When you hear the word "gourmet", what pops into your mind? If you are like most Americans you probably picture a five-star restaurant with a fancy chef and linen tablecloths; a celebration of a special event or holiday. You most certainly do not think of “gourmet" and every day as belonging together in the same sentence.... but you should. Americans love food just as much as their cousins across the pond  but we certainly do not take the time to make the consumption of food an experience, something that is commonplace in most other countries.

gourmet every day

Hurry hurry, bustle bustle, grab a bite from the drive-through and eat it at the stoplight with one hand gripping the wrapper, another holding the steering wheel and a drink balanced between your knees; that is dining the American way. Dinner is a microwaved meal from a box eaten in front of the TV with reality shows as your only source of ambiance. Gone are the days of sitting down to a meal at a table with actual place-settings and pleasant conversation. We have traded the enjoyment of food for "quick" and "convenient". Nowadays the only time you probably sit down and truly enjoy a real meal in on a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. I will admit freely that I am guilty of all of the major food crimes I previously listed, and many more. My microwave is my chef more often than not and I should own stock in disposable tableware. I am not sure exactly when I stopped taking the time to prepare myself real meals, I suppose it was somewhere around the third season of American Idol or when I bought that really comfy couch.

Regardless of the timing or the reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that I deserve gourmet meals every day, and so do you. I know what you are thinking, gourmet, seriously, who has the time? I think the problem is most of us are misconstruing the true meaning of the word "gourmet". It has less to do with being fancy and more to do with making your meals a pleasant experience. The enjoyment of food is a lost art for most of us and it is one that I wholeheartedly propose we bring back into fashion. It really is not that hard to do, we can do it together, trust me. Picture it, your kitchen at dinner time; mouth-watering scents are wafting through the air and filling your home with warmth and anticipation. In the next room your dining room table is set with real plates, a bottle of wine is on the counter breathing, the soft glow of candlelight illuminates the culinary delights that fill your plate. There is no tv, no phone, no distractions. You are taking bites, chewing, tasting, truly enjoying; that is what gourmet is really all about. Every bite of your meal is like a vacation for your taste-buds, you sigh contentedly and try to remember the last time you felt so sated.  A good meal can be life-affirming; it can turn the everyday into gourmet with just a small bit of time and effort. Now I know that we are all crazy busy and life is go go go, but food is something that should be savored not shoveled into your mouth between commercial breaks and red lights.

In the real world where most of us live I know that we are all stressed tired and especially hungry, and that is what drives us to rush through the process of eating. We mostly think of preparing meals as something of a chore, something we must do, not something we look forward to. We must consciously strive to treat ourselves better even if it is as simple as putting your take-out food on a real plate and turning off the tv. I am going to take up the challenge, and I hope you all will join me. Together we can make gourmet every day, a new way of American life.