The Way We Eat

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So, there has been lots of talk over here about food, but very little show-and-tell. I have been encouraged by a few friends and (friend) readers to write about food here in this space. Let’s try it out!
We love food, we love to cook, and we are passionate about food ethics. So, how do we eat?… This seems like the most logical first question to answer.We try our best to eat with the seasons, and to buy food that is organic and humanely produced. Also, we follow a somewhat paleo diet. This is for a number of reasons– a combination of food allergies (Jeff and Amelia) and an auto-immune disease (me) and some other things that bothered us for a few years. We made the switch shortly after we moved to Germany nearly two years ago, and love our food and the way our food choices make us feel.
People have been asking me a lot lately about the paleo diet, and although I try my very best not to be evangelical about it, I am always happy to tell people, because I think it could make a really positive difference in their lives. I don’t believe that there is one right way for everyone to eat. The most important thing is to eat joyfully, and to eat real, actual food (as opposed to much of the processed food in grocery stores.) If you are interested in learning more about paleo eating, here is a great place to start.
We generally don’t eat grains, legumes, refined sugar, or processed food. We take it easy on dairy, but do enjoy good cheese and such. Quality ingredients are super important, and I make almost everything we eat (from bone broths to salad dressing to mayonnaise to sauerkraut) from scratch. We don’t get hung up on food substitutes– most of our meals are made up of lots of vegetables and an animal protein source. And it’s delicious!

Yes, I like to wear my apron way up under my armpits when I cook, because I am messy.

Moving on. Now that we have SUNNY weather (!!!!) we have moved our dining room to our patio outside. Ever since the sun came out, we have been grilling our food on a wood fire, and every dinnertime feels like a party. Want to see what we’ve been eating? Tonight’s dinner was my first Spatchcock Chicken. I marinated it all day in garlic, lemon, olive oil, rosemary, ginger and thyme. It was SO good. I served it with a salad inspired by bruschetta, grilled asparagus and steamed green beans.

We’ve been grilling over wood that we found piled at the end of our yard. It’s hard to get the heat quite right, but really delicious when we do!

This chicken may look a bit too charred, but I assure you– it was perfect!

Tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil, kalamata olives, olive oil, salt pepper and red wine vinegar.

Can we do a little show-and-tell? This is a little cloche I made in my pottery class!We keep a tiny bowl of salt in it outside, so it doesn’t get rained on or buggy.

It’s almost time to go back to France! We’re almost out of French wine!

But the highlight of tonight’s dinner had nothing to do with actual food.

It was all about our neighbors, the 3 and 4 year old boys next door. There were knock-knock jokes, peek-a-boos, and all sorts of childish silliness to be enjoyed. That’s what makes food taste the best, isn’t it? All the fun and companionship? I loved hearing the parents laughing through the wicker wall, and I can only guess they enjoyed our giggles and guffaws as well.

What have you been eating lately?

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11 Responses to The Way We Eat

  1. Grandma Seelye May 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Looks wonderful!Love your back garden! The paleo diet sounds quite similar to Erin’s diet. Good for you….cooking from scratch!

    • Ariana May 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Yes, and we really enjoy each meal. Wish we could could one for you!!

  2. Great Aunt Gretchen May 25, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    And neighbors?? Maybe some friends?? That would be great, too.
    Love your post!

    • Ariana May 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      I hope they do become friends! I know we’ll all be spending plenty of time outside, and I think it will be a nice way to get to know each other a bit. The boys are SO adorable!!

  3. Marisa May 26, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    So happy to see you talking about food – it is obviously something you care about a lot so it is great to see you sharing that most important piece of your life here too! I’ve read quite a lot about the paleo diet in recent months and I find it a fascinating approach – even though it isn’t for me. Food and diet is such a personal thing and everyone’s body and metabolism is so different. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa. But the important thing is just to find what works for you! I could never give up grains and sugar for instance. I get downright cranky if I go to long without having some sort of grains. I’ve tried it before and my mood just plummets. I wouldn’t mind giving up sugar in theory because it is a bit of a trouble food for me and I don’t have a tremendous sweet tooth. But I am a baker – been doing it my whole life and I derive such a sense of pleasure from it. I do try to limit the sugars though and limit myself to one piece of whatever I’ve baked – always have to have someone to give my treats to. Oddly too I’ve found the sugars that are broken down from carbs don’t seem to affect me in the same manner that straight sugars do. Such an interesting and complex topic.

    And your dinner looks phenomenal – grains or not I would gladly come over and partake of that dinner any day! 🙂 Actually, looking at the fresh local produce you’ve got reminds me too that there have been some studies done that indicate it does not matter what your diet consists of so long as it is local and natural to your environment. This is based on studies that have examined the diets of indigenous peoples from all around the world. Some indigenous groups subsist largely off of meat at fats (Eskimos for instance) while there are many tribes in Africa that mainly subsist off of plants and nuts. And then again you have the South Pacific Islanders who have a tremendous percentage of coconut fat in their diets. Long story short, the point is that these people who are still subsisting off of their traditional diets tend to have exceptional health across the board – regardless of what the diet may be. But when they’ve moved into the cities and taken on a more Western style and processed diet their health has been documented to show rapid deterioration. Reading about these studies really makes me pause and reconsider all those diet theories that are out there these days. Right now I am mostly attempting to eat fresh and local. Anyway – sorry if that was overkill on the information. I sometimes don’t know how to rein myself in! lol And I do find this to be such an interesting topic.

    Just one more thing – I LOVE your cloche – completely charming! Oh, and I hope to see more of what you are eating and the lovely fresh produce you are lucky enough to have access to!

    • Ariana May 28, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Marisa, we would LOVE to have you over for dinner! I love cooking for people who really enjoy food– they are absolutely the most gratifying guests! And yes, of course everyone’s different. I don’t think we would have gone this route if we didn’t have any health issues to address. I have yet to find someone who has tried it and not felt fantastic, but I certainly wouldn’t give up eating croissants unless it made a big difference in my life!
      (And thanks so much for the compliment on the little cloche! I am LOVING my pottery class and all the fun things I get to bring home!)

  4. Megan Alton March 26, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    First let me say that I love your blog! We travel a lot and have talked about living internationally and it’s refreshing to read about your experiences as an American with a family living abroad. Plus, you’re just a good writer and photographer.

    Second, I think the way you wear your apron in genius. I’ve always stayed away from the waist aprons because I’m too messy a cook, very clever tying it up higher. I also wear mine to dinner quite often and find it useful as a napkin 🙂

    Finally, I’m intrigued by the fact that you feed your daughter a paleo diet. I follow a similar diet and have considered it for my son as well simply because it seems healthier. I’d be very interested in knowing how often you guys eat (3 meals alone or do you have snacks?) and if your daughter is at all picky about the types of food you serve. Thanks for your blog and for this lovely post!

  5. Julie Saldana January 2, 2019 at 4:41 am #

    Eating light is a good way to have healthy health. That means, if you eat too much spice, especially salt, the risk of cardiovascular disease is very high. I love your meal, the way you enjoy them, enjoy this life.


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