Impossible to count how many times I have asked myself that question. But there are two answers that gave me the most notable food for thought: that fat is good for you, and that fat is flavor.
Ok, so, both of those answers do require certain explanation, but they are both essentially true, and my morning cinnamon raisin bagel with butter and cream cheese (those of you who have learned to control yourselves in the bagel department, please don’t let me know, or at least try to control your shudders), is just one good of example of the second. Sure a bagel is, on its own, practically food euphoria. But add to it pure, no apologies offered fat (yes, that would be the butter and cream cheese), and it suddenly becomes not only euphoric but absolutely irresistible.
The “fat is good for you” part of the equation is not so adaptable to my food intake today. I did eat a salad for lunch (and some left over potatoes…..and some, just a little I promise, super delicious almond toffee) and the sprinkling of bottom of the bag trail mix bits that my mother dumped on it is a pretty good case in point of the fat is good for you fact. We do actually need fat in our diet, just not the fat that we all usually are in the mood to eat. But if you ever wondered why most nuts, avocados, and certain meats taste soooooooo good, that would be because they have a huge fat content. Which brings me back to: fat is flavor.
I didn’t start realizing how very true this was until my third job in the restaurant biz as a cook. You know that silky finish fine dining sauces always seem to have that yours don’t? Butter. You know that amazing chocolate cake that just screams for you to engulf it, or perhaps make it last as long as possible, that you can never manage to recreate at home? Butter. You know that one seafood appetizer that you will always fall for, even though it is ridiculously priced? Butter. The answer is always butter.
Some people may not want to hear this. After all, doesn’t that mean that to eat yummy food they will have to get fat from eating all the butter? (btw, when I figured this out, I was actually happy because I finally had the secret I had never known before. anyways.) It doesn’t mean that. Because although fat is always flavorful, it is not the only thing that is flavorful. Now stop and read that sentence again. Its important, because it is that reality which sets apart great restaurants from the average. Because fat is so flavorful, it can sometimes be the cheater way out of working for flavor, or caring about it. So next time you despair of eating good food, just come back here to this site and read that sentence again.
That being said, as I write this post, I am nibbling as slowly as I possibly can on a quite fantastic vanilla bean creme brulee; and here’s some advice folks: if you’re gonna eat creme brulee, just use the heavy full fat cream, ok?