Sams Digest - Cooking Seasonal

The why and how of cooking seasonal.

Hi friends!

Here it is — my first newsletter. I'm pretty excited, but also a little anxious. Excited, because I love to share my enthusiasm about food and cooking —anxious, because I don't know much about it (yet), and I'm not sure if I can keep up with the habit of sharing these with you regularly. I guess we’ll see! 

We often start the new year with resolutions we won't keep. Here's one I’m going  to try in 2020 — cooking seasonally.. 

Why Cook Seasonal?

Most importantly, it tastes better. If you ever wonder why food tastes so good in your favorite restaurants, it’s because they use local and seasonal ingredients. Fresh and unprocessed produce contain much more flavor and nutrients. Preserved food loses that as time goes on. 

It’ll teach you more about food. Paying attention to the seasons made me discover vegetables I had never tried, and it also taught me a lot about where certain ingredients come from. It makes "boring" seasons like winter much more exciting. For example, winter is the only time when you can eat the amazing Jerusalem Artichoke. This thing honestly deserves an issue dedicated to it — for now, I’ll just share the soup recipe I came up with.

It decreases decision fatigue. Let's face it: having lots of choices sometimes sucks. According to a Harvard study, more isn't always better. We make so many decisions every day that it becomes tiresome to pick what to watch on Netflix, let alone to decide what's for dinner. Limiting your choice to what's in season can be freeing. 

It's not entirely clear whether eating seasonal and local food is better for the world and the environment. Shipping ingredients from far away has a price, but a Cambridge study concluded that it's not that simple —the production of food is often more impactful than the actual shipping and preservation. The study concludes that overconsumption and eating meat have a much more significant impact. I guess we’ll have to make our vegetable-first dishes so delicious that they’ll become part of the "Clean Plate Club". 

So, how do I cook seasonal?

The easiest way to find out what's in season is to buy your things at a local farmer’s market or a sustainable supermarket, as they don’t sell anything else. But if you want to plan ahead, there are many websites that have local information. I listed a few for the various countries my readers are in NL, UK and USA

Bought things without a recipe in mind? No problem. Here are some things you can always make:

1. Soup. It can be as easy as cooking vegetables in broth and blending them —or more complicated if you feel like it. If you've never made a soup without a recipe, this article can get you started.

2. Salad. Most good salads follow a similar format which creates a good balance. Anna Jones wrote a fantastic chapter on this in her book A modern way to eat, of which she published the most important image on her website. If you follow this, I guarantee you that your salad will be great:

3. Quiche. Milk, flour, and eggs are available all year round. Also, quiches are totally underrated — the thing I love most about them is that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day. Here's to reducing overconsumption and having better weekday mornings! This article explains how you can make a quiche from almost anything.

If you like a little more guidance, I recommend a book called Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg. It's a great read that has a ton of recipes for every season and highlights some lesser-known vegetables. 

There’s a lot of great information to be found online, too. The BBC has a good seasonal dishes website, and so does Jamie Oliver

Seasonality might also inspire you to start preserving food — something I'll discuss in a later issue of this newsletter, mostly because I don't have much experience with it yet. 

This became quite a long read, so if you made it all the way here, thanks for reading —I hope you enjoyed it! I’m here to learn, so if you have any feedback, let me know by replying to this email 🤓.

xxx

Sam

Thanks Juan for editing this issue, thanks Jim for giving me the Six Seasons book.

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