chopped tomato (3)For years I’ve been promoting the KISS (keep it simple sweetheart) method of cooking. No fancy techniques, delicious meals mostly ready in 30 minutes or less, no ingredients that are hard to come by… Very much along the lines of “life’s too short to stuff a mushroom” in the words of Shirley Conran.

So why did I find myself peeling and de-seeding tomatoes this week? I was doing it before I thought about it! It’s very easy of course, just plunge the tomatoes in boiling water leave for a minute, make a little snick in the skin and then plunge into cold water – et voila you can peel the skin off fine and dandy! But why?! For the dish I was making – A Mediterranean Vegetable Medley to accompany the Cod and Leek Soupe – it was nice not to have the skin or the extra juice. Is it essential? absolutely not!

But it’s interesting. Food IS prepared differently here, even just on a day to day basis. Not better, not worse, just differently. More classic techniques are used but frites are ubiquitous – there is a friterie (a chip van) in every village and it is “de rigeur” (the done thing) to buy the chips there to go with the evening meal…that was something of a revelation!

Other differences are the measures used. And this fascinates me as I move from the UK to the US to France to…? The spoons that are used as standard measures are all different. Here in France the key ones are a coffee spoon and a soup spoon whereas in the UK it would be a tea spoon and a desert spoon and in the US although it is also a tea spoon it is a larger spoon than in the UK and the next measure up is a table spoon which is a similar size to a UK desert spoon! isn’t it fun!!! I actually like the coffee spoon and soup spoon measure – a coffee spoon is much easier than 1/2 a teaspoon!

And there is none of the fear of fat that there is in the UK and US. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of this fat is not what I’d call healthy or what I’d call pleasant (lumps of lard leave me cold!) but at least it is good that all parts of the animals are used rather than wasted. And there is NOT the obesity problem here that there is in the UK and US…

Also, weight loss here does not involve named “diets” it is a question of portion control…still steak and frites, still the occasional patisserie, still wine but maybe just one glass – moderation but not deprivation. Unfortunately there is more of a trend towards fast food restaurants and therefore a rise in obesity, especially child obesity, but still not to the level that it is in US or UK.

So, whilst I really don’t want to start stuffing mushrooms…for now I am happy to go back to my chef training and peel and seed the tomatoes, cook lots of endives and leeks, use butter in everything and spend hours poring over recipe books (not necessarily to use the recipes but for pure pleasure and for the challenge of translating the French!)

Food is good, wine is cheap and good….c’est la vie! Vive la difference!

So what has this taught me that I’d like to share?

  • Follow your bliss…do what you enjoy even if it isn’t what you expect of yourself!
  • Be interested in differences and diversity rather than searching for conformity
  • Have fun, life is for living
  • Be really absorbed in whatever you are doing and it truly becomes a meditation

If any of this resonates check out my programme Breakthrough to Personal Transformation

cod & leek soupe with mediterranean veg medley (1)And would you like those recipes – Mediterranean Vegetable Medley and Cod & Leek Soupe? It’s a thick, full meal soup…hence I called it soupe! And delicious. If so just click here