Hello, again


There is something to be said for the way food connects us, guides us, moves us. What we eat often dictates our moods, our anxieties, our energy. How we eat, whether at a table with family or in a car on the way to work, says a lot about how we interact with the world. Some people love eating delicious meals, others eat only for sustinence. There are people who don't eat meat, who only eat meat, who eat like a caveman, who swear off gluten and dairy, who eat organic, who mourn twinkies. Most people feel very strongly about food.  We get defensive, assertive, judgemental. Food science is always in flux, and often times promotes eating fortified cereals rather than an apple. Food is always confusing and always relevant.

For me, only when I started cooking did I learn to truly delight in food. Although I live in Los Angeles, my parents grew up in Iraq and I learned how to eat from them. In our culture, as in many non-Western cultures, food is a central part of family life. When possible we would eat at a table, together. There are usually grains or legumes, meat, and tons of vegetables at every shared meal. When we sat for dinner -- since lunch was always reserved for school or work -- we sat for hours eating, talking, arguing, laughing. Meals were relaxed, never rushed. I was a vegetarian from 18 until 26, with a year as a vegan and a summer eating meat. When I was 27 I decided to become what Michael Pollan calls a "flexatarian," which involves eating mostly plants (vegetables, fruits, intact grains, legumes) and sometimes organic, pastured meats and wild fish. When I travel I try anything at least once. Generally, I stay away from processed foods, but still eat chocolate and baguettes, sometimes together. A cup of coffee every morning. And most of the time I don't stress about it. Everyone is different, and this is what has been working best for me. Sometimes I will eat things that are probably not in my best interest, and I usually make bad decisions when I'm really hungry. But I'm only human. I'm okay with that.

When I started this blog in 2009, I was just beginning to interpret and understand what food meant to me. I was very interested in how food culture had changed over centuries and from culture to culture; and how food politics affected what I purchased. So, here I am, once again to motivate myself, and hopefully inspire others, to delight in food and everything that surrounds it; that is, life.

And remember,

if you add a little lemon

it'll probably taste better.