Grilling season has come early to my house. Grilled Radicchio last week and Grilled Cauliflower Steaks this week. That’s partly because I’m putting an effort into eating less meat these days. I’m not saying that I’d ever give up on meat entirely, but I’ve been reading the new book from Sam Kass, the Obama’s White House chef, Eat a Little Better and some of its lessons have really rubbed off on me. Especially his philosophy on how to enjoy eating meat in a manner that’s good for your body and mindful of the planet. I’m sure you’ll see some of his opinions about eating meat parroted back on these pages soon.
But lately, I’ve been concentrating on ways to take vegetables to the center of the plate. Because (as paraphrased from Kass) the one single thing we can do to “eat a little better” is to eat more fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter what kind, where they’re from, or how they’re grown either. Idealists will claim that the answer to our health woes lies in the organic, seasonal, and local produce we buy at our farmer’s markets. But the truth is that most folks are like me, we do most of our shopping at the supermarket. There are plenty of reasons for this, the convenience not being the least of them. So it’s easy (again if you’re like me) to stand in the produce aisle and worry over every purchase you make. Certain that you’re ruining the world as well as your health if you buy the asparagus from Peru that may or may not have been grown with pesticides and fertilizers. As Kass says, “In the quest to do better and stress out less, let’s acknowledge this encouraging truth: as long as you’re eating more vegetables – yes, even if they’re not organic or are flown in from far away – you’re doing better for your health and the planet’s.”
So eat more vegetables. Make them the center of your meal more than you used to. And while you’re at it forget all that worry about GMO’s, in true Obama style Kass relies on science to put all those fears to rest. In the most succinct explanation I’ve come across he plainly says that GMO technology “sounds like the plot of a sci-fi thriller, but there isn’t a single credible study that shows that GMO’s are dangerous to eat”. Which isn’t to say that GMO’s are the perfect answer. There are still issues with seed diversity and soil health (among others) that need to be worked out. We should address these issues rather than dismiss the process entirely. Kass says, “As climate change accelerates, food will become much more difficult to grow. Gene-editing technology might help with that, so I think it’s wise to keep it as a tool in the toolbox.”
But that’s a post for another day. Today the subject is cauliflower. Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Grapefruit, Watercress, and Pecans. GREG
I received a review copy of Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World by Sam Kass, all opinions are my own.