Eat like an Italian...in season.
Mid-week in my local supermarket, like millions of others, I’m dashing around with a list and also buying many items I don’t need.
Simon Rimmer on TV recently, highlighted a problem I often face: a cupboard full of food and still not knowing what to cook, to infuriatingly discover I still need to go out and shop for more ingredients!
Year round, on autopilot, I buy items like strawberries and spring greens, but how mad is it that we keep buying food so out of season? And I wonder why fruit in the U.K is mostly tasteless… why citrus is often dried out, or spring greens not their Springiest? It’s because we’re not shopping how we used to shop; straight from Farm-to-table, how we ought to shop. It’s tasteless because produce sits in cold storage for months before it even gets to our local supermarkets shelves. It’s how almost every kind of produce is so readily available, and we consumers are blindly buying greater quantities of produce, regardless of seasonality. It’s crazy.
At lunchtimes I often buy Pret pre-sliced Mangoes in a plastic pot. They’re always underripe, barely reminiscent of what I love most about mangoes; the unmistakeable lush perfumed characteristic of what a mango really is.
Loving food and cooking it is one thing, but how can we cherish the seasonality of food more? We can’t all go by the Almanac of what to eat and it’s going to be hard to kick my out of season avocado habit, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to shop more conscientiously.
We Brits are facing a food crisis! We’re overeating and wasting food at the same time.
By valuing our food more, treating it with the respect it deserves, I think we could make significant changes to both our health, the environment and our overall happiness.
Whilst ‘(at)Tempting Italian’ I’m going to make it my mission to celebrate the exciting flavours of what’s in season.
Ask any Italian and you’ll find Food is central to their existence. It’s intrinsically connected to most, culturally and emotionally, but why? Is it because Italian food is more traceable, recipes are passed down generations with understandable ingredients? Or is it because it’s just simply, delicious? I can’t say I’ve ever really felt very passionately about the provenance of baked beans on toast in the same way before.
In a recent study about Italians and how they feel about food, for a huge majority (76% of respondents) base food quality on its characteristic, especially its seasonality and don’t base quality on just appearance and flavour. It goes without saying, that organic farming principals are also high on the agenda.
Unsurprisingly, almost all of the other decision factors about their foods are based on provenance; In Italian it’s provenienza, from Latin provenire. Something that’s apparent in how we choose our food, is the story behind it. Now, more than ever, we want to know more about what we’re eating, and a food story will always last much longer than the moment a morsel lasts on our lips. These stories, inspire, energise and engage us.
Supermarkets, often fabricate a narrative on our food packets; making us feel touchy feely about our food, but interest in the provenance of our produce is increasing.
I’m currently collaborating with new Italian food brand: Rosso Rappa, whose produce is truly traceable and I’m really looking forward to going on a journey, learning more and sharing their food stories with you.