One of my dear friends, Amanda, over at Cozy Caravan wrote a beautiful piece about something I’ve been contemplating over the last month. Why do I write about food? Not only are her words poetic and mesmerizing, but she also bakes a lot of brownies. Which, obviously, go hand in hand. In her honor, I'm sipping red wine and eating rich chocolaty brownies. I’m hoping this will help me channel some of her charming, bohemian perfection.
Why do I write about food?
One of the first questions people ask me when I tell them I’ve gone zero-waste is, “But, what do you eat?” We've become so detached from our food; we've forgotten it comes from the earth. Food doesn't come in a package. It doesn't come out of a factory. It comes from the ground.
I've been enjoying a personal renaissance with food. I've always enjoyed cooking. But, I used to eat what I call "semi-fresh." Meals included fresh produce but also frozen and canned and occasionally processed foods. (lookin' at you chips ahoy) Since going zero waste, I've opened my world to so many new experiences.
I talk a lot about food; because, I'm perpetually amazed at how many people my age don't cook. They just reheat. Did you know obesity will soon be the number one killer in the US? My generation is the first generation who's life span will be shorter than our parents, and it's because we're eating ourselves to death. Everything is instant. It's microwaveable, chemically and genetically enhanced versions of something induced with extra sodium and sugar. We aren't eating food. Food is medicine. Food is love. Food is life.
I write about food because it should be an experience. It's something that should connect us to the earth, but also connects us with other people. It's a story. It's recipes passed down from generation to generation. It's different cultures surviving based on the offerings of their region. It's communion over the dinner table. It's universal and yet individual. It's something we do three times a day, and I think we should get more in touch with the provider. We should think more about where it comes from, and respect the natural process. I write about food because I want to bring simple, whole ingredients to their full potential. It's amazing what you can do with the simple ingredients mother nature has provided.
So many of my favorite memories revolve around food. Certain smells or a taste can immediately transport me to another time and place. I've never been crazy about meat. As a kid, I refused to swallow it. I would chew and chew and pack it away in my cheeks like a squirrel. During nap time, my mom would have get it out so I wouldn't choke. Every time I smell almonds, I'm immediately transported back to the Señora Mesa house in San Antonio. We were moving in, and my room had just been painted lavender. Dad bought us almond croissants, and I couldn't finish mine because the mix of smells was overwhelming. The first time I tried pineapple was in Hawaii for my 12th birthday. And, the best dish I've ever had in my entire life was a scallop gently nestled on a sliver of ham steak surrounded by strips of red bell peppers and watermelon. I was with my mother, and we sat at a little table for two, in a restaurant now closed. I have so many memories associated with food, and whenever I recreate a dish, it's like I can live in that moment just for a second.
And this, this is one of my favorite memories to relive. This is the night I fell in love. It was in the wee hours of the morning on a humid summer night in Pennsylvania. The fireflies had just gone to bed, and the taste of red wine lingered on my lips. The big dipper was shining bright above, and I needed brownies.
This is a one bowl wonder: no mix, no crazy ingredients, no extra dishes. It's just the way I like it.
2 Sticks of Butter
2 1/4 Cup of Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
1 Cup of Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
Pinch of Salt
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9 x 13 pan. Place cold butter and sugar in a microwave proof bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and stir. Heat for another 30 seconds and the mixture should be silky smooth and glossy. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir. Add all of the dry ingredients and incorporate. Pour into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.
If you can, let it cool for 30 minutes. If you can't, dig right in. Best served with red wine and silent giggle fits as you try to avoid waking everyone up at 2:00 am.
These are both cakey and fudgy. It's the perfect combination, you have to try.