Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Euro-eating...yes, bring on the bread, cheese and wine PLEASE!

Sounds somewhat funny, but I figured the term "Euro-eating" (and more likely 'bread, cheese, and wine') would surely grab your all's attention! So as I mentioned in last Friday's post, I thought it'd be worthwhile to dish a little on what European, in this case French, eating means and why it can be both MORE pleasurable and more healthful than the typical Western/Americanized style of stuffing our faces. In this case, less really is more.
In reading the latest issue of Gourmet magazine over the weekend, I came across a wonderful account of an American writer, who eases the reins a bit and eats her way through Paris...happily. She writes, "I realized for the first time that pleasure makes moderation possible."
Halle-freaking-lujah! I love this quote (I also love Ruth Riechl, the masterful culinary editrix behind Gourmet). Anyway, the quote holds alot of truth. When we let go of eating for every reason under the sun aside from simple goodness and enjoyment (whether it's out of stress, a never-ending string of crazy diet fads, or out of extremely harried convenience), all the pleasure and fun is sucked right out of food. And then we end up eating wayyy more than our waistlines bargained for.
Consuming small amounts of really flavorful, fresh, well-prepared food allows you to savor it...and not need seconds, or thirds. That's taking the clutch and putting our 'super-size' culture in reverse.
To highlight a personal example, I'll throw it back to my recent vacation. I was lucky enough to spend some time in St. Barts, a French island in the Caribbean. I indulged in lounging on gorgeous beaches, swimming in water so blue it was piercing, and taking in a week of plain old relaxing. I also indulged in exploring the French-influenced groceries, markets and bakeries around town. And yes, I whole-heartedly got on the bandwagon of having small amounts of fresh-baked bread, incredible cheese, and refreshing rose` wine on a frequent, if not daily basis. I balanced things out with lots of fresh fruits, veggies and fresh-caught seafood as well as some ridiculously tasty plain "naturale" yogurt -- European yogurt tends to only be sold in 4oz containers...as opposed to our 6oz servings here in the US (which confirms my point that less is often more). And you know what, I felt fantastic and rocked a bikini all week long.
Longing for something a little more European and seasonal when I returned home, I decided to make the trip to Fort Greene in Brooklyn this past Sunday to check out iCi, an adorable French-style bistro with a killer outdoor garden that serves up seasonal, local fare. I'd been wanting to go for a while and it was well worth the trip. One last nod to my summertime fave, I shared a watermelon-feta salad and poached eggs and grits with a teensy bit of truffle sauce (amazing!).
So what's your take on Euro-eating? What foods do you find the most pleasure in?

lunch at iCi in Brooklyn!

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