Thursday, October 16, 2008

foraging for food

When hunting for food I find that farmer’s markets have no comparable equivalent and I decidedly want to support their activity for many reasons. But besides the Saturday morning lively market place, I have a few other places I will keep returning to as I can trust they’ll undoubtedly carry this very special ingredient on my latest recipe find. Among them is Whole Foods. It’s a great source of inspiration for those new, different, unusual ingredients I was referring to yesterday.

Entering into Fall is a special moment for me. It’s harvest time with the treasures of nature fully matured and ready for the table. Fruit in abundance ripened all Summer long by the tirelessly blazing sun until the fragile skin bursts and lets out the sweet nectar of life. The time where all Seasons suddenly make sense.

One of my favorite things is that fall yields so many varieties of Squash. I am completely fascinated by Squash. The colors and shapes inspire me: they’re beautiful and the way they grow in the garden is intriguing, almost poetic. I love them and want to try them all.

So on my last visit to Whole Foods I discovered a squash I had never encountered before: the Hubbard Squash. Beautiful and oddly shaped, with a mysterious green skin hiding what I could only envision of the flesh beneath. What color could it be hiding? It was a deep yellow. The taste was unbelievably nutty (much more so than the butternut squash), dense and sweet. I enjoyed it the simplest way possible: steamed with a drizzle of olive oil. As I am still experimenting, there will certainly be more to come on the various ways of enjoying squash.

There you go: my best example of where to go to find variations and diversity. Whole Foods is a great start. Go to their site, click on store locator and give it a try next time you find yourself bored as can be on a Sunday afternoon.

There’s a lot to be tempted about. They have a great selection of fruit and vegetables, organic locally sourced specials and if you’re not so much into raw ingredients, take a look at the refrigerated section and pick a yoghurt that advertises all types of ferments and active cultures and chances are you’re in for a sweet and tangy healthy treat. Their bread aisle is also fantastic…so many things to try French lean breads, creamy ciabattas or whole grain seed-crowded loaves. It’s all there.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get cooking.


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