Real Food

What does “real food” mean to me?

Confronted by such a seemingly simple question posed by the Real Food Blog on Yahoo, I found myself at a loss for words. Technically, anything edible could be considered “real” by the fact that it’s physically there, tangible, and therefore part of our reality… But I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not as easy as that. If you had asked me this a week or two ago, I might have hemmed and hawed over the validity of this assumption, and then talked about chemically enhanced and modified food and how they don’t qualify for various reasons… And while this is still true in my eyes, being forced to scrape together the most minimal meals thanks to constraints on budget, time, and availability, “real food” has now taken on new meaning to me. Eating my way through boxes of questionable carbohydrates, the ambiguity of those contents left me hungry- Both physically and mentally- For something of true substance.

When you can look at a cooked or raw dish, any dish, and identify the individual components- That’s real food. If you look into some cold metal can, puzzle over the indistinguishable shapes and smells, well, that’s something else entirely. Even if these ingredients are all natural, vegan, “healthy”… How could it possibly be real if you can’t even figure out it’s true identity? Still, that definition is rather shallow and unsatisfying in my mind. Real food is something that you know where it came from, has a story, has a history, means something to the eater beyond simple sustenance. Anyone can make something borderline edible and take energy from it, live a full and happy life, but to have food that you can enjoy and appreciate, that you can trace back through generations or even just through your own hands and the creativity borne of your own mind… That’s the kind of “real food” that I want to eat. Food doesn’t just happen- It’s a process, and if you remove yourself from that process, then who’s to say that the materials going into your mouth and body truly are what they claim, and can be considered “real”?

That’s what I think.

And maybe I’m not so far from the truth, seeing as the above photo of mine is now featured as Real Food Image of the Week! How exciting!

9 thoughts on “Real Food

  1. I completely agree – if you need a dictionary or a chemistry book to decipher the contents of your meal, then it is NOT real food. Real food is simple, delicious, wholesome, and appealing; and my oh my, that rocky road brownie photo of yours is QUITE appealing!!! congratulations for having it featured as the Real Food Image of the Week!! :0D

  2. Congrats on getting your photo as the Real Food image of the week. Of course, they could have used ANY of your food photos if you ask me. They all look wonderful and they all are real. But still, it’s nice that someone else noticed and featured you. I hope you are prepred to become a celebrity! :)

  3. You go girlfriend! When i saw this picture, it made my mouth water! Yummy! I can’t wait to get your book! Congrats on getting your picture on real food!

  4. I think real food is food where ingredients are allowed to shine. The more confidence you have in your food, the more you allow yourself to strip away layers of adornment, artificiality, enhancers, etc. That’s not a great definition, but you know what I’m saying!

  5. Um, YUM!!! I agree with the above notes, all your photos could be chosen for Real Food. Congrats on the new book — I can’t wait for it to be released!

  6. I totally agree with you. As being Italian, I’m used to simple real foods, real food is as it is given by nature, without all the junk that are sweeteners, artificial and natural flavourings and colours. We are starting the new junk food era in Italy too, and I hate it.

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