Monday, June 11, 2007

What the World Eats - Images from Time Magazine

I've seen the book, and the photographs, but time and time again I'm riveted by what the images symbolize, and how they compare to what I know about food. The weekly food supply of families from wealthier countries is not only significantly more expensive, it's also full of processed foods, refined sugars, and high fructose corn syrup...potato chips, pizza, chocolate, soda! The lower the weekly food budget, the more nutritious foods the family seems to consume.

Staying at home with my son has allowed me the time to make more meals at home, so I'm more concerned about what we eat. I try be true to our tastes, while attempting to maintain a degree of nutrition and variety to broaden our palates. I enjoy testing out new recipes with new ingredients, which has led me to few recent discoveries. For example, quinoa is a great staple food as it's incredibly nutritious, easy to make, keeps well for leftovers, and is wheat/gluten free. The latter is relevant because I've been making most of my son's food since he's been on solids (he's 9 months now), and his pediatrician, who is highly concerned about maintaining a healthy diet, wants to keep his wheat consumption to a minimum as it's much more likely to be an allergen. So I make quinoa dishes for us, as well as for our son, and everyone wins!

Back to my point, as lucky as we are to live in a wealthy nation with a seemingly endless food supply, it's worth considering the source and nature of the foods we eat on a weekly basis. We have to start reasoning health with affordability, flavor, and time constraints. That said, there's nothing like a tasty treat every now and really makes the game worth playing ;-)


Cathy said...

Can you share a good quinoa recipe? I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago (take out from a restaurant) and it wasn't bad!

They Call Me Mommy said...

We get plain organic quinoa from Trader Joe's. Generally, I've found that replacing quinoa for cous cous in recipes works pretty well, though the flavor is slightly nuttier. Be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking or else it will have a bitter taste.

Apricot Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup sliced almonds
10 dried apricots
2 green onions, green parts only
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the quinoa in cold water and place in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). Move to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.

To toast the almonds, put them in a dry pan and toss around for a couple of minutes until golden and smell toasted. Chop them up, or do as I do and just crush them with your fingers (faster and less messy).

Coarsely chop the apricots, green onions, mint, and cilantro. Add this, along with your almonds, to the quinoa. Add lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Serve warm or cold.