Food Diaries

August 20, 2020

WHAT I EAT MOST DAYS FOR LUNCH

A great majority of my favorite foods originated in Middle Eastern/North African cuisine. Whole foods such as tomatoes, olives, cucumber, citrus, olive oil, sustainably-sourced eggs, dill, oregano, parsley, etc. Although my family had been in South Asia for the last couple of hundreds of years, you could say my Mediteranan blood still runs deep. [My family tradition is believing we are the ancestors of Alexander the Great’s men who stayed at the foot of the Himalayas]. Lately, I’ve been studying Indian medicine and eating lots of whole widely Mediterranan foods  as a way of practicing mindfulness, a process of decolonization, and self love. 

 

As we know from various indiginous medicines, the elements in our bodies manifest in different ways. According to Ayurveda, five elements compose the cosmos — vayu (air), jala (water), akash (space), teja (fire), and prithvi (earth). These elements circulate through the bodies and affect our energies. Ayurveda considers this element recipe as a “dosha.”  I have a Vata dosha  (air & space). Which I find fascinating since I am dominantly an air sign (Aquarius) in Western astrology and palmistry. People who have a Vata dosha usually have a thinner frame, dry skin, and suffer from fatigue issues, anxiety, and digestion. Vata doshas also invite creativity, manic energy, and passion. Learning more about Ayurveda has been an important tool in cultivating ownership, love and deep practice towards and for my body. 

 

Eggs are considered a tamasic food. Our bodies and spirits need sattvic (pure), rajasic (energising) and tamasic (impure) foods, but it is important to balance proportions. I start eating eggs again because as someone with a chronic illness I need to both align my ethics and moral senses with my inner needs. I can’t advocate for the world I live in while also feeling like my body is not working to its optimum potential. 

 

 I believe deeply in the potential and sustainability of humane and ethical animal agriculture. 

My dream is to one day own chickens myself and use them as post-dino genius composters! 

 

Eggs

 

My afternoons usually consist of eating two fried eggs with salt and pepper. A classic! I cook them with extra virgin olive oil (the nutritious and lovely evoo elixir). My favorite way to eat eggs is sunny-side up and with crispy edges. Did you know you can tell how fresh an egg is by looking at the whites? If they are runny and fluid, they are more fresh. A more gelatinous white shows an egg that is less fresh. 

 

Did  you know it is a misconception that an egg yolk is a barometer for the health of the hen who laid it? Actually, yolk color is predicated on what the hen eats! Some farmers and those invested in their chickens’ holistic health, yet, want to produce a beautiful color, will add marigold petals to a chicken’s feed to produce a gorgeous golden. 

 

Couscous

 

I’ve served couscous to guests before who guess that it is a grain, nut, or a seed. Well, technically, it is a grain product. Welp, couscous is pasta! Little balls of semolina, to be precise! An ancient food, couscous is a delicate and incredibly labor-intensive and made by hand. Now that the process has been mechanized it has become a more wide-spread ambassador of North African cuisine. The kind you usually find in American supermarkets is pre-steamed. Thus, making couscous incredibly accessible and a great alternative for dishes that use wild rice or orzo. I make couscous using methods I’ve perfected by making risotto. I add vegetable broth incrementally to allow the surprisingly hard and  miniscule pasta spheres! 

 © 2020 by  Jai Hamid Bashir 

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