Engrams are deep-seated impressions and karmas, things we’ve been carrying around for lifetimes. We all have them, and the only time they’re difficult to perceive is when we’re in the midst of one. Cultures have engrams, too. A cultural engram I see, over and over, is the belief that food which is good for us, cannot possibly taste good.
Back in the late sixties, I had the good fortune of living with a woman who developed an interest in good nutrition. She took that interest to the university level, and, through her initiative, I was guided to a path of continually unfolding understanding of what constitutes “good” nutrition. Some of our contemporaries took similar paths. What made our experience unique was that we simultaneously discovered what we then called “gourmet” cooking. From these apparently divergent interests, came a happy blend of the two, so that my expectation of food which truly promotes good health is that it must taste wonderful, as well as make me feel terrific. The cultural engram is not my experience.
Nearly four decades later, I increasingly see that the meals which most successfully meet those criteria are cooked at home, with love. Occasionally a landmark inspiration occurs, which so successfully fulfills the twin criteria that it becomes a lasting favorite. These will, no doubt, appear at a later date in a cookbook describing this journey. Meanwhile, I’d like to share a few of them with the disbelievers among you — just to offer a taste of what can be. The evolution never ends.
In direct contradiction to the cultural engram described above, the inquisitive cook readily discovers that fresh, organically grown ingredients taste far superior to their commercially grown counterparts. If one were solely interested in the sensory pleasures of food, organic ingredients would be a wise investment — for that reason alone!
Needless to say, that is not the primary focus in our household. We equally appreciate the far more abundant nutrients in organic foods, as well as the absence of herbicides, pesticides, artificial hormones, and the rest of the chemical soup found in foods produced by the agribusiness industry. And we have come to equate these more nutritious foods with a wonderful depth of flavor not found in commercial grains, produce, or animal products. When trying the following recipes, do yourself a favor: use fresh, organic ingredients to experience the full effect of what is being shared!
The fact that you're reading this page, suggests a probability that you're a cook — perhaps a really good cook. Nonetheless, I want to encourage the reader to think outside the box and let the creative juices be stimulated. Forget everything we've been taught about the way things should be. Assemble in the back of your mind some of the newly discovered ingredients found in the following recipes, and give them the freedom to combine in new ways. You may be surprised at how often the result becomes an exciting favorite.
The waffle recipe is a good opportunity to practice nurturing such freedom. Starting with a basic formula for the correct volume of wet ingredients to combine with a given amount of dry ingredients, one can contemplate which ingredients to choose from a list of options you may not have tried — or even heard of.
May you be inspired, nourished, and delighted!
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