Macrobiotic practice and cooking were originally based on island-style cooking from Japan. Island-style cooking has a powerful ability to concentrate and strengthen energy and vitality. Over time, this style alone may become too restrictive for many. Also, many people live on a continent and in many cases, the conditions of modern life create a need to open up and disperse energy more than in the past. When considering cooking and techniques, it is useful to create a balance between island and continental cooking styles. We will elaborate on these ideas and styles of cooking in a future blog.
In “The Complete Macrobiotic Diet,” Susan’s recipes and 10-day-menu plan combine island and continental cooking styles and dishes. Embracing both styles of cooking makes macrobiotic practice not only more enjoyable and healthy, but appealing to larger numbers of people. For the remainder of the summer, it helps to keep the following things in mind.
It may have been accurate at one point to have pressed salad in favor of raw salad, but it is certainly not the case now. The combination of the stress of modern living and the high degree of physical and electromagnetic pollution contributes to drier overall conditions. With a drier condition comes a need for more liquids, freshness, and mild (grain and vegetable based) sweetness.
The best quality of hydration comes from foods with higher water contents. It makes sense when considering how foods with high water content hold water; water is stored within them. Eating these foods gives us the ability to efficiently utilize liquid even more than drinking as our primary source for hydration. When we have seasonal, local, and indigenous plants, we gain that ability and seasonal alignment more strongly.
In general, in the summer you can enjoy less whole, and more cracked grains and pastas (bulgur, couscous, polenta) because they have more lightness and open energy. Wet rice dishes such as risotto or soupy styles of Spanish or Portuguese rice are also apt this time of year. You can enjoy shoyu-seasoned soups more often (works as hot or cold broth) and less miso soup. Another change could be pureed sweet vegetable soups (ex: sweet potato soups), more stir-frys and quick sautés, less roasting and baking. Remember to enjoy seasonal bitter greens.
In salads, juicy refreshing foods such as lettuce and cucumbers as well as more pungently refreshing things such as radishes and red onions work very well. During the summer, there are also all of the seasonal fruits, especially berries, melons, and tree fruits. The interaction of fresh fruits in the sunlight does something really wonderful.
This is the basic pattern to enjoy until the end of August.