Food stylist, writer and photographer Marie Verdenius with a must-follow Instagram, has a particularly unique simplified style with food. With the thousands of recipes and food images we see on Pinterest I find it very refreshing to see food portrayed in such a stripped down, soothing approach. I had the pleasure of talking with Marie about her relationship with food and how a great meal can come from just a single ingredient as we draw near to wrapping up A Month of Minimalism.
How would you describe your personal relationship with Minimalism?
I think there is a lot of beauty in the simplest things that surround us every day. I am certainly drawn to minimalism, but I believe it is important that it still feels comfortable and warm. Minimalism can often be interpretated as cold or unpersonal. For me it means focusing on the basics, but with an eye for detail and design.
In regards to food, do you apply minimalist values to the way you shop and prepare food?
When it comes to food, I pay a lot of attention where the ingredients are produced or where it’s been made. Like bread for instance. I rarely bake it myself, so I love visiting artisanal bakery shops where you get a glimpse of how they work. Two of my favorite shops in Amsterdam have adjacent bakeries and it is such a joy to see how much love the bakers put in it to create their pastry, baguettes or sourdough loaves. I like to capture this love in my photography and styling just by using only the product and only a few props.
How much does sustainability and even managing waste play a part in your relationship with food?
I think sustainability and no waste are very important when it comes to food. I tend to buy most of it at organic shops and local producers. Luckily I live in an area where I have good access to these kind of products. I also try to only buy what’s necessary, but to be frank, sometimes I simply can’t prevent it to end up in the bin…
Some people prefer rarely to eat and opt for cooking all their own meals in order to have complete control over how their meals are prepared, while others rarely keep food in their kitchens and love having a meal prepared for them by someone else. Do you enjoy eating at a restaurant or making your own meals?
I love both! Cooking after work can be a real challange at some times, because I don’t want it to be too complicated. But I do believe it is important to eat food that is good for the body and soul. It does not always have to be healthy, as long as you enjoy eating it! I especially like cooking for friends and family, it makes me forget about things and just focus on preparing a nice meal.
Eating outdoors is also something I really enjoy. In my hometown Amsterdam there are so many places to have good food, it is unbelievable! I have a few classics I always visit, but maybe even more new ones I need to make reservations for.
What sort of tips or advice would you give to people to want to eat more simply but not necessarily boring? How can people learn to find and appreciate the beauty in simple foods.
I would say not to complicate things too much. Everybody has specific ingredients that they really love and if you like to cook you are probably already able to make something really delicious with it.
Take out one of those ingredients, like for instance sweet potato, and search for new simple recipes. Maybe you normally roast them in the oven with some rosemary, but what if you use them in a lentl soup, serve them as a puree side dish or combine them with chicken and thyme in a tray bake? There are so many ways to cook wonderful things with only five or six ingredients, so I’d say search for it on the internet, in cookbooks, or just ask your local supplier to give you some tips.
Are there other aspects of your life that you would relate to your food styling or with minimalism in general? Do you have a minimal wardrobe or have any personal values where less is more for you?
When it come to minimalism I’d say my interior is quite basic. I love natural tones and materials combined with hints of black and lot of white. I don’t need a lot of stuff anyway, I simply want to invest in beautiful design, which does not mean it has to be expensive. Just look around in second-hand shops, they are the best when it comes to finding unique items!
The last couple of years I’ve moved house three times and every time I brought things I did not need anymore to second hand shops or give them away to friends. I also love the concept of a sharing economy, we simply don’t need it all.
My wardrobe reflects the love for simple designs, natural colours and pure, soft materials. I rarely buy at big warehouses anymore, but search for more ‘green’ and fair options. Thankfully in The Netherlands there are quite a few sustainable brands.