I am drawn to minimalism in every aspect of my life. I can’t get enough of less but better. I’m drawn to empty spaces like a moth to a flame, and I find monochrome palettes so satisfying. I always try to simplify my life in every possible way and my formula is uncomplicated and straight forward: I only keep what I use and a few extra pieces that bring me joy.
In most cases, I combine both.
I try to find items that have a practical application while being aesthetically pleasing at the same time. I don’t need décor. Maybe some wall art or empty vintage gold flames are acceptable because they turn my house into a home, but that’s about it.
And because of that mindset, I choose my belongings wisely. A bottle opener and my perfume is décor to me. They both look fantastic on display and they are two items that are actually being used. A vintage wooden cutlery case holds my makeup while gracing the top of my vanity next to a glass bowl that holds some of my jewellery.
That too is décor.
I’d rather wait for years to find the perfect item than have a quick fix and buy something I don’t absolutely love to satisfy that need. That might be extremely annoying to the ones close to me as I am often impossible. I’d rather sleep on the floor for six months than settle for a bed I did not fell in love with. But that’s a different story, we can have another post about all my negative traits. How much time do you have?
But this is a food story…
Encompassing minimalism to my eating habits was an unconscious occurrence. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t try to change my thought patterns, so for me, it wasn’t a challenge. It’s just who I am. But if you struggle with your journey to food minimalism the following pointers may help you, or inspire you to find your own ways.
1 Unprocessed ingredients.
Less is more applies here too. Less process more flavour. Your taste buds adjust and you’ll see I’m right and I’m gonna be all ‘I told you so’.
2 Seasonal and local.
Food doesn’t have to travel miles and miles to get to you. If you chose to eat seasonally you ensure a healthy variety of ingredients.
If you choose local, you get fresh products while boosting your selfish altruism. Take a bow.
3 Five ingredient meals.
I’ve had my fair share of working at world-class restaurants as a chef and I can tell you right now that the most praised dishes were the simplest ones. Let’s make it into a fun challenge: Next time you are cooking, open your cupboards and pick five ingredients only. Oil, salt and pepper don’t count. Try to simplify meals you have prepared before, or make something entirely new.
For some reason, cooking food has acquired some elements of elitism. People use the word ‘gourmet’ all the time, people make remarks about meals as if they are on a panel judging contestants, while the cooking shows and “rock-star” chefs (sense the tone) have been drawing so much attention to rare ingredients and out of season vegetables that I think we’ve lost the point.
The point: We eat because we are hungry. Right?
It can be fun too, but let’s take a step back and remind ourselves that the point of food is to nourish and satiate hunger. Food is not, nor should it be a way of feeling superior, because your spice rack is more sophisticated than someone else’s. Food is not a reward (unless you are a dog, in which case sincere apologies) and food is not a way to counter a dull moment. But above all, and I cannot stress this enough:
Food has nothing to do with your status, or quality as a person.
You are not better than anyone else just because you express opinions about that French onion tart which has the perfect ratio of umami. Thank you.
I’m gonna have chickpeas on toast today. Will you join me?
CHICKPEAS ON TOAST
Time: 10 minutes prep 15 minutes cooking
1 medium-sized baguette, preferably whole grain
2 cups chickpeas, precooked (or canned)
1 large onion
1 cup tomato puree
¼ cup green olives, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Roughly chop the onion while you are heating the oil in a pan. Sauté seasoning with salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes before adding the chickpeas to the pan. Toss to coat with all the flavours from the pan and pour in the tomato sauce. Give it a quick taste to see if you need more salt and pepper.
If I haven’t just preached about the 5 ingredient rule on this post I would have probably used thyme here as well. Dammit.
Let the sauce simmer and thicken while you toast the bread.
Serve dollops of the chickpea mix on the bread, top with olives and serve warm.
I ended up garnishing mine with a few chopped up basil leaves that I had lying in the fridge. It tasted good and otherwise they would go to waste.
After all, food minimalism, as all forms of minimalism is not about blindly following certain rules. It’s about intentionally working with what you have and adjusting to each given situation.
Until the next one,