Breakfast, Dinner, Eating Habits, Eating Well, Family, Food, Lunch, Shabbat

LuxeLove is about what, Josh?! (Part 1: Eating Well)

When I thought about writing a blog again, I had to think about what? Initially, I said “LuxeLove” was all about eating well, living well and loving life.

The logo was designed by my good friend Wade with the key words LOVE, LUXURY, LIFE along the bottom. That fits too.

Why eating well?

Food has been apart of my life (and like most of yours) since I was a young child.  Any bond ever created was created over eating! Seriously, in a Mediterranean home, food is the source of all good and bad.  If you cook together, that’s love.  If you eat together, that’s love.  If you pass a course because you’re “full”, you’re fucking crazy because mom, grandma or a crazy cousin is going to battle it out with you about why you didn’t like the food (even if you did) and how skinny YOU ALREADY are… even if you’re not!

Eating well for me does not mean being vegetarian, eating organic or even watching your calorie intake.  For me, eating well is all about enjoying your life and appreciating ingredients and cravings.

As many of you know, I have tried being vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, etc. The truth is: I love everything! I believe in partaking in all forms of cuisine, all the way from elevated 5-star courses to street food. It’s all good!  It’s all about balance.

Breakfast + Lunch 

Growing up, I wondered why people ate breakfast and as I got older, I totally understood that breakfast was a main source of nutrition for me because working in a salon for 10 hours, I generally would not get a lunch break.  I didn’t really get a lunch break until I owned by own salon and even then, it’s not guaranteed because I enjoy doing hair just as much as I enjoy breaking bread.

Speaking of breaking bread: lunch is a communal time for me.  I only go to lunch with people I would trust with my secrets. I don’t like going to lunch in a short period of time, I believe that every lunch period should be 90 minutes long like the Europeans.  I also believe that most of your calories should be eaten at lunch in the early afternoon.  You still have time to go for a walk after, relax a bit, check your emails and head back to work for round two! If you don’t have 90 minute window, bring lunch with you to work and take the time to get OUT of the office and go for a walk and eat your lunch outdoors.  Set a timer on your phone and enjoy the small-getway in time.

If you’re really slammed for time and only have 30 minutes or less, reach for a vegetable-based protien shake, a bottle of alkaline water (I’ll explain more later) and some nuts, seeds or grains you can nosh on while you return phone calls and can discreetly chew on in small increments.  Just make sure you mark out time to drink water, have a sensible dinner full of protein and vegetables and don’t forget to have a moment to yourself.  I used to sneak away to the store room in my first commission salon and set a timer for 8-10 minutes while a client was at the washbowl or in between processing times as I was not permitted to leave since I was the salon manager.  It works.  Btw, if you’re one of these people, don’t forget to take vitamins and for God’s sake learn to LOVE breakfast or you’re gonna hate the world around you.

Merienda, Tapas and Happy Hour

I think happy hour and small bites are important!  Truly, in Spain and throughout most part of Europe, the area of time between leaving work and dinner is often referred to as merienda.  This time can also refer to brunch as it’s a mid-morning or later-afternoon snack between meals.  Keep in mind, it’s SMALL. There’s not a lot to it.  You’re not eating courses upon courses.  A pastry, a meat and cheese tray, fruit or even a small salad can make merienda.

Tapas are often eaten two at a time and in refills with a bit of liquor or wine and followed by a stroll and socializing with friends and family.  I love the idea of this!  Happy Hour is cool on this side of the pond, but sadly, Americans tend to forget that we need food and not just liquor to get our pallets wet for the larger meal to come. Happy Hour appetizers here tend to be fried and I’m as guilty as the next guy in LOVING THEM!

However you choose to prepare your appetite, grab a friend and your favorite vino and enjoy the evening. Turn off your phone for dinner and enjoy the company.

Dinner, Shabbat, Spaghetti Sunday + Celebrations

People laugh at me and call me high-maintence because I detest sandwiches in the evening and do not consider them dinner.  That’s take out! If I’m alone or enjoying a Sunday in, I may reach for cold cuts, but generally not at night.  I believe in dressing up a bit, washing your face, putting on some good shoes you love and going for a dinner if you can afford to do so as much as possible!

A fork, a knife, a whole table setting is needed if you ask me and be sure to order a glass of water before to ensure you DON’T over eat.  During the week, I reach for vegetable-based meals.  If I’ve had a really hard day and crave animal protein, I tend to order fish the most.  At home, I don’t even buy meat.  Chris and I eat a large vegetarian diet at home and love meat-free brands like Beyond Meat, Quorn and Gardein for meat-substitutions or have fun experimenting with vegetable-based dishes at home if we’re not going out! This may not be YOUR diet of choice, but it works for us.

Some people celebrate the Sabbath on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays (or all three) and this traditionally involves a couple courses and an animal protein.  Sabbath is not just a Jewish thing, it’s a Christian thing as well (just celebrated on different days). For my Sabbath meal, I like to go out as I’m modern, not orthodox and I do not answer the phone, I enjoy my company and greet the weekend with a healthy dose of thankfulness, reflection and lots of laughs over wine and later cocktails!

If I make Sabbath dinner, its roast chicken or fish. That’s just me though.  If you want a really confusing fact: I was raised Catholic and back them the argument was still that you ate fish on Fridays.  As I grew up and started following Jewish tradition, that kind of stuck and it’s perfectly acceptable.  Once again, not necessary, but the main point of any sabbath meal is to enjoy your company and appreciate the divine moment through breaking bread with those around you.

Spaghetti Sunday + Celebrations

I have two “food philosophies” I’m known for within my circle of friends and family members:

1. Pasta is a food group.

2. Calories don’t count on Sundays or holidays.  (and I truly believe that)

I grew up eating pasta mostly on Sunday and cooked with my mom in the kitchen unless we went out because someone was working or didn’t have a plan as what to eat or go tired of pasta.  Nevertheless, I have NEVER tired of Spaghetti Sunday and it’s not exclusively Spaghetti served. Any pasta, any Mediterranean or Italian-based dish or multiple dishes were served and you DID NOT answer the phone for Sunday dinner.

Served anywhere from 2-4pm, Sunday dinner gave us a chance to hit the “restart” button for the week and talk as a family.  This meal, by the way, can last for hours.  Be ready to jabber! Those that didn’t last, left and generally, my mom and I were the only two left to refill our plates and eat until we simply couldn’t stop discussing who left first and why they didn’t appreciate the meal.

Celebrations follow the same protocol and generally, me and Mama Vonne were left to drink wine, whiskey and coffee (not in any specific order), and it was and is STILL the HIGHLIGHT of my week.

Happy eating, my loves!

xoxo- j.

Do you have food traditions in your home you want me to write about or want to share? Tweet me @studiojry #luxelove or email me directly jcooley@fastmail.co.uk 

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