I read this quote from Michael Pollan a few days ago and it has stuck with me:
"...yeah, for most North Americans it is hard. We’ve been sort of taught by the culture to eat until you’re stuffed. The French say: “Je n’ai plus faim” – I have no more hunger. Ask yourself, before you take that bite, is my hunger gone?"
I love this as a way to think about food and how we eat. It's eating for a totally different and very specific reason and would absolutely require a shedding of our food baggage: the stuff that allows us to eat too much or the wrong things. Or too much of the wrong things. Or even, too much of the right things! We all have food baggage. One form of this baggage could be as simple as not being mindful when you eat. Who has time to actually think about the food they're eating? Ha. I am from the generation that grew up sitting at the dinner table (for hours some nights) until my plate was finished. It didn't matter if I was full, or didn't care for the food in front of me, you don't waste food. My husband thinks it's funny even to this day when I leave a few bites on my plate. It's as if he's saying, "Really, you can't just finish that last bite or two?" He's from the same generation.
What would happen if I challenged myself to eat only until I have no more hunger, instead of until the food is gone? My fear, as someone who loves and gets excited about food, is that I might miss out and a really great food experience. What if I'm not excatly hungry but it tastes really, really good? What if it's salmon cake night, Mr. Pollan?
So I've decided to re-learn what it means to feel hungry. To slow down and pay attention to my baggage. I love a challenge! Plus I have a hunch the food will start to even taste better. I'll report back soon.
Salmon Cakes w. Mango.
Please make these! It's fitting that I'm posting this recipe in the face of these food and consumption questions because, whoa, these are hard for me to stop eating once I start. They.are.so.good. I've made them for years without the mango and then the other night I felt like a mega-genius when I decided to add it in. Mega.
Here are some loose measurements to serve about 4 people:
1 lb. salmon (do your best here in terms of quality: shoot for wild sustainably farmed if you can swing it. Pollan would be proud of you)
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper (make the dice kinda small)
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons dill relish
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
I find that the easiest way to cook your salmon is in a 350 oven on a piece of foil for about 15 min. Salt and pepper, a little olive oil, some lemon slices and you're good. Once the salmon is cooked let it cool completely and then cut it up with a couple forks and throw it in a big mixing bowl. Add everything else into the bowl and mix until combined. Form the patties (I usually shoot for the size of my palm) and refrigerate for a few minutes.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet (cast iron works great here). Brown cakes on each side--a few min for each side. Keep warm in a low oven. Serve with brown rice and something green. Wait! Don't forget the tarter sauce! Use your favorite or make your own. I am happy as a clam with the Trader Joes brand. It has a nice kick.