The abundance of resources and control over nature that western society has developed since the Industrial Revolution has led to inconceivable possibilities regarding transportation, refrigeration, conservation, and packaging of food which have had gigantic repercussions on how and why we choose the foods we do. We are now able to cook and eat any dish, any time of the year, with any ingredient from any part of the world. This phenomenon is light years away from the limitations of ingredients and resources that my grandmother had in pre and post revolutionary Cuba. During my time in Cuba, the first eight years of my life, I must have eaten at most two apples, and never whole, always sharing with my brother and only for a special occasion such as Christmas. On the other hand mangos, papayas and other tropical fruits were readily available(even in the limited economic and political circumstances of the time). Apples didn’t grow in Cuba and therefore were not easily available, for me an apple was an exotic fruit, with a magical smell, and the mystery of a fairytale, after all Snow White didn’t eat a red mango.
What effect has over abundance, and the possibility to buy anything we want had on our creativity when it comes to cooking? On the one hand as a result of the wide range of ingredients at our disposal we are able get insight into what the world eats. This is no insignificant development, since by knowing what people from other parts of the globe eat we can get a better understanding of who they are, how they live and why they are how they are. I created stories based on the taste and smells of those two apples I ate. For me those apples brought Snow White to life, it was a way of getting an intimate taste of another world. Those apples gave me a glimpse of what living in the United States would be like years before I actually got there.
Using our own local products as basis for our cooking is like making beautiful paintings of the countryside we see out of our own window, more real, we know it from the inside out. Of course experiencing other worlds beside our own can be a beautiful, enriching experience, but finding the meaning in our own ordinary world, we can appreciate the extraordinary in the familiar, and the richness in the stories and images that surround us. Similarly using our imagination and creativity to cook with what there is, with what the earth gives us, can empower us and give us a sense of trust in the universe and in our ability to sustain life in a simple, rich and creative manner.
Every choice we make whether conscious or not will have consequences, and because of the broad range of choices that we have available, the skills of choosing have become critical for a good life today. Unless we hone our choosing skills, we become increasingly lost, passive and stuck.
The art in cooking is about making choices.
Snow White’s Apple Pie
2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of cold water
-mix all the dry ingredients
-add the coconut oil and mix with a fork until you reach a sandy consistency
-add the water and create a ball of dough
-flatten the ball and roll between two pieces of wax paper to create a thin large circle to fit into your pie form
-fit the dough into the pie form and poke with a fork in several places on the bottom of the dough
-partially bake for about 7 minutes on a pre warmed oven at 180*c
-set aside until you are ready to fill it
3 large apples, cored and cut in small cubes
2 tbs maple syrup(that’s all I had left in my bottle)
6 tbs coconut sugar
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 cup of a mixture of your favorite nuts lightly roasted
1 tbs arrowroot or 1 tbs kuzu dissolved in a bit of water
1 tbs rice syrup to brush on top of the pie
-in a large bowl mix all the ingredients except for the rice syrup
-fill your pie crust
-bake in a hot oven at 180*c for about 15 minutes
-the last 2 minutes take the pie out of the oven and brush with the filling with the rice syrup
-continue baking for another 2 minutes
-let it cool a bit before you take it out of the pie form.
-serve with whatever non dairy( or dairy cream you prefer), I like unsweetened coconut cream