Sometimes I think people talk about the “Mediterranean diet” as if if were a popular diet fad like “Belly Fat” or the “Oz Detox diet.” Mind you, I do not plan to trash other diet plans, but do believe that there is a significant difference between a “Mediterranean diet” and many popular diet plans that circulate in public media. Specifically,
- The Mediterranean diet is not really a diet, but a lifestyle developed over hundreds of years be people eating fresh produce and experimenting with ways to prepare these foods so they taste great;
- Most Mediterranean countries use olive oil rather than butter or other vegetable oils in their cooking;
- The focus is on fresh produce, vegetables in season, grains and legumes and food that has not been heavily processed;
- Simplicity in food preparation.
Now I realize that it may be more difficult to prepare a salad than buy a protein or detox shake at the supermarket, but doesn’t it make more sense to eat a balanced meal of healthy foods rather than suffer through a series of trendy diets to compensate for eating unhealthy processed food? For those who wish to learn more about the Mediterranean diet, see this excellent video below!
Needless to say, curiosity over Mediterranean cooking techniques forced me to explore further. While living in Spain, I “discovered” Marcella Hazan and attended her cooking school in Bologna – which I still believe is the culinary Mecca of Italy. Learning with Marcella was a dream-come-true as I learned the techniques of an accomplished Italian chef and what to look for when shopping for fresh produce in the market. In fact, I still reach for Marcella’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking whenever I need a great meal with simple preparation. In fact, my husband’s favorite is Marcella’s Milk Braised Pork which only has 6 ingredients: salt, pepper, butter, olive oil, whole milk and a pork loin. In fact, this recipe is so simple that my husband can prepare it himself – and he often does. If you are looking for a wonderful cookbook that epitomizes the best in Italian cooking, I strongly recommend Marcella’s Essential of Classic Italian Cooking.