I have recently spent a lot of time collating and codifying my recipes because after forty years of haphazardly collecting them it was a job that urgently needed doing. Conscious that some of my work may be rather old fashioned and not in line with modern dietary practice I was literally taking each one out and re-examining them for health heresies. Were they all full of gluten, saturated in cream, greasy with animal fat, totally lacking in vegetable content and containing fatal doses of salt? The answer to all of the above was a resounding no. Gluten was present when required, dairy produce likewise, meat products a minority presence, vegetables dominant and salt usage dramatically reduced over the years. The only absence was of superfoods which will only ever feature by accident.
What is the food I cook full of? Freshness for one, seasonality for two, balance for three, sensible regard for ethical and ecological questions of provenance for four and I profoundly hope good taste to round them off. Is my food healthy? As a whole I believe so, there are certainly dishes in my repertoire that are definitely not and should only be eaten as an occasional treat but the vast majority are balanced and mostly good for you. Why? Because I do not exclude things when some hare brained unqualified dietician tells me too or a film star has the crack pot idea that cavemen ate well and then tells me to exclude all grains and cultivated plants. A balanced healthy diet should contain as many different types of food in the correct proportions as possible. We should eat less meat and buying that which is of better quality and ethically reared. We should definitely eat more fresh fish but taking care to only buy from sources that are not raping the marine environment. We should eat more good quality vegetables and fruit, not as a penance but joyfully in their respective seasons and in delicious dishes such as ratatouille, not in stark assemblages of vegetation. We should eat sugary foods in great moderation for pleasure and energy. We should pack as much fat into our children’s diet as we can because a growing child needs over twenty percent of their food to be fat. We should only ever exclude anything from our daily diet because a qualified and practicing doctor personally tells us to do so for medical reasons or for matters of conscience. We should carefully apply salt where it will do most good and we should make full use of the wonderful panoply of spices and seasonings available to us. We should never cut out carbohydrates altogether instead reducing them to sensible levels, to do this you will need to cut out virtually all processed foods instead only eating fresh home cooked produce.
Enough shoulds. What I should do is put my money where my mouth is and put the above rant into practice by making precisely that sort of food for Byalastairlittle.