.

another thing that makes it hard is all of the competing fads according to which we are supposed to eat. paleo is very big in denmark right now, thanks to very hot and fit chef, thomas rode putting out a paleo cookbook (which i'll admit i plopped down 249kr. ($44) for the day it came out - look at that cover, could you have resisted?). i'm really surprised by all of the cabbage they apparently had at their disposal in the stone age, but hey, i'm game if i get to spend the dinner hour with thomas. but paleo may just be the new name for low carb, as it demonizes wheat and prioritizes meat. it also has a big element of eating local and in season in it, at least in thomas' version. that, i can get on board with, especially in the summer, when we've got an array of produce to work with.

i've long been attracted to the idea of a raw diet, but feel it would simply be too difficult to feed a family on it.  plus, those hard core raw people often look rather thin and sickly. but i do keep threatening to go raw around here for a week, during the height of the summer produce season (right now would be the perfect time). i say threatening because my family is dead set against it. i guess they just don't think bacon would be that good raw.

we have a couple of meals a week without meat. i don't think any of us would ever really like to embrace full on vegetarianism or veganism, but we do think it's environmentally defensible of us to eat less meat and to consider meat to be a smaller part of our meal, rather than the centerpiece. i made a nicoise-inspired salad for dinner on sunday evening and could use one large grilled tuna steak for the three of us, instead of buying three and giving us each a big tuna steak as the centerpiece of our meal. easier on the wallet and on the tuna supply. plus it was actually enough that there were leftovers for another meal the next day. that was thanks to plenty of freshly-dug potatoes, beans from the market, boiled eggs, salad, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and mozzarella that made up the rest of the salad. the grilled tuna was just the crown on top. and we all felt like we had our fill.

other food fads at the moment in denmark are ny nordisk mad (new nordic food), inspired by michelin star restaurant noma (which was the nr. 1 restaurant in the world in recent years, but fell to nr. 2 on the latest list). it is big on local ingredients, including things like hay and foraged beach detritus, and that has trickled down to the everyday kitchen in the form of a general sense of pride in nordic ingredients (pork, fish, cabbage, grains like rye and barley), tho' it has yet to make a liquid nitrogen unit an everyday kitchen utensil.  fasting a couple of days a week is also big. i have a friend who lost 10 kilos (20-ish pounds) doing that.

i think that underneath the food fads is actually a basic desire to be more conscious about what we eat. if you're following some strict no-carb diet, you have to think about the food you prepare and eat. the industrialization of food has taken us far from thinking about that. we just open up a package, warm it up in the microwave and scarf it down, all without putting much thought into it. but if you're eating raw or vegetarian or new nordic or paleo, you have to put some thought into what fills your basket at the grocery store and what you're making. and maybe at the base of it, we'd all like to do that.

hmm, i wonder what's for dinner tonight?

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great piece in scientific american on women LEGO minifigures.

1 comment:

Laura Doyle said...

I really enjoyed reading this. It seems that while some jump in with both feet regarding food crazes, others take a more balanced, sensible approach and draw the best elements from whatever fads come along. You are one of these people. : )

It's also curious to read about food fads in other countries. Did I read correctly? The restaurant serves hay? And beach garbage? I feel a bit confused about that.