Monday, October 31, 2011

The Simple Things

The Simple Things
By: Chef Cristian Feher

People have many sayings. Some say it’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Others say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. And I’ve heard it mentioned that the best things in life are free. And while I don’t agree that the best things in life are always free - worthwhile things usually require a certain amount of sacrifice - I do believe that they can be simple.

The battle between simple and complex has been fought in the kitchen arena for as long as there have been culinary arts.

The idea for writing this article came to me last night as I snacked on fresh green avocados from my neighbor's yard. They were perfectly ripe, warm, and velvety smooth. As I enjoyed them with sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper and red wine vinegar, I realized that many of the best things I’ve eaten have been incredibly simple.

If you’ve ever been on a movie set, you’ve probably heard it said that location is everything. Well it’s certainly true when it comes to my memories of the simple and sublime. I recall the warm air rushing through my hair as we headed up a small branch of the Orinoco river in the Amazon jungle of South America. The water was a silky, black mirror reflecting an image of the sky ahead of us. I remember looking at the jungle on either sides and coming to the conclusion that if our boat broke down or sank, I probably wouldn’t make it through the night - they would never find us. But as most deadly things are, it was overwhelmingly beautiful with it’s bright flowers, dense vegetation, and live orchestra of wildlife sounds.

We arrived at a native indian tribe on the bank of the river, deep inside the jungle. The Indians were very interesting, some wearing nothing but a loin cloth and sticks through their noses, and others donned old Coca-Cola t-shirts. The day was spent learning about their culture and taking in the dramatic surroundings.

Towards the end of the day, an Indian brought us a couple of fresh pineapples that he had chopped down from a nearby patch. It was the juiciest, sweetest thing I have ever tasted. I lost my civility and devoured it with juices running down my face - the Indian looked at me as if thinking, “They call themselves civilized?”. I can still remember that perfect taste of natural fruit sugars, vitamins and minerals, grown on the fertile, virgin soil of the jungle and ripened slowly under the equatorial sun. Simple perfection.

I could write about many other simple things, but I feel they each deserve their own articles.

What are the simple things that you enjoy? You can email me at

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