5 Foods That Changed the Way I Think About Food
We all have them--foods that flicked the switch for our personal culinary lightbulb and made us suddenly contemplate the possibility of food. They made us see food not just for nourishment or convenience, but for enjoyment, edification, and maybe even art. Here are mine, and it's not an all-inclusive list.
- Butter. I grew up spreading my toast with a variety of synthetic butter spreads that came in plastic tubs and melted down to a watery mess that ruined popcorn. Not to blame my mom; we were led to believe that butter was the devil and margarine was the angel of light that would save us from heart disease. Now we know better. And I've fallen hard for butter--the lemon-yellow sunshine of Kerrygold melting on an English muffin; the unapologetically unctuous, superfatted Plugra for baking; the dizzying heaven of browned butter in anything.
- Roasted vegetables. cauliflower, roasting has changed my relationship with vegetables. I've always loved my veggies, but when I discovered the alchemy a little olive oil and some time in the oven can create, my love turned to obsession. Broccoli, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach...I can't get enough.
- Olives. I've always been a salt-over-sweet girl, so it's not surprising that I prefer the concentrated saltiness of briny olives. I can happily consume alarming amounts of even the humblest of olives--pimento-stuffed Manzanillas, I'm looking at you--but I'm simply transported by Kalamatas, Picholines, Cerignolas, Arbequinas, Bitettos.... A dish of olives, a piece of good bread, and a glass of wine and I'm good.
- Fresh raspberries.
- Artisan bread. Loaves, batards, boules, or baguettes, there is little that can comfort and satisfy as well as a piece of quality artisan-style bread. Cheap, simple, elegant. With cold salted butter; bitter, fruity olive oil and kosher salt; or the drippings from a broiled steak, good bread is practically a meal unto itself.
Which 5 foods brought about a culinary epiphany for you?