I eat in color, in scent, in texture, in seasonality, in fully embodied sensuality. I eat with my palate attuned to the pulse of what my body needs, which usually encompasses what my heart and mind demand. I eat with the knowledge that food has the power to nourish, restore, and awaken. Above all, I eat with the belief that discovering the rhythms of nature, of my own body, and of my own kitchen can be genuinely fun.
These instincts were born during my childhood on the island of Maui, where most of the fruits and veggies we ate came from the land and orchards surrounding our house. Though I no longer have access to such bounty outside my front door, my childhood instilled in me a commitment to eating close to the land. It also equipped me with a will to experiment with flavor, with what is in season, and with a way of eating that is in tune with nature whenever possible.
My Weekly Ritual
Every week, I allow myself the exquisite pleasure of walking five minutes to my neighborhood farmers’ market. Drawn in by colors and scents, I am keen to what’s fallen out of season and to the fullness of what’s just arriving. Culinary inspiration comes through the simplicity of meditating on the textures and tastes in front of me.
Whenever I can, I talk to the farmers. I like to know how their figs are growing, how much longer fennel will be around, and how the drought is affecting their crops. I don’t have my own garden, so these stewards of the land are the gatekeepers to my nourishment—and to the state of the global food climate. I walk home grateful for a bounty that will sustain me and the loved ones I feed for the coming week.
Though my morning routine changes often, there is one perennial staple: What I like to call the Superfood Porn Smoothie. Despite my dedication to seasonal eating, bananas are one unseasonal indulgence.
I demand frozen bananas for this smoothie, which is made entirely of whole, raw superfoods. Spirulina, nuts, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon cozy up in the blender for a treat that tastes like ice cream but delivers tons of omega fatty acids, plant proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
Spirulina is my ride-or-die in the superfood department: a blue-green algae that purifies blood, clears skin, tones the internal organs, and provides high levels of nutrients, minerals, and amino acids. The taste can be intense—and some avoid spirulina altogether for that reason—but I prefer to mask it with other strong flavors. I swear the Superfood Porn Smoothie does the job.
Because I work from home, I also eat at home quite frequently. Simple yet hearty one-bowl meals I can throw together in under 15 minutes are a favorite. The one above is a version of my Brown Rice Veggie Bowl with Miso Tahini Sauce & Sauerkraut. Both miso and sauerkraut are probiotic-rich fermented foods that help cultivate happy digestive flora and a thriving immune system.
Of course, on occasion I dally into the realm of an über cheesy quesadilla in my toaster oven, smothering in avocado, salsa, sour cream, and a prayer that no one is watching me scarf it down.
Though I love luxuriating in a meal out, a favorite dinner (or any-time-of-day) option is a big bowl of take-out ginger fish pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. Flush with fresh basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, ginger, and flaky white fish, there are few things more comforting.
Dessert (aka Play Time!)
While I find tremendous elegance in eating simply, I also believe in the power of kitchen play as a panacea for the soul. For me, culinary whimsy transpires in the push and pull of butter and flour, cream and spice, fruits and flowers. The Peach Galette with Honey Vanilla Pistachio Brittle & Cardamom Rose Whipped Cream below is one sumptuous result of such experimentation.
Though most don’t think of baking as a prime exploratory space, I like to use the blank canvas of a galette, quiche, or even a simple piece of toast as a tabula rasa for flavor. Freestyling in the kitchen has strengthened my intuition as both a cook and an eater. I thrive on the mistake made, the alchemy of taste and scent discovered, and the comfort of trying old things in new ways. Just as nature intended.
This is the way I eat.