If you are like me, the vast majority of your meals are eaten at home these days…or they are prepared at home and packed for the road. For whatever reason, at whatever age, you came to care about what you eat and how it is prepared. You even care about where it is sourced. You know that there is a direct connection between the food you eat and the well-being of your body, mind and soul. Some of you have been cooking nourishing, traditional food for a long time. Some of you started after reading the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon, almost 20 years ago. Some of you have just come to it, and others have been dabbling here and there. Whoever you are and where ever you are on the “real food-loving trajectory”, once in a while, it would surely be nice to have a treat, to take a break, to celebrate an event by “going out to eat”. To have someone else do the prep and the dishes. To know that you could dine out and feel satisfied. To have your hunger sated, knowing you had provided your body with the nutrients it needed.
Unfortunately, until now, we real foodies had no way to know if a restaurant (or carry out) prepared food in the ways that would truly nourish us, in the ways that we would prepare the food ourselves. Often, going out to dinner meant spending a lot of money only to come home and still be hungry, checking the refrigerator for our homemade leftovers. To have toxins flood our bodies, overload our liver, and leave us with headaches, bloating, and perhaps nausea, flatulence, or other symptoms. To be “well-fed, but malnourished”.
The Twelve Spoons have been developed to rate a restaurant on those criteria that are most important to those of us who care about what we eat. The criteria are listed below. It is our strong desire that not only will you have a resource you may use to find a restaurant that you can feel good about patronizing, but also that by asking the questions and rating food service establishments, we will affect change in the industry. In the days and weeks to follow, look for posts discussing each one of the criteria, what it is, what it means and why it is important. We’ll talk about food service “work arounds” that lead to unhealthy food. You will also learn how to use the criteria when you eat out, and how to navigate a menu, making healthful menu choices with ease. Bon Appetit!
The Twelve Spoons:
- Serves mostly (i.e., more than half of the menu) fresh food, prepared from scratch. Does NOT rely primarily on kits or prepared/partially prepared foods from commercial food services.
- Offers at least some pastured animal foods.
- Offers some dishes made with organ meats (liver/paté, sweetbreads, heart, kidney, brains, etc.).
- Cooks (sautés) in natural fats such as butter, lard, tallow, duck fat, coconut oil, or olive oil; uses lard, duck fat, or tallow for frying.
- Makes own bone broths/stocks for use in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces (does NOT use canned broth or powdered soup bases).
- Makes own seasoning mixes (does NOT use flavoring packets or MSG).
- Makes own salad dressings using olive oil or cold-pressed sesame oil.
- Offers genuine sourdough bread.
- Offers lacto-fermented beverages (such as kombucha or kvass).
- Offers lacto-fermented condiments.
- Offers desserts made in house with natural sweeteners (such as raw honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, molasses, date sugar, palm sugar, coconut sugar, sorghum syrup, or malt syrup).