What makes food good?
- If you simply like the taste, is that enough?
- Organic or locally grown? What if its local but not organic?
- Does it have to be healthy? Or what about “natural?”
- And what does “natural” mean? Or “organic” for that matter.
- When is something a clean food?
- Are the rules different when eating out versus cooking at home?
Question #1: What is food?
How do we decide that something is edible? We can’t ask our ancestors what made them think to try eating that stuff growing under a tree. Or how one figured out if certain berries were okay or not okay. And then determining if something that was once okay to eat is not anymore. If I could, I’d really like to talk to the first human to try fermented food- berries or starches. What did the world’s first buzz feel like?
A definition of Food, from our friends at Wikipedia:
any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be sourced from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus. Ranching, and fishing, hunting, foraging and other methods are ways to obtain food.
Well that leaves it pretty open! To make food taste good is a whole other story. And it’s pretty subjective. I have a list of certain foods I will not eat, stuff I’ve tried and would prefer not to taste again and a rather long list of things I hope to experience in my world travels.
Taste is influenced by a number of things. Of course, you must be able to smell a food to get the full experience of its taste. The smell of something before you place it in your mouth starts the tasting experience. Enjoying good food can also be a visual experience. Certainly if something looks fresh and moist, you begin to salivate before you ever take a bite. On the flip side, a food item that looks like something one shouldn’t eat or does not appeal to your eye may taste bad because of a mental connection you can’t overcome. I’m thinking of refried beans here.
For me, texture is very important when enjoying food. A crisp, crunchy pickle tastes far better than a room-temperature soft one. I have never been able to enjoy broccoli because of the way those “little trees” feel in my mouth. Broccoli sprouts and stems however, are completely different. And please don’t get me started on brussel sprouts.
I believe bread and bagels taste better when lightly toasted. One of the best mouth-feels ever is biting in to a slice of Mother’s Bread fresh from the toaster and coated with peanut butter. The PB melts in to the top of the crispy bread and its just heavenly.
The idea for this blog started after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma a while back. As a result of this book, I’ve started thinking about the importance of eating more locally grown food and less processed food. I already avoided food with High Fructose Corn Syrup, one arm of the axis of evil that is processed food. I’ve certainly re-thought my dining out options. What am I really getting if I eat a Burger King chicken sandwich and fries? Besides fat, think of the chemicals involved.
This blog will be an exploration of what I think makes food good. Be prepared for a lot of recipes as I do like cooking quite a bit. I’ll also be exploring food politics, options for getting quality ingredients and making choices about those ingredients. Add in some childhood memories that formed my opinions about a lot of foods and what makes something good and you’ve got a blog! You may also hear from my Official Food Taster, Chris, sometimes.
I’ll post my recipes here with taste-test results. And I’ll be talking a lot more about why I choose to buy what I do and what exactly it is about Chicken nuggets that freaks me out, now.