“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

My daughter is studying in the Provence region of France this semester. Like her mother, she has taken to blogging her experience there–the people, architecture, school, travels, and mostly the FOOD.

It seems to me that the French have the right perspective about food; it is meant to be savored. Her pictures of local markets featuring bins of fresh produce and an extraordinary array of cheeses and olives, leaves me drooling. Her photos of meals, vibrant with the color of perfectly sautéed vegetables arranged in the most pleasing way on her plate, makes me want to run to the supermarket and load up on as many different kinds of produce that they offer.

I am amazed, also, at the kinds of food she has learned to enjoy. Rabbit, muscles, and lots of fish. She says she has learned to eat anything, and everything, and is amazed that she has lost weight since she got there (even though she is very thin).

This is the third time she has been to France. The first time–when she was 15 years old–she came back and shared her meal experiences she had living as a mother’s helper for her French cousins who just had their third child. I grilled her about all the details and tried to replicate the experience at home. While I was not able to build in the 2-hour sit down lunches, I was able to make some essentials changes around my relationship with food.

  1. I made sure the food I selected was full of nutrients–that my plate was always healthy, delicious, and satisfying.
  2. I developed the art of food presentation. I learned how to lay out the meal on my plate (or plates) in a way that highlighted each particular type of food in a very simple way.
  3. I learned to actually taste my food by eating slowly and not distracting myself with reading, television, etc. I felt like the food was to be appreciated, and the farmers and growers who helped supply the food were to be respected.
  4. Most importantly, I learned how to cook nutrient-based food that agrees with my body. A few years ago, I went to France and spent the whole week avoiding the enticing loaves of bread and croissants because I am gluten-intolerant. It was okay because I was able to enjoy so many other delicious dishes that were available.

I would like to encourage you to review your relationship with food. Do you actually taste it? Does it satisfy you? Does it make you feel healthy and energized? Do you know how to cook nutrient-based foods that are appropriate for your body?

Q: What is your relationship with food?