Where I'm At: Way back in 1998, when I first started at DL, I noticed a quote in the mag from Jesse Ziff Cool, an ahead-of-her-time chef and author of Your Organic Kitchen (Rodale, 2000), summarizing her opinion on upcoming food trends: "More fat!" She saw then, and I'm seeing in DL recipes as they evolve, how some dishes simply cry out for whole ingredients—panna cotta made with real cream instead of fat-free evaporated milk, for example. When enjoyed in moderation, these real treats actually make you feel more satisfied and therefore (the theory goes) less likely to overeat. I think there's something intuitively wise about this approach. When did we become so afraid of certain foods that we devised counterfeit but seemingly more healthy alternatives? Margarine for butter (though now, of course, we know that margarine's trans fats make it a bad guy), egg substitute for eggs, skim milk and cornstarch for cream, fake fats and artificial sugars … the list goes on.
Now I grant you, some substitutes are a godsend to people who really struggle with certain health issues—but for the majority of typical eaters, a return to using the real deal in judicious amounts for optimum flavor and enjoyment strikes me a lovely and even healthy trend. Do you agree?
Where I've Been: In late January, my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the year-old Summit restaurant (www.summitatbroadmoor.com). A hip design and fresh food combinations, focused on local and seasonal ingredients, make this brasserie a date-night standout. Our favorites: the monkfish "osso bucco" and, for dessert, rice pudding with mango glecee. … In February, my teenage daughter and I ate a tasty, healthy lunch at Sprouts, the zero-deprivation spa-cuisine restaurant at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona (www.camelbackspa.com).
What I Like: Delectable, fair-trade Divine Chocolate (www.divinechocolateusa.com) warms the heart: In addition to owning the cocoa farms, the Ghanaian farmers own one-third of the company—the first and only such arrangement for fair-trade chocolate and one that gives farmers a share of profits and a voice in company practices. Sweet, indeed. They're launching in the U.S. on Valentine's Day; look for the colorful bars, adorned with African symbols, at natural foods stores.