The first (and to my mind perhaps the most important) lesson in Smart Chefs is to EAT WHAT YOU LOVE. If that seems an obvious point -- don't we all eat the foods we love? -- take a look in your refrigerator and cabinets and see if most or many of the foods you really love and want in your diet on a regular basis are on-hand. If you want to eat great food, you have to have great ingredients available. Forget about ever acquiring the cooking skills of your favorite chef -- you probably won't and you don't need to. But think about how they shop. It helps to imagine your home kitchen a bit like a restaurant, not in terms of preparing fancy meals, but rather in stocking your basics.
During our interview for the book, the wonderful Chicago chef Rick Bayless told me, "What I want to eat is the stuff that is going to keep me the size I am." Me too. So that means this week I'm probably going to eat at least one meal that includes salmon, another with beans (probably a salad since it's warm right now), a few that include salad or spinach and I'm going to want Greek yogurt and fruit most mornings, and I'll be grumpy if I can't have it.
In the extremely exclusive restaurant that is my apartment dining room, these are the usuals. If I don't have the components, I can't make the dish (even if the "dish" is just bananas in yogurt). You know how you feel when you go to a real restaurant and they have 86'ed your favorite item? Don't do that to yourself. Know the foods you love and keep them around.