Thoughts from the Editor: A Weekly Menu
Wednesday February 25, 2015

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One of the most enjoyable weekly routines I genuinely love is the Sunday market shopping to prepare for the week ahead. It so happened to be the case this past Sunday, I was able to drop into a Market of Choice in Portland late in the morning when crowds were minimal and peruse the just stocked shelves, bins and display cases of fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat and everything in between.

I must admit there is something oddly soothly and invigorating about stepping away from the center aisles and luxuriating in all of the freshness around the perimeters of the market that requires of the shoppers to savor, enjoy and take home to dance with the necessary ingredients so they can reveal their magnificence. After all, it is at its peak for only so long, so we must indulge, no?

I ended up picking up the daily special which was a 1/2 pound of Dover Sole as I have been oh so enthusiastic about making Julia Child’s classic sole meunière but rarely am able to find the sole fillets in my home town. Needless to say, I pounced, and Julia was right: it’s delicate flavor makes it the dream fish.

The beauty of having a weekly shopping routine is that I have a core list that I always need to tend to. At this point, it is basically engrained in my memory, so no list is required. However, I always have a list with those few items that are needed for a new recipe I am eager to try, items that need to be restocked less regularly and anything out of the ordinary.

So what does my core list consist of? Well, first let me backtrack a little bit. Prior to stopping into the market, I stopped into a local independent bookstore that I have been introduced to by friends, and as I had hoped it was as one reader commented on Instagram very much like Meg Ryan’s cozy bookstore in You’ve Got Mail. Annie Bloom’s Books is a must-visit if you are every in the SW part of Portland (Oregon). Located on a small street in Multnomah Village lined with similarly chic boutiques, dining destinations and cafes, you could spend a couple hours easily just exploring not realizing you were in the bustling metropolitan city of Portland.

While enjoying the company of the shelves of books, I discovered one I am wanting to share and encouraging you to read if you are wanting to establish a healthy relationship with food for life. After all, food is to be enjoyed, savored and serve as fuel as we go about chasing our dreams. Food Rules by Michael Pollan, the author of the best-selling book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, pairs with illustrator Maira Kalman to share 83 simple, straight-forward rules when it comes to what we eat and why. Paired with inviting illustration, this small manual is a resource that will remind you of the two basic facts the author wishes to teach the reader:

  1. Populations that eat a so-called Western diet – generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and whole grains – invariably suffer from high rates of so-called Western diseases: obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Four of the top ten killers in America are chronic diseases linked to the Western diet.
  2. Populations eating a remarkably wide range of traditional diets generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases. These diets run the gamut from ones very high in fat (the Inuit in Greenland) to ones high in carbohydrate (Central American Indians) to ones very high in protein (Masai tribesmen in Africa).

In other words, Food Rules reminds and teaches readers how to eat in moderation and enjoy food even more. Yes, it is indeed possible, and through the simplistic approach, you will walk away wiser, happier and satiated. Here are a just a few of the rules you will find inside:

#9. Avoid Food Products with the Word “Lite” or the Terms “low-Fat” or “nonfat” in Their Names.

#37 Sweeten and Salt Your Food Yourself.

#48. Eat More Like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.

#52. Have a Glass of Wine with Dinner.

#82. Cook.

So with the book as my muse on Sunday, I danced in the aisles as I commenced my beloved weekly routine and picked up my core essentials to kick off the work week in delicious, healthy style:

  • raw vegetables (radishes, carrots, cucumbers, etc) for snacking
  • broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts – for vegetable sides for lunch and dinner
  • protein – fish, chicken – to be the main entrée for lunch and/or dinner
  • fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc) for my late morning snack
  • almonds (unsalted, roasted) – afternoon snacking
  • cheese (paired with an afternoon snack or for appetizers)
  • 2 apples (sliced in half and enjoyed with cheese for an afternoon snack)
  • eggs – one egg in the morning
  • steel oats – breakfast fiber
  • baby spinach – simple salad greens for lunch or dinner dressed with homemade vinaigrette (recipe here – #5)
  • 1 French baguette (usually picked up at my local bakery in Walla Walla)


10 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Editor: A Weekly Menu

  1. Shannon I too enjoy buying perishables for the week and I enjoy the recommendations Michael Pollan makes. Thanks for the share on your purchases, I am quite fascinated by your weekly fresh food preparation in the book — I would love to hear more as I always have worked on this daily, weekly food prep would be such a time saver!

    For you and your readers who enjoy Michael Pollan’s work, I would like to recommend Mark Bittman’s VB6.
    Bittman is a food columnist for the New York Times, his take on fresh food and minimalist cooking is excellent.

  2. Wonderful post Shannon! May I also recommend James Duigan’s books- I’ve found them wonderful and often go back to then for recipe ideas or just when I need some motivation!

  3. I really enjoyed this post! Maybe a future podcast topic? I’m always looking for new simple and healthy weekday recipes!

  4. I love the idea of a weekend market routine. I have been writing and thinking lately about the act of slowing down. My market routine has been making a pit stop after a tiring day to pick up the essentials i need for a day or two. Needless to say I am not “savoring” anything. Changing my market routine is something I have never thought of as a mindful way of slowing down. Thanks so much for the wonderful suggestion, the food to think about and another great book to look at. My Oscar pick would be marion Coitillard’ in Dior
    Accidental Icon

  5. Can I ask when do you shop your non-grocery items–beauty, household, etc? Do you do it all the same day and do you go to different stores for that? Thanks!

  6. I have recently discovered your blog while on sick leave. It has been a truely inspirational find, I am loving peeling away the layers and finding so many hidden gems. I value you always being authentic to your core principles, and courageous enough to share them with us.

    I am guessing that I am probably much older then most readers, however I firmly believe our lives change and evolve continually as long as we keep seeking inspiration.

    Keep doing what you do, I cannot wait to receive my copy of your book and learn more about the simply luxurious life.

    1. Hi Ros! I am a Brit living in northern Ontario now and I too just found this blog! I love it! You will love the book too! Also check out Mireille Guiliano too (as mentioned in TSL Book) Have a great weekend!

  7. Just wanted to drop by and say how glad I am to have found your blog and what a difference your book, blog and introductions (to Mireille Guiliano in particular) have made to me. Although I cannot follow ALL your wonderful suggestions…a farmers market would involve a 500km trip ONE WAY!…I enjoy making the best of what is available to me in our one small grocery store! I have ditched all the complicated recipes and keep it simple and I actually feel that we are enjoying it more! Now every time I see your e-mails in my inbox I have special me time, with a cup of good coffee or steeped tea and it sets me up for the day!

  8. I adore farmers markets…living in a city means there is a really good selection of options. I buy all of my produce in the spring and summer from the markets, and all of my meats are bought from small local stores that carry meat from farms outside the city. I last bought fish from the St lawrence market downtown (toronto) – they have so many options!! I am really big on local, sustainable and ethical as much as possible. It is indeed more expensive but I feel so much better for it and everything usually tastes wonderful.

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