In Praise of Simple Food

By Elise Franck

Steam rises from the pan. One more stir, and they’re done. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple stir-fry of fresh veggies–with a dash of red pepper, of course.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work on an organic farm for the past few summers and even luckier to be able to take home some of what we’ve grown.  There’s deep satisfaction in harvesting produce that you’ve put so much effort and heart into, there’s no relaxing like relaxing after a hard day working under the sun and it has given me a new appreciation for food. These are a few of the many reasons I love my job. Real food right out of the good black earth, touched only by my hands before reaching my plate.

I didn’t learn this appreciation overnight. The first couple times I tried to cook with nothing but vegetables and not a lot of spices, I only finished what I made because I was starving after long days of farm work. After, I immediately reached for a cheesy, pre-packaged snack. However, produce kept coming home with me and it wasn’t going to eat itself, so I kept grudgingly reaching for the recipe book.

At some point, something clicked. Maybe it was because I realized I felt good, from my feet to my muscles, guts, and head when I ate more produce and less grocery store food. Maybe it was when I realized I was having fun with cooking, experimenting, tasting and creating. Maybe it was just the simple pride of getting to eat what I’d grown and share it with my family. Now when I get home from work, I eagerly unpack whatever delicious things came home with me before I even look at anything else.

There’s no substitute for good, simple food. Yes, we’re wired to love lots of sugar, salt and fat, but underneath that programming we only need the basics. When you pare back to the basics and feed yourself well, the results are something beautiful.

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