Well, I can't tell you how happy that made me feel! Why? Because I know how to have lots of FUN eating raw food and if that was all that was preventing them, well, hey-ho, their problem was about to be solved forever.
Learning this on the call was a real "aha" moment for me. 'Goodness,' thought I. 'There are people suffering out there trying to go raw. This has to end!'.
With this in mind, this issue's article is all about making going raw FUN, DECADENT and ENJOYABLE. How my heart bleeds when people think that raw food = deprivation and "living on a pile of lettuce leaves". (Hollywood actress Amanda Seyfried has been interviewed a lot recently about her raw food diet, which ended up lasting only 5 days apparently! When you look at what she was trying to live on, it's really no wonder - cucumbers and undressed kale for dinner, for example...) Nooooooo! Not this way anyway. Try some of these ideas on for size and see if by the end of it you don't feel as if raw food is WAY MORE fun than you've ever had with food before :)
Where to start with my FUN ways with raw food?
Well, let's begin with looking at the possibilities and then we'll get to some details...
Food can be fun in so many ways. Roast chicken and gravy to me are not fun foods, but give me a raw coconut sundae drizzled with fresh strawberry sauce and sprinkled with edible rose petals, well... now you're talking!
The great thing about raw food is that you really don't have to pfaff about too much. There is no burning or scalding, no sizzling fat to screen your eyes against, no watching the clock or waiting for the buzzer, no cooking times to coincide with military precision : )
Raw food already is fun food, really, when you think about it. That's before you even get to playing with it! Just look at the myriad of shapes, colours, textures and contours of fresh raw foods - from the humble yet juicy tomato through to the exotic and sensually-rich durian fruit. Even the smells are unlike anything you may have come across before when you start dabbling with dehydrating crackers, cookies and burgers.
With so many foods and so little time, there really is no time to waste not having fun with your food! For this reason, I'm going to cut the pre-amble and give you 10 very great ways to have fun with your food, whether it's playful, colourful, tasteful, enjoyable, sensual or downright laughable...
1) When you go shopping (I have been known to do this), put all your shopping on the conveyor belt in rainbow colour order! Start with red and work your way through to purple. Wow, what a sight for all who lay eyes on it - not to mention a conversation starter!
2) When you get home arrange your foods as if you are a child. Line them all up or stack them high. Make full use of their colour. Put matching or opposite shapes and sizes in bowls. Even try the rainbow theme thing again. Challenge yourself to see just how jazzy and colourful you can make your kitchen look simply by ordering things differently.
3) Use cute accessories for eating. Only yesterday I helped my son cut out and stick a monkey face to his drinking straw. Not necessarily what I'm recommending for you (!), but what's to stop you painting or writing something beautiful on your favourite glass, bowl, dish or drinking bottle and making your whole experience a little more visually uplifting?
4) When you plate your food, do it differently. You may be used to serving your salad the same way every night - i.e. lots of lettuce, tomatoes and salady things on top and then maybe a few nuts or seeds or olives. Not next time! Next time it's time to think outside the box. How about cutting things differently, arranging them differently, stuffing things with other ingredients, making sauces in bright colours and splashing them over your salad, making faces on the plate, stacking it up as if building a pyramid, or making a doughnut shape with your green stuff and then packing in the other ingredients all finely chopped up like a stuffing? Needless to say there are limitless ideas to be had and this is not even the tip of the iceberg.
5) Cake, cake, cake! All raw cakes are a lot of fun, both to eat and to make, but some are more fun than others. Also, you might be beyond wanting to eat pure date and nuts all the time... don't think the raw cake game is over for you. Simply move on up to the more sophisticated models such as the cashew/strawberry/coconut torte or the raw chocolate torte laced with raspberry sauce and cashew cream. There is no end to the raw food journey...
6) Ice-cream! One of my biggest passions since childhood. Give me a pot of cool and creamy and I'm in another land far far away... The good news? Raw ice-cream is really sooo much better than the cream, sugar and preservative-rich alternatives. Whether it's pure frozen fruit through a homogenising juicer, or a more imaginative blend of flavours, essences and "chips", raw ice-cream is not just a whole new world, it's a whole new planet.
7) Wrap it up! Raw food wraps can be deliciously decadent done the right way. Whatever shell you use - corn tortilla, nori sheet, lettuce or cabbage leaf, ground flax sheets or whatever, fill them the right way (think textures, tastes and different "mouth feels") and serve with a dipping sauce. Mmmm mmmm mmmm is about all I have to say on that subject!
8) Take it away - in style. We all lead busy lives and we want "raw food to go" usually at least once per day. How do we do that and feel excited by it, without carrying the entire kitchen around on our back or shoulders? Simple. Make sandwiches using a great raw bread recipe, fill them up with yummy fillings that get you every time, pack alongside them some stick thin crudités, a small pot of raw "sour cream", a small airtight box of freshly chopped fruit salad and don't forget the slice of chocolate torte that you're going to make this weekend! The best lunch box EVER!
9) Eat in the bath... I know this flies firmly in the face of the "Don't eat before you get into water" advice, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's great to eat a slippery mango with your fingers while you're buried in bubbles by candlelight ;) Surely it's got to be tried just once in your lifetime. C'mon, you know you want to!
10) Take your food to bed. Sometimes there's nothing better than eating breakfast, lunch or dinner in bed (or finding alternative uses for it if the mood so takes you)... one of the most memorable experiences of my foodie life so far was eating durian for supper in bed while watching "Being John Malkovich" and then waking at 4am to finish it all off. Was I alone in this terribly debaucherous activity? Now that would be telling....
© 2010 Karen Knowler
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