There are two things that I sneak a peek at when I am at a friend’s house: the first is a look behind the shower curtain while using the bathroom because I like to see what products they’re using (the beauty junkie in me gets the best of my curiosity), and the second is their refrigerator or pantry situation because a.) I am a foodie and love to see how other people are eating and what they’re buying, and b.) it usually sparks deep conversation into our different worlds of food, new ideas spark, recipes are swapped, and my own grocery list becomes more diverse. The latter is what brings me to our latest column — a series created out of pure selfishness to give myself and Bleu’s readers a look into the kitchens of women around the world and a conversation about how and what they like to eat. Whether the food is healthy, healthy-ish, composed of various take-out orders, or full of junk, I want to see it. Problem is, we can’t think of a name for this series. We want something original and fun, and perhaps a little quirky or even sexy — Foodplay (a spin on foreplay) was a retired contender. Help us out in the name department and let us know your thoughts down below, would ya?
Without further ado, our first look behind closed kitchen doors is with 30-something, Meredith Baird Figone, Founder of Nucifera Body, restauranteur, plant-based food writer / recipe developer, and author of Coconut Kitchen, a book I own and love. Let’s take a look at Meredith’s approach to food, where she grocery shops in her hometown of Venice, California, and what she’s eating.
What is your philosophy on food? “I am forever inclined towards a plant-based diet, and truly believe this is best for the future of our planet, and our bodies. That being said, as I’ve gotten older, had a child, and breastfed, I’ve learned to listen to my body, and that means some variation occasionally. We do keep it mostly vegan at home with the exception of eggs.”
What do you always keep on hand? “Greens, kraut, avocado, olives, nori, and usually some kind of rice/ grain.”
Give us a breakdown of your fridge. What’s on the top shelf: “Leftovers from a weekend away, eggs, faux egg salad, Miyokos Vegan Cheese (always), hot sauce, and these really awesome Gluten-free buns from Sun Oven Bakery in Ojai.”
Middle shelf: “Almond Pate, Natto ( NYuture love!), tahini, miso, Blode Kuh cashew cheese spread, and many different types of sauerkraut and pickles, olives, nori, and a bottle of natural wine.”
Bottom shelf: “Gerolsteiner Water (always), celery and greens that I haven’t stored, fresh herbs in water, Mary Ruth’s multivitamin, dulse, and bulk Terrasoul hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, tocotreinols, and spirulina.”
Drawers & doors: “More greens, herbs, lemons, avocado, mango, squash, potatoes, etc. Right hand drawer is bulk rices, lentils, beans. Doors house a scary amount of vitamins, probiotics, tinctures, herbs, and very little food.”
Pantry staples: “Bulk goods! I’m lucky in that I still work in the food world, so I buy bulk whenever I can for recipe testing, etc. — one day I’ll get it all in glass jars! I get my goods from Terrasoul Superfoods, which has some of the most high-quality superfoods on the market: almonds, Brazil nuts, coconut shreds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, dates, apricots, dried mango, mulberries, Inca berries…so much good stuff. I make my own nut milks and dehydrated crackers / snacks with this stuff. Second shelf is mostly teas, powders, and coffees. I recipe developed for a company called Sun Alchemy that has great ready to drink tonics. Those are in there, too. The Mushroom Coffee is a big deal for me! Also, Chocolate, dried GF pastas, rice, oatmeal, coconut oil… .”
Where do you grocery shop? “I shop mostly based on my mood and what I’m doing that day. I’m lucky in that each local store has something that I get excited about. Erewhon for produce mostly, it’s the most walkable and fun to visit. Their speciality stuff is fun to get on occasion, but I don’t shop it every day. Rainbow Acres has good produce, great bulk, good made in-house juices, and reasonably priced specialty items like nut cheeses, hummus, etc. Also, the best kale chips on the planet! I go to Whole Foods for all the stuff I dread buying, and perpetually run out of — detergent, paper goods, etc. Santa Monica Co-op is the best one stop shop, but not as close. It’s my favorite actually. I mostly try to buy produce and greens from the weekend farmers markets, and get a bi-weekly delivery from this pretty cool company called Imperfect Produce.”
Favorite meal of the day? “Anything but breakfast, unless it’s brunch on the weekends.”
Go-to snack? “Sucker for kale chips, and this new dip I found called Nutty But Nice — its insanely good. I’m mostly a savory snacker: olives, crackers, chippy things. I used to love sweets, but the weirdest thing after having a child I have zero interest. It’s like my whole chemistry shifted.”
Recipe on rotation? “We do some variation on a bowl most nights of the week. Rice, greens, avocado, kraut, sea vegetables, roasted veggies, dips…etc. I’m so lucky that my husband will eat this way. I used to get a lot more creative, but I’m truthfully so busy right now I like to keep it simple.”