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a bit about food

February 25, 2011

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I haven’t been posting about food very much lately. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that ironically, even though I now have The World’s Most Beautiful Kitchen, I haven’t been cooking much. The other is that I’m just not thinking about food much at all lately. Or rather, haven’t been thinking about adventurous food much. In a different way, I think about food all the time, but more about that later in the post.

I have a confession to make. I never thought I would say this, but I am seriously sick of all the insane worship of food that is currently in vogue. Really, really sick of the glorification and exaltation of food. Not even just fancy food — but this gushy adoration of “the perfect peach” or “a simple meal of a salty cheese and roasted almonds.” Whatever. Just eat it.

I’ve been wondering why this feeling has been developing, especially since it’s well-established that I really like to cook, and I really like good food, and I really like being around food and food-makers and food-gadgets and cookbooks and all that stuff. Maybe it’s just oversaturation. I have a number of food blogs in my reader, and follow a few food writers on Twitter. But lately, I just don’t care. How many recipes can a person absorb? How many calls to “get back to basics” but only if your basics are quality and you “respect” the ingredients and then you sit down together with your family to slowly savor each amazing, bursting-with-flavor bite?

It’s one more step on the path to “you’re not doing it good enough.” If you’re tired and you buy a bag of salad mix and you top it with bottled dressing, you are “seriously missing out.” Or something. But who cares? If it’s good enough for you, isn’t that good enough? What if you like bottled salad dressing? (I don’t, in general, but I do love Gerard’s Champagne Vinaigrette — thanks a lot, Brother!)

But that’s not my point. My point is, I feel inundated with foodie chatter. It’s insane. Don’t you people have anything else to think about besides the perfect roasted chicken? This hyperfocus on food is starting to feel a little unhealthy.

It’s similar to the mommyblogger backlash I’ve been hearing about from my friends who are parents. Seriously — since when is Crayola not good enough for a three year old? Or god forbid the .99 cent store crayons, especially for kids who are going to break them and want to melt them into ‘art’ projects anyway?

The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed finding the ‘best’ recipe for a beloved meal or food item. The search for the perfect brownie recipe. The best blue-cheese salad dressing. I like food. A lot. I think locavore-ism is a good thing all around. I’m all for backyard gardens. I really enjoy yummy food, both the making and the eating. But lately, it’s all taking a back seat.

And maybe it’s just because the food situation in our house has dramatically shifted in the past year or so, but I have lost my food mojo.

Because of the multi-systemic nature of CFS, Terri now suffers from a number of gastrointestinal ailments. We have gone gluten-free at home. We avoid sugar and fat and dairy. We are vegetarian. She is on an insane amount of medications, and many of them require that you wait one hour before and/or two hours after eating, to take them. Multiple doses a day. This means that the window of time where she can eat is extremely narrow. The drugs and general not-feeling-well don’t really make for a raging appetite, either.

So what this means is that we are eating seriously stripped-down food. A meal could be quinoa with a homemade soy vinaigrette (with only a few drops of sesame oil). Maybe a few veggies on top, if she can manage. Sometimes avocado goes down okay, so a favorite meal is this quinoa with avocado. I make a really good tomato sauce, so sometimes we have tomato sauce and quinoa pasta.

Beyond those two recipes (and a few others), it can be hard to figure out what to make. And I don’t like to just make a  meal just for myself, if the other person is only going to have plain quinoa for dinner. So I eat plain quinoa, too.

(although I must say that as a result of all this, whenever I have an excuse to go out to eat with someone — a real treat these days — I pay zero attention to calories and order whatever the hell I want, which is rather liberating)

I try very hard to come up with very basic, low-fat, vegan meals, but I’m running out of ideas. So I guess this blog post is a two-parter:

  • To explain in part why I haven’t been posting much about cooking lately.
  • To ask if any of you have any very simple, low-fat, vegan recipes to share. I have a bunch of recipes and cookbooks, but I’m having trouble coming up with winners. Nutrient and calorie-rich foods especially.

Anyway. In place of cooking and eating, I am playing with Tarot a lot, reading a ton, and getting super-excited about my (as-yet nonexistent) garden. Maybe fresh home-grown food will re-spark our interest in food. We like food! We are just having a hard time figuring out what to eat!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2011 12:45 pm

    YES! YES! YES! i was just discussing this with jay earlier in the week. when did it become that every.single.meal we eat has to be the best tasting, prettiest, freshest food ever? cant we just eat to live and not live to eat? sometimes i eat breakfast and then i start thinking about what lunch is going to be and then i eat lunch and i start thinking about what dinner is going to be. its completely insane and i really dont think its healthy.

    its wonderful to have a big salad filled with locally grown produce. but sometimes its fun to just eat chick peas from a can, hobo style. its not pretty and its not blogworthy, but its not *bad* either.

    i dont know. am i babbling? its just that this is something thats been kinda bugging me lately and i was excited to see someone else address it. i love food but yet, right now, im really tired of talking about it.

  2. February 25, 2011 12:58 pm

    i thought of more i wanted to say.

    a lot of times conversations about food sort of make me feel guilty. for example, the other day someone told me they went to three different stores looking for organic chicken breasts. seriously? there are starving people probably within my own community and this person drove all over town looking for organic chicken. it just pisses me off.

    food can be a very elite thing anymore and i think thats wrong. the search for organic chicken is such a middle to upper class problem. frankly, its a non problem.

    ok, ill stop ranting here.

    • February 25, 2011 2:47 pm

      Yes, exactly. Get the organic chicken if you can. But really? You could also just GO WITHOUT THE CHICKEN. And have a can of chickpeas (which I think is a totally viable choice).

  3. February 26, 2011 5:59 am

    Yes, I totally agree, especially with Tammie’s food-as-elitist comment. I think it’s well and fine to try to do best for the self, and that doesn’t mean that *your* best is *my* best. I’m very much into the back-to-basics localvore sort of eating, but I also recognize that I’m privileged to be in a position to do so. And sometimes it’s about availability too. We buy salads in a bag with our local organic chicken, because that’s what’s available, and when you’re reliant on your own two feet to pick up all of your supplies, you go with what’s available. In some ways, becoming more conscious about food was in line with learning about my health and sorting out my own priorities, but then again they are *my* priorities and I wouldn’t assume that someone else should be the exact same way.

    We had friends in PDX who were total localvore slow-food foodies in every possible sense of each and every word. It was bothersome having even just a carry-in dinner with them because if the [x] wasn’t [y], there were complaints and annoyance. That’s a hot ticket for me, because instead of feeling happy that friends were together, if the [x] wasn’t [y] is was like a personal affront. We’re not really in touch anymore, so they weren’t great friends to begin with, but nonetheless it was a total turnoff. I swore I would never be that way and I hope that I’m not.

    • February 26, 2011 8:41 pm

      I mean really — that’s a lot of fuss for takeout. Who cares that much? Past a certain degree of likes/dislikes/preferences, just eat it, especially if it has been given to you, and especially if you are with friends.

  4. February 26, 2011 7:39 am

    Oversaturation is certainly a symptom of the internet and particularly blogging. I think the trick to try to avoid it is just to make sure you keep your own variety going in what you look at, read, etc. I tend to give folks the benefit of the doubt. If a person is passionate about food and that is what they want to blog about all the time it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are elitist or that all they ever think and talk about is food. It may just be that food is the only thing they feel like writing about but that they actual lives are filled with all kinds of other passions as well. It is so easy to get wrapped up in food because of all the cool shows on the Food Network, the tempting magazines with their beautiful food pics. For me it is rare to go out of my way to try to prepare the “perfect meal”, but when I do I enjoy going to these places for inspiration and ideas. But I wouldn’t want it to be the thing I was obsessed with daily. My food obsession, if I have any, pretty much exists during the spring and summer when fresh fruits and veggies can be had and when I can grill out. That is the time of year when I am most cognizant of what I am actually eating and am most absorbed in the idea of savoring flavors, etc.

    But man, it is so nice to be able to just grab some quick thing now and then and enjoy the ease of it without obsessing about the quality or calories or anything else.

    • February 26, 2011 8:43 pm

      I agree — when you can get fresh spring and summer veggies, I totally get the best I can get and enjoy them fully. We are looking forward to getting a small grill for just that reason! Yum.

      Had Chinese delivery here tonight, first time since moving to our new town. I’m sure it was anything but local, organic, or healthy, but it sure was delicious and I’ll enjoy it for many more meals (as a regular takeout order constitutes at LEAST 3 or 4 meals for me/us).

  5. February 28, 2011 10:00 am

    Daph, I’ve got so many vegan recipes. Can Terri do beans? Lentils? Is there a recipe for a certain something you are looking for? I can probably set you up!

    The whole foodie thing is annoying. I try to avoid it as much as possible.

    • February 28, 2011 11:31 am

      I will email you! I need to write you a letter, too. This week! We have tons of recipes, but it’s hard to find the ones that she likes. I’ll let you know what’s working lately and see if you have any suggestions…

  6. February 28, 2011 8:19 pm

    Food is on my brain all the time. But I have an excuse. We just made a major life change and I’m learning to center my meals in a very different way. The new will wear off and it will become old hat again.

    But right now…I love being inspired in the kitchen. It’s like a new hobby.

    • March 1, 2011 11:49 am

      It’s fun, right? Send me any new favorites, on your new cooking path!

  7. March 1, 2011 11:49 am

    I can seriously pig out on just rice and baby spinach. I usually add a protein of tuna which is probably not to your liking but still, just rice and spinach is my go to yummy hot food. A touch of thai peanut sauce and YUM.
    Hope you find some good ideas!

    • March 1, 2011 11:50 am

      Ooh, I like that idea (minus the tuna). It’s reminding me there is a really good lemon sauce that goes with rice and spinach — but peanut sauce would be excellent too! Thank you!

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