Hi! I’m Emily. I guess I have a bit of an advantage when it comes to food, since I have a Master’s in nutrition, and now I’m working on a PhD in food policy. Or maybe it’s actually kind of a disadvantage! I got into nutrition because I love food and the way food gives us an outlet to create. I do not want to worry about what I’m eating and exactly how many extra minutes it will add or subtract from my lifespan. And, I don’t think we should have to. People survived for centuries without fretting over nutrient content because they were guided by traditions and what they had available. Of course, what was available used to be real food, not food that has had the heck processed out of it.
I don’t adhere to any particular diet with a name. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, paleo or primal. Every one of us needs to eat for sustenance, so food is something that should unite not divide us into self-defensive camps. From my years of studying and research, I’ve come to believe strongly that everyone is individual and their dietary needs are too, based on genetics and the environment that they’ve developed in. The one thing I can say for certain is that everyone does better the less processed food (in particular foods high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and plant oils (corn, canola, and soy)) they have in their diet. But for that, you need to be able to cook.
It has been said before, and it is a strategy that I generally agree with: don’t buy food that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the food label. The number 5 isn’t hard and fast, of course, it’s just a stand in for the concept that it is best to buy foods in the form that is closest to the way they are found in nature. These are the foods that give you the opportunity to combine them in creative ways, throw in some spices, and get cooking! This, in fact, is where the name for this blog comes from, five (foods with no more than 5 ingredients already in them when you buy them) plus spices!
So, who am I really, and why do I write this blog? For a complete answer, check out my introductory post. But in sum, I am a lazy iron chef; food policy wonk; renegade nutritionist; and cream and butter lover. It took me a number of years of cooking from recipes, playing around with foods, and trying to figure out what to do with the hodge-podge of ingredients I had lying around on any given day to discover how much liberty you can actually take when cooking. I want to share my discoveries with others! To bring basics, traditions, a spirit of adventure and improvisation but also every-day-ness back to the art of cooking. I want this blog to convey how much fun I find real food and cooking with real food to be, to tell the stories of joy and friendship that cooking and eating are really about, and maybe even inspire people to go experiment in the kitchen. That last goal is up to you. Be bold! Be audacious! Be messy (and try wearing an apron – I find everything turns out better if you wear an apron, no matter who you are)!
So, welcome! I hope you stay awhile and look around, and please feel free to leave a comment, share a story of your own, or just say hello. I absolutely love to hear from you!
If you have any questions about the blog or just want to say hi, feel free to contact me at fiveandspice[at]gmail[dot]com. I love (like, crazy love) hearing from you!
Something worth noting: Since, technically, I’m a nutritionist (though I have to admit, I don’t think of myself that way), as you look through this site, you may be wondering why you’re not seeing more whole grains, and beans, and lentils and tofu and all those kinds of things generally considered wholesome by the nutrition establishment. It’s not that I don’t like them, I actually do (okay, I’ll admit I don’t really like white beans, and I really don’t think that TVP should even be considered a food!). It’s just that I have an autoimmune condition that makes my intestines react to an enzyme found in the outer layer of most legumes and whole grains – I’ll spare you the details – so I actually can’t eat them. I can only eat them in their non-whole or else sprouted forms. It was a funny irony to discover this while I was in nutrition school. But, I’m over it now. I try to make up for it by eating lots of extra vegetables and sometimes sprouted grains when I can. I’ll try to make recommendations in some of the recipes about how you could add such things, but know you can do so at your liberty with most any recipe. Though, if I’m going to make a dessert, you’d better believe that most of the time I’m going to make it with straight up white flour and white sugar. I just won’t make it often (hopefully).