<< Salad is arugula, fennel (thinly sliced), blood orange and black olives drizzled with balsamic and blood orange infused olive oil. Noodles are made from raw summer squash topped with a raw spaghetti sauce and marinated mushrooms.
John gave me the book: Raw: The Uncook Book when it came out in 1999 after seeing an interview with its author, Juliano Brotman. I was new to vegetarianism back then and looking for inspiration.
The idea behind "raw" (sometimes called living foods, raw veganism, rawism) is that fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are the most beneficial to our bodies in their natural state. When we cook them, they lose enzymes and phytonutrients. So, a raw apple is in the absolute best state for our body to use it. Bake it and it loses something but is still good for us; add sugar then let it sit in a jar on a shelf and it retains very little value; create chemical apple flavor and call it Apple Jacks and we've lost the plot.
Many of the writers talk about the vibration of living foods—that living things vibrate at a higher level than dead things—and therefore create better energy for our bodies and souls. Since we are all made up of energy (think Einstein's famous formula), it seems a plausible theory. As a girl who believes in a world spoken into being, I can conceive that there may be more to it than we can scientifically measure and create a pill to replace.
Since that first book, I've read a lot of raw veggie gurus such as David Wolfe, Ani Phyo, Yuri Elkaim and Natalia Rose. And while I haven't found 100% raw to be sustainable for me (nor do I feel like it needs to be), I have found that when I'm eating at least 50% raw I simply feel better. (And it gets way easier to sustain a lower weight.)
The tools for making raw foods are different than conventional cooking. They rely on high-end blenders, mandolin slicers, spiralizers, juicers and dehydrators (that only heat foods to 115 degrees).
Sunday night, I went to a class at Be Raw Food and Juice Cafe in Dallas. They taught us to make raw pastas and sauces. Since everything is made from living foods, the noodles are typically created from vegetables that are spiral sliced. You can make a super-quick version at home by using a vegetable peeler to slice "ribbons" of zucchini. (I like to soak mine in salt water first then drain before serving to make them a little softer.) Serve them raw on a plate topped with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, chopped tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil or make a simple a pesto sauce.
I've found with cooking that it isn't something I can learn from a book. Somebody needs to show me. I'm glad Be Raw is committed to teaching skills. And the best part of taking classes? Eating the results!