In the search for balance, some people practice yoga, others time management, but Su-Mei Yu checks the weather, then heads to the kitchen. Yuchef-owner of San Diego's Saffron and author of the recent cookbook The Elements of Lifewas raised according to Thai traditions; influenced by Buddhism, these hold that the key to balance, and physical health, lies in cooking and eating the right ingredients for the weather.
These traditions rival the Physicians' Desk Reference for complexity, but briefly summarized, they start with the idea that the world is made up of four elements: water, fire earth and wind. A little like astrological signs, or God, the elements influence everything from our personalities to the seasons and the time of day. They're even associated with different tastesand Thais count nine tastes, from buttery to sour to sweet. Thai medicine emphasizes keeping the elements and tastes in balance.
- Chefs, Can You Please Lighten Your Food?
- Mexican Favorites Made Healthy
- Everyday Japanese
- Eat This or All That: 1,500 Calorie Meals
It all boils down to a practical and delicious notion: It's important to eat the most nourishing foods, particularly when it's not very nice outside. And for anyone not lucky enough to live in San Diego, March weather is often not nice at all. For these six dishes, Yu has chosen ingredient combinations that protect the body during the transition from cold, dry winter to cool, wet spring.