The lost art of savouring our food

Are we guilty of gulping down our meals in order to get on with the next activity?

Are we guilty of gulping down our meals in order to get on with the next activity…or do we savour our food slowly while enjoying each mouthful?

My friend Lesia revisited France this past summer and returned exclaiming that the French still have such reverence for food. As they settle down at the table the first few minutes are spent contemplating the presentation and asking such questions as where the cheese was produced or what herbs were used in the preparation of the appetizer. Only then are the utensils lifted and the tasting begun.

This is not about food snobbery but shows a profound  respect for the whole process of planning and consuming meals. On the other hand, my food writer friends tell me that the French are entrenched in a fossilized style of culinary arts. A new generation is rising that has created a reform movement called Le Fooding. This younger generation is fiercely challenging the snobbery surrounding  French food while still embracing the idea of food as a pleasure, something to discuss and enjoy.

So here we are on the other side of the pond where many of us select our foods with a totally different criteria.  We may ask “Is the recipe simple?” “Can we cook it in less than 30 minutes?” These are valid questions, especially for families where parents are working and time is a precious commodity.

Perhaps our dining habits just need a bit of tweaking. There is nothing more pleasant than having all family members sit down to the meal at the same time. It creates a sense of celebration and is likely the best opportunity that busy people have to develop the idea of family togetherness. It is also an opportunity to discuss the ingredients used in preparing the meal, encourage the discussion of  these flavours and help youngsters to appreciate the production of food. If you were raised in a family where the art of slow eating was entrenched then you received a precious gift. It is never too late to adjust one’s eating habits and pass the gift along to others.

Potato Wedges are divine! If your youngsters are old enough to help with chopping foods this is a great way to involve them in the fun of meal

preparation.  It is also a slick way to use up odds and ends in the fridge. Take two pounds of white or sweet potatoes, a half cup of olive oil, some salt and fresh garlic. Try thyme, sage or rosemary for extra flavour.  Wedge-cut the potatoes and toss them in with the herbs and the oil. Roast uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 40 min. or less if you are using yams or sweet potatoes. An over ripe tomato or a bit of dried up cheese lurking in the back of the fridge can greatly add to the taste.