A Conscious Feast by Nicole Aloni

The Conscious Food Chain: Recipes. News. Travel.

Why This Blog?

April 9th, 2008  |  Published in Green Living  |  2 Comments

“The end of our exploring will be to arrive at where we started, and to know the place for the first time.

—T.S. Eliot

I want to be honest with you; the reason I thought of building this site was to share the fun and get you involved. I’m writing a cookbook and green plate shopping guide called A Conscious Feast™. I will post lots of environmentally wise recipes for you to help me fine tune, interviews with eco-pioneers like Wolfgang Puck and Chris Curtis (founder of the Seattle Farmers markets), and some digestible information about important and complex topics like Fair Trade and Sustainable Aquaculture.

Mind you, I’m no scientist or even a heavy lifting journalist like Michael Pollan. I’m a chef raised by a health food maven mom in the ‘60’s. In that era, her interest in natural foods, yogurt and vegetarianism made her cooking about as different from what I saw in my friends homes as you could imagine, and I thought she was on to something. I in turn became a vegetarian and opened an organic, vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles in my 20’s. We believed we could do anything and, at least in 1972, we could. It was a hit, I loved it and I realized I could really cook.

Then (short version) I went to cooking school in Paris because I thought that would give me the credibility to cobble together a culinary career. What it gave me was a skill set and a lifestyle where animal products were de rigueur. But I never lost my passion for what I came to call “clean” food: simple, unadulterated, as close to the source as possible, fresh.

So, I’ve had a checkered past where mindful eating is concerned. Being involved in a career as a caterer to thousands, freelance writer, and author of mainstream cookbooks led me down a path that was more about the delicious factor with less involvement in the way in which the ingredients had been created or grown.

Then, about three years ago, I started getting writing assignments from one of the nations’ largest retailers who had decided to “go green”. I interviewed their environmentally advanced suppliers and I got a tsunami-sized shock. These folks — the crème de la crème of eco-entrepreneurs — were talking to me at length and I got all fired up again. While I had been looking the other way, my personal, natural food beliefs had become an issue of mammoth concern. I was reminded of things I had always known: You are what you eat! And where you eat. And I was led to do exhaustive research on issues that were somewhat new to me, like sustainable aquaculture.

farmers market
So, I’ve come full circle, or nearly. I’m not vaulting back into being a vegetarian, but I’ve definitely moved towards less meat, more fish, more vegetables and grains. I’ve become a conscientious carnivore; if I’m going to eat meat, I want to know that it was raised with dignity and killed with compassion (one of the many mindful ways of eating I explore in A Conscious Feast™). I am a committed locavore and farmers market devotee. And I’ve decided to focus the rest of my culinary career on helping people, one homegrown recipe at a time, to come back to the natural eating ways that will save our struggling planet and us. This blog and A Conscious Feast™ are my first steps along this path.

However, because food, food history and cultures are my passion, there will also be essays from time to time about traditional BBQ, or Basque restaurants in America, or my trip on a Turkish freighter with three hundred Egyptian women on a Hajj to Mecca and what they ate.

Nicole

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Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    May 19th, 2008at 6:54 pm(#)

    I loved reading all this! I can’t wait to try the pork recipe. Yum! Can’t wait to read more.

  2. Vivian says:

    May 20th, 2008at 10:19 am(#)

    Thank you for bringing slow food out of the closet. It is long overdue….also, I believe that along with slow food, slow eating, combined with consuming organic and real food, is essential for maintaining good health.

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