Michael Pollan recently quoted Harry Balzer, food marketing researcher for NPD Group which studies American eating habits, in his article written for the New York Times Magazine. What the cynical Balzer said, and Mr. Pollan wrapped up the article was this quote: “Eat anything you want — just as long as you’re willing to cook it yourself.”
I think this really sums a huge chunk of what I have a hard time articulating to people. For instance, I was asked several times about the curried corn recipe while demo-ing it in Brooklyn if I could recommend an alternative to coconut milk, because of the fat content. Huh? Normally I have a standard response to questions I can anticipate, like why not olive oil for sautéing. But coconut milk? Seriously? No, I politely said. I don’t have an alternative.
A nice lady offered up “Lite” coconut milk, to which I countered that the ingredients list likely contains multiple unpronouncables to mimic the flavor and mouthfeel of actual coconut. What I said was, look, you aren’t eating the whole can of coconut milk and I doubt you are eating coconut every day. What I wish I had printed on cards was Mr. Balzer’s quote. If we are all that concerned about every little ingredient that we use we should cook for ourselves. That way, if you want potato chips, you have to make potato chips, which thankfully is a bit of an undertaking.
Luckily making fruit crisp is not. It does contain butter but I don’t wish to turn on my oven every night in August, which prevents me from eating crisp every night.
Any Fresh Fruit Crisp
2 cups of fresh fruit, cut into like-sized pieces (I used peaches, nectarines and blackberries)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
Heat oven to 375º. Mix the fruit and the sugar in a bowl, then dump into an appropriate-size glass baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using your fingers, squish the butter into the dry ingredients until everything is well blended. Put the butter-oat mixture on top of the fruit and bake, uncovered until the fruit is boiling and the top is, well, crisp!
Serve with ice cream, preferably homemade.
Psst… Have you voted? Click here to vote for Emily in the Vegetarian Times ‘09 Chef’s Challenge!