Hallelujah, dining al fresco has finally arrived! Everything tastes better outside, in the fresh air, don’t you agree? It’s all about hitting the Sensory Sweet Spot – a perfectly balanced stimulation of the five senses (my definition). A little wine and cheese in your kitchen? Nice. A little wine and cheese on your deck, alongside pots of beautiful, fragrant flowers, perhaps birdsong overhead, perhaps some favorite tunes, on a balmy summer’s eve? Oh yeah, you want to die it’s so perfect.
Simple foods taste best outdoors, otherwise that sensory balance is completely whacked. (Have you ever been full, sweaty, and sleepy at a picnic? We all have, and it sucks.) Grilled meat or fish, crisp salads, fresh fruit desserts – nothing too hot or heavy. The goal is not exactly cozy, but clean and light and of course, delicious.
That said, my family doesn’t dig eating outdoors nearly as much as I do. The kids fret over every bug, John likes to eat as fast as possible and be done with it…but I don’t care. I’m happy to sit there alone and savor the experience, it’s rare (in Minnesota) and entirely lovely. Maybe tonight I can pull off grilling a piece of salmon and recreating the killer couscous with dill vinaigrette I enjoyed (twice) at the Post Ranch in Big Sur (yes, I’m still obsessing about it). If I achieve nailing it down, I’ll post the recipe. Stay tuned…
Moderate it: look for whole-grain couscous; I’ve found it at Whole Foods.
Heidi - thank you for the lovely note, I'm so glad that you wrote it! Made my day/week/year! I am totally thrilled that you're enjoying fresh, healthy food. (And nice job on the exercise routine - I'm impressed by and jealous of your motivation!) So many women grow up thinking food=evil, deprivation=good - your daughter is very lucky to have you for a mother, setting a healthy, balanced example. (Not to mention, feeding a child healthy, whole foods is incredibly satisfying, in a pretty much selfish sort of way, nice little bonus, ha.) Again, thanks for the kind note, I really appreciate it, Stephanie
I've been checking out your blog since I heard about it on Cities 97 one day on my way to work. I am normally not one to read, much less comment on a blog, but I wanted to let you know how much your blog has inspired me.
Shortly after the New Year, I decided to try to make a lifestyle change...I'm trying not to think of it as a diet:) I have always loved food and wasn't quite sure how to reconcile my need to lead a healthier life with my love for food. Reading your blog has reinforced that I DON'T need to deprive myself and that all things CAN be enjoyed in moderation. I find myself craving fresh, colorful food and challenging myself to try new and different things. I am happy to report that not only have I lost some weight, but I am now running 12 to 15 miles a week. Most importantly, I feel GREAT and I know I am teaching my 3 year old daughter good habits.
So, thank you for inspiring me. What you have written has really resonated with me and I appreciate it.
With gratitude, Heidi