BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Thinking Cap Feature
“Cristiana, founder of Oracle Olive Oil, is sharing more from her Brooklyn life with us today. With a food philosophy that’s informed by intuition, quality and a deep respect for her history, this creator’s fridge is a testament to the power of conscious and thoughtful decisions at the grocery store and market. Expect ferments, juice, psychedelic vegetables and some delicious bread. And of course a big bottle of her coveted and loved olive oil on the counter. Bring the islands to you.”
What is your food philosophy?
For me it’s about the setting or the general context of where and how I’m eating. While I try to refrain from living by a firm food framework — because I find such joy in the narrative of eating and everything that leads up to the meal — what I won't compromise on is eating food that’s high-quality, organic and as local as possible. I try to lead with intuition, and follow the foods and ways my ancestors have been eating for generations. Since both my parents grew up in small villages in Greece with their own farms and livestock, they really had no choice but to eat what was seasonal and available to them. Nothing was being flown in, and the legumes they didn't grow they bartered for with the local communities for. To not eat seasonally was just not possible for them back in the '50s. Fruit and vegetables had their timing, and it was within those windows that they were the ripest and most nutritionally beneficial to consume.
Fortunately, the foods I love and feel indulgent about happen to be good for me: nuts, matcha, high quality dark chocolate, eggs, wild and bitter greens (and really all vegetables), honey, berries, sourdough bread, wild fatty fish like salmon and sardines, and occasionally grass-fed meat that’s been painstakingly sourced. When I’m in the mood for dairy, I prefer raw goat or sheep's milk which I find more digestible. In the US, I tend to eat more coconut-based dairy, however in Greece I will happily eat thick Greek sheep's yogurt with walnuts and local pine honey every day and feel great. I tend to avoid gluten and soy, however if I'm a guest at someone’s home and they have lovingly prepared a meal for me, or if I’m traveling and want to explore a culture through its cuisine, then the experience takes precedence over any of those rules. There’s a story in that meal — an invitation to something revealing that I don't want to miss out on. I wasn’t raised with any foods that were prohibited, for better or for worse, and somehow that freedom has allowed for some space to enjoy eating without guilt or dogma. I also find eating foods like gluten when you’re stressed out in New York is very different than eating a delicious bowl of pasta when you’re fully present in Italy in late August.