Cooking with the moon
TODAY IS A GREAT TO TO COOK IN BATCHES FOR FREEZING, MAKE BREAD AND BAKE CAKE AND COOKIES
I read that Mauro Colagreco, owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur, situated on the French Riviera, has changed his menu post-COVID lockdown. That would not be surprising for a place listed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. But why is it news-worthy? Because he will tailor his offerings in accordance with what the moon is doing.
I am sure many readers thought ‘Ridiculous new fad- what next?’. Well, this ‘fad’ is actually not so new, it is in fact a few thousand years old.
Mr. Colagreco reasons that he is already using biodynamically grown produce and so he might as well not stop there but carry this method over to the kitchen. Ah, now it makes sense.
In the Biodynamic garden, one aspect is that the gardener is plants, sows, and carries out any work in accordance with the biodynamic calendar. This has given Biodynamic farming always a ‘woohoo’ appeal, fit for a few crazy souls, but nothing for the sensible masses. But what many don’t realize is that for centuries this was actually THE normal way of farming, nothing ‘woohoo’ about this.
Generations of observations have led to practices which ‘just worked’ – olives picked on certain days had more oil and apples more juice. Spinach sown on this day was less susceptible to disease or grew quicker. The ‘why’ was less questioned, it just was called ‘tradition’ and it worked.
I assume the menu choices you will see in the near future at Mirazur, will be guided by the change of the moon phases and the elements. When you take a look at our online calendar The Month Ahead you will see that each day shows a moon phase (Waxing Moon, Full Moon, Waning Moon or New Moon) and an element (Water, Air, Earth & Fire) and activity symbols that are connected.
These symbols represent the observations that led to the creation of these calendars. But their widespread appeal was (and still is) that they are such great tools to structure time and life.
So what is cooking with the moon?
If you grew up with this ‘way of eating’, then your body is sort of programmed to fancy certain foods at certain times.
I guess this is nature’s way to make sure you get a well-balanced diet. If you have never heard or experienced it, then it does need a bit of time to get used to it. Firstly, you have to ‘detach’ from your current eating habits and ‘re-teach’ your body to develop what I call ‘healthy cravings’ and food management. I am currently working on a program that will teach these steps in more details.
But here is quick intro if you are completly new to this way of cooking and eating.
Eating with the moon cycle:
The Waxing Moon: As the moon grows, so do we. People seem hungrier and gain weight easier. It is a great time for those who find it hard to put weight on (say after an operation) or anorexic.
If you struggle with too much weight, it is crucial that you watch this time. Don’t lose weight, rather stabilize your weight and aim not to gain. Prepare meals that are filling and full of nutrients (fresh, healthy, organic produce is, of course, best) and that contains very little sugar and empty calories, such as white flour.
The Full Moon: Again, it is easier to put weight on, but as it is just a short time, you may as well enjoy it and go for a slap-up meal. Traditionally diets started at Full Moon.
The Waning Moon: Losing weight tends to be easier now. We are also more active and as a result may eat less, as we are too busy with other things.
If you have no weight issues, just focus on moving more and keep eating a normal, healthy diet. If you need to lose weight, now is your perfect time. These 2 weeks go for it – there are numerous strategies depending on lifestyle habits and body types.
New Moon: Traditionally a rest and fast day.
Another area are the elements. Each day has a special quality and again you can see this on the calendar which ‘day quality’ is dominant.
Fire – dedicated to fruit – this could be picking, pruning fruit bushes and trees or making jam
Earth – anything to do with root vegetable and the earth. Digging, weeding harvesting potatoes, sowing carrots, etc.
Air: Anything to do with flowers and oils. Sunflower would be a top example. This is a great time to pick olives and press their oil, incorporate flowers into salads and dishes and eat ‘flowery’ vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
Water: Leafy vegetables like spinach, all kind of salads and in the garden a great day for planting, fertilising and extra watering.
The reason I combined the gardening and eating is that until very recently you would grow your vegetable, harvest and eat them – usually all on the same day. There were no chest freezer or fridges available. When your trees had an abundance of fruit, you made jams, compotes, cider or stored them in a way that it lasted for a long time.
Root vegetables got pickled or fermented. Freezing is not a bad habit, but it works best if you pick and freeze, so the nutrients stay as fresh as can be. If you take only one thing away – try to eat less, but better and shop for food that is ‘alive’ – ideally grown near you, by an organic or even better biodynamic farmer or grow your own, making sure the soil is a nutritous as possible.