Drizzle Cruets Gourmet

Drizzle Cruets Gourmet

Archive for February, 2014

Olive Oil Is Essential For A Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The way food is viewed in the Mediterranean is that one eats to live; not that one lives to eat. Food is not to be obsessed about, made faster, or cheaper. It is to be enjoyed as part of life.  Yes, the Mediterranean diet is noted for and made up by the ingredients, but the Mediterranean diet is about the philosophy beyond the plate. Food is a part of culture and indicates a quality of life, as it sustains one and their loved ones. Various cultures that span the globe and time all have a phrase that boils down to being interpreted as “hand-flavor”. The phrase deems itself unappetizing, but it speaks to the thoughts, emotions, and that part of self that goes into the making of a dish.

Savory, that word should describe the food eaten and the life lived. It is an expression of self, and a symbol of loved ones. Food sustains life, and life should be a celebration of itself.  Every celebration has great food, an event that nourishes body and soul. A meal is meant to be so much more than sustenance on a plate, it is to be a time to enjoy a blissful part of the day with the ones you love in the journey of life.

With meat considered either a savory side dish or a decadent main course reserved for special occasions, the Mediterranean diet is all about the fresh produce and is a regional affair. Seasonal and local, outdoor markets offer a brilliant array of bright, fresh, and succulent vegetables that outshine much of America’s produce. In spring you have cherries, spinach, green beans, spring peas, wild greens, wild mushrooms, and zucchinis.  Summer brings with it cantaloupes, eggplants, figs, onions, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, and watermelons. Best of all is the grape harvest, with some grapes being reserved whole. The rest are pressed into wine, with even pigeage, or grape stomping, occurring occasionally. It is at this time of year, near the end of summer in the early autumn, that olives are harvested and pressed, yielding the Mediterranean’s prized olive oil. Also harvested are persimmons and pomegranates, consumed often as desert with other assorted fresh fruits.

While the individual ingredients may vary from country to country in the Mediterranean, there are key similarities and flavors that are shared.  The heavy use of olive oil for healthy fats and fresh produce year round. Herbs prominently favored in seasoning are basil, garlic, onions, oregano, parsley, and tomatoes. Lemon and pancetta (non-smoked bacon), often garnish the meals presented in the Mediterranean diet. These similarities have been shared and endure despite time and cultural differences.

Though frequently overshadowed by pasta, bread, often dipped in olive oil, is another staple. Traditionally, bread is dark, full of grains, and substantial enough to weigh several pounds. Even notorious pastas, various incarnations of rice, and a polenta cornmeal mix are all brimming with the vitamins and health benefits found in whole grains. Very unlike the soft, white, refined, and less healthy packaged breads commonly consumed by American consumers.  Yet, there is more to the Mediterranean diet than meets the taste buds.

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