Food snob or epicure is a question that our critics must squarely face; and we ourselves, of course.
An epicure is a person who loves fine food at its highest level; the word comes from a Greek philosopher who spent a good deal of his time thinking about cooking.
Another definition of epicure is a person devoted to refined, sensuous enjoyment of good food and drink.
I am an epicure, but my critics call me a food snob; I abhor most of the stuff that the industry tempts us with, boosting their bottom line and running our health down. It is all about how you interpret those two words fine and good.
There are a lot of others too like gourmet, a person who knows a lot about fine food and a foodie who knows where you get the best tasting meal and hangs about the farmers' market.
For me, the food snob, it has to taste good, it certainly must be nutritious and contribute to our overall well-being. It must be easy to prepare and fit in with our general philosophy of slow food, made fast.
And there is a little warning not to become orthorhexic or make food into a god. It certainly is a tightrope that we walk.
There is a misguided belief that nutritious food is expensive and much as we would like it, the fine and good stuff is simply not affordable. Not so, but one certainly has to work hard at it. The chief cost is time spent preparing good nosh, and you may have to grow some of it.
And there is the cost of equipment you may need like the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY food processor that regularly gets the nod; it is not cheap at around $200.
For us it has been a wheat mill and dedicated small oven; they are not cheap either. But then being able to bake a whole loaf of the best tasting bread in the whole world, completely unrefined, for a fraction of the price means you soon get your money back.
A vital part of the cost equation is that food snobs, epicures and gourmet cooks are far less likely to be making frequent visits to the doctor and the pharmacy. They follow the dictates of Hippocrates, the father of ancient Medicine, who insisted that we should first and foremost make sure that our cures and remedies are on the dining room table in front of us.
If I could convince you that you and your family would consult doctors a half or less of the time, and take little or no chronic medication, do you think you could afford the cost of becoming a food snob or epicure? Not to mention there is also a lot less pain and misery involved.
Can you identify in this breakfast muffins recipe those which we could call natural, and which are processed foods? There will be some debate over a few of the items.
The recipe is titled as a tasty breakfast for children that ticks all the health boxes. Firstly, each cupcake has 30g of carbohydrate, and I suspect no boy or girl would be happy with just one. That is an awful lot at just one meal.
Secondly 440 / 607ths of the starch is either a simple sugar or a refined carbohydrate; namely 72%. That will certainly get your blood sugar up.
And thirdly 168 calories per cupcake, about 15% of a child's needs for the day; if he or she has butter on it, obviously much more.
Nearly a quarter is in that honey; the suggestion is that because this recipe has no sugar it ticks the right box. It is an opinion only, but coming from a beekeeper I would suggest it has some substance.
Once heated, honey has little merit over sugar; at 2 tsp per cupcake we are close to a third of the carbohydrate recommended for a whole day.
Because of the butternut, carrots and wholewheat these cupcakes have quite a lot going for them; they have quite a lot of fibre, but still firmly steers a child on the road to obesity.
Both 'quick' oats and cake flour should be strictly limited in any person's life, and especially that of a child; most of the bran and germ have been removed.
Here we are looking for coloured foods like berries, beetroot and spinach; add to that tomatoes and butternut and one has many of the required nutrients that the body needs.
It is is interesting that scientists following a group who ate at least 7 coloured food daily for 20 years had a massive 33 percent less all cause of disease; that is massive.
Both for our own well-being, and that of the planet we all need to get more of our protein from beans, peas and lentils; green rather than dried is even better since there are less of the anti-nutrients that many are concerned about.
This lentil with lemon salad ticks all the boxes and, what is more, it takes less than fifteen minutes to prepare from start to finish.
What are legumes sets out our position on the subject in more depth.
Well established guidelines recommend 1 - 3 cups of legumes per week. The antioxidants are one of the reasons why food snobs are not overly fearful of metastatic disease.
They are particularly important for the diabetic as they help control blood sugar and provide satiety; a sense of elegant sufficiency.
Recommendations are that we eat about 30 grams of fibre per day, but the average Westerner is eating about half of that, which means some are having far less.
Fibre is high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes; it is the fraction of starch that is not digested in the small intestine but instead passes into the colon where the microbiota falls upon it, giving the stool bulk and providing many important compounds for our well-being.
Priobiotics like this easy to make kefir help to provide the bugs that make for the happy tum; less heartburn and constipation.
It is now well established that the chief cause of obesity is not fat but refined carbohydrate. It is the sugar in colas and cookies, the cake flour in most home-baked goods and white rice that are the cause of the white plague that is tormenting the Western world; type two diabetes.
Unfortunately that means no supermarket bread; the unrefined loaf can only be had if you grind your own flour and bake for yourself. The initial cost is high, but that is paid off directly in about two years. Add to that you have no need to purchase vitamin E capsules and other supplements and its even worth the expenditure on appliances.
Our artisan sourdough bread definitely calls into question the food snob or epicure debate. The taste is so good that like freshly ground coffee, you will never go back to the fake offered by the supermarkets.
To summarise, with a little imagination and time, this food snob reckons one can enjoy the wholesome functional foods that promote our well-being and help prevent disease. I am certain that shortly research will be done on who precisely is succumbing to Covid-19. I will be very surprised if the epicures do not to a large extent escape unscathed.
“Food to a large extent is what holds a society together, and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences.”
Eating, or choosing not to eat good food, is about life and death; it is a deeply spiritual experience. Selecting what we know to be junk off the menu is also one more nail in the coffin. Brother Ass will turn around and bite you.
Choose life is our injunction; the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate. Let us treat our bodies with respect.
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