Behind the Plate


November 27, 2015

Her name is Beth, but you might recognize this food lover as @simplywithout. Beth lives in New York, and her blog Simply Without is a great resource for local NYC clean-eats. But fear not—you can turn to her for in-the-kitchen inspiration as well. Beth’s recipes are inventive, fun, approachable, and often very savvy on the #NoFoodWaste front too!

How do you define good food?
Food that is thought about, cared for and loved. It is literally from the moment the seed begins to grow that the food journey starts. Everyone involved in the journey has an impact on the food and can help to make the end result good food. One of my favorite things to do is, not just cook and eat good food, but think about it. Thinking about and planning meals makes the flavors and ingredients come to life—as they take on their own place on the chopping board, pan or plate, they all become important parts of the bigger picture. To me, good food is food that nourishes you, invokes conversation and of course tastes good.

What is your go-to breakfast?
Green smoothie!

Do you have a favorite food trick?
Making a big batch of herb butter and freezing it. Then any time you need a dab of butter, you just bring it out and add it to a dish. The herbs add an extra zing to whatever you are making. My favorites are basil, sage and ramp butters!

Who was/is your food inspiration?
My family. I grew up around food, watching my dad cook as a child from a small wooden stool in our kitchen. My eyes would follow him around as he married flavors and paired ingredients. From then on, I was the official pasta taster for the family. For me, food was part of our family’s daily conversations from an early age. My mom always taught me about food etiquette and exposed me to recipes and food writers as my passion and desire to cook and learn developed. Uncles, aunts, cousins and godparents all played an important part of my childhood around food. You could pinpoint events, holidays, celebrations and family gatherings by what we ate. Every holiday revolved around food, weekends were for food shopping, planning and cooking. We talked about what to have for lunch at breakfast, and dinner at lunch. I am lucky enough to have found my life partner and husband, who not only shares in my food passion, but enjoys eating out, reading menus with me, guessing what each other will order, and my favorite—planning and preparing meals together. Nothing settles a long day better than some music and chopping fresh garlic. Food is my life and I’m excited to share it with the world any way I can.

Top three herbs, in order of importance?
Basil, cilantro, sage.

Is there any ingredient that you can’t stand?
I love the flavor of rosemary, but do not like the stick-like texture when used in roasting.

What is your go-to dinner party dish?
Homemade gnocchi.

Who is one famous person, dead or alive, that you want to share a meal with? and where?
Mark Bittman at Crossroads in LA.

What’s always in your fridge?

What was your biggest #foodfail?
I once tried to make a croissant and it turned out terribly—barely edible. Baking has intimidated me ever since.

If you were a food, what would you be and why?
Garlic. It gets to sleep all winter while growing, and pop out in the spring in a grand entrance with ramps. Most dishes begin with garlic, so I would be used a lot and get to meet all new flavors and ingredients in the dishes added after me.

Your good-food wish?
My good-food wish is to bring this conversation to the larger table—to tables across the world. To encourage communities, families and individuals to look at what they are eating, get involved in local food movements, and make food a priority for the health of our planet and bodies.

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