... and thy medicine be thy food', Hippocrates
Over the last week or so, we ate plenty of food, possibly too much and started the new year, like every other year before this, committed to join a gym or start running to lose the weight added to our waistline over the holiday season. Resolutions that, as we all know, for most of us, last only a few weeks.
I, on the other side, not only ate plenty of food but I actually spent plenty of time cooking it. Not only for me and my family, but also for strangers together with other chefs. I have always been able to get by in the kitchen, they say Italians can cook, I am not too sure about cooking but certainly making ourselves some food, saving us from starving, whether a plate of pasta or an omelet. Without attending any cooking course or watching a You Tube video, we learn by watching our mothers and grandmothers and for the steps we miss when we get distracted, we improvise, we make things up, Italians are great improvisers and cooking is also about improvising, creating, not just following somebody else’s recipe.
A few years ago, when I had Ipsum Vinoteca, my own restaurant, due to the shortage of good chefs, the world is full of cooks but there are very few chefs, I was forced to learn cooking professionally, had to really step up my cooking skills, I would have had people paying to eat my food. I started studying, read plenty of cooking books, done plenty of courses, it was like going to university again, and not only my cooking skills have improved dramatically but I never imagined I would love cooking so much. And whilst Ipsum Vinoteca came to an end, I still love cooking and learning about food. Amongst the many things I learned during my years in the kitchen, the main lesson was that is the quality of the ingredients that make a dish. The chef only combines the different flavours and play with them to make the dish visually attractive, but it is their quality that make a dish standing out from a flavour perspective.
Unfortunately, too often we associate good food and quality ingredients with expensive, but it doesn’t have to this way. The cost difference between a good tomato tin and one that needs sugar to correct the acidity because the tomatoes were not fully ripen when picked is only a few pennies; a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil, even if you use as much as I do (I use it for everything), lasts a few weeks, which makes the daily cost way cheaper than an espresso or cappuccino and a good olive oil not only makes or breaks a dish but provide us with plenty of the healthy stuff that help us living better and longer (a Harvard University
study found that people who consume at least 1.5 teaspoons of olive oil per day have a 17% lower risk of premature mortality) and can save us from going to bed without food or having to order a take away all those times that the fridge is empty, from bread to pasta, a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil can resolve the evening.
So, for our own health and to fully enjoy life, lets make 2023 the year where we focus more on the food we eat, our fuel. To a great and healthy 2023.