Tag Archive: Food

Food, glorious food!

Because, it is. Glorious, that is.  But lately I’ve come to think about food a bit differently. I decided that I really did need to drop some weight. There is no burning need to be a size 2 because that’s not my body type and frankly, I don’t think I have that kind of willpower. But no, I was starting to get a bit sluggish and wasn’t feeling all that hot and so I decided that my body would just feel better if I dropped some weight.  Just because I’m in my 40s, I don’t have to feel like I’m in my 70s.

So, I decided to do Weight Watchers. This came after a lot of research and thought and asking people I know and trust who are on it or have done it what they thought of it.  WW people have an almost fanatical devotion to the program and I do not mind saying that it threw me off a bit.  Groucho Marx said he would never belong to any club that would have him as a member and I kind of felt that way about WW. I’m fairly circumspect about what I weigh and I didn’t want it rah rah’ed all over the room. Once I was assured that this did not happen, I felt better.  And I was concerned about cost but it’s through work and that makes it all the more affordable. So, there were my two big issues blown to Hell.  And I did think I was going to be deprived of things I like. I’ve done diety type things in the past, Atkins being the big one. It wasn’t good long term and I put all of that weight back on when I went back to work after being laid off. Besides, life is too short to not eat a nice crusty baguette.  Bread, pasta, potatoes, all food of the Gods and I wasn’t prepared to live life without them. And the Atkins cereal sucked all kinds of serious ass.

But as you know, I love to cook and bake and I love to eat. I was worried that this was going to be curtailed by WW. Oddly, it hasn’t been. What WW has taught me is portion control. I bought a food scale and I am not afraid to use it. And yes, I did actually weigh a boob and no, I am not going to tell you what it weighed but I like to think that it explains a lot. It’s my fantasy, let me have it.  And I haven’t actually cooked less, I’ve been cooking more because frankly, they have some good recipes. And  I don’t deprive myself. Sometimes you gotta plan and sometimes you just gotta eat or have that cocktail and not worry about it. I think life is too short to not enjoy yourself when you can. If this was something that was going to make me think food was the enemy, it wasn’t going to work.  People thinking food is the enemy is the problem.  Food is wonderful. Especially cake.  Cake is beyond wonderful. Shit, I want cake now and we have none. Damn.

Where was I? Oh yeah…it’s amazing what you think is a portion and what really is a portion.  In some cases, it’s better than you expect and in others, you’re all “Seriously?  I can eat double that amount of cereal. Really?” and then I take a little extra because shit, it’s cereal. I love cereal. It’s one of my comfort foods.

And so far, it’s not a drag and I can do it easily enough and I don’t feel like I can’t eat what I want. I just need to eat less of it and exercise  (Feh…now this IS something I don’t like to do). And sometimes, I eat more. Whatever. I have Activity and weekly points. I can do that.  Now, let’s be honest..it’s me and that means I get distracted by shiny, pink objects a lot. In 6 months I could be over this but this is actually the one thing that seems to be consistently working at taking the weight off. Now, I just gotta stick with it. Again..me…distracted…shiny things.  I don’t even mind tracking. I’m a born list maker so to me, it’s like making a list.

I do have some blog guilt though. I go away for a long time and I come back and talk about diets. Blech. It’s more to share what’s going on but it is not going to become the focus of this blog. I shall be back to posting recipes, herb failures and smack talk about  Food tv shows very shortly.  And there is new season of Top Chef! Whhhooooo!

But yes, I do feel better and I do feel like I have more energy and I am still enjoying food and eating. I’m also craving fried chicken (my numero uno favorite/comfort food) so I need to get me some of that!



My Favorite Eating Cities

Undoubtedly my favorite city in the world is London.  But, it’s not my favorite city to eat my way through, even though the meal I had at Claridges was one of the best of my life. Neither is my hometown of Boston. Oh, there is plenty I love to eat and I have yet to be as happy about seafood away from home, but I have a few cities, so far, that make me positively gleeful when it comes to food.

New York City: Every time I visit NYC, I choose another restaurant or two that I want to try. From the hole in the wall, A Salt and Battery (deep fried Mars bars I love you) to a slightly more tony Les Halles (I love you too Bourdain), I just want to eat. And shop (for beads mostly). I still want to try Le Bernadin (I love you too Eric Ripert) and all of my much beloved TV chef restaurants. But to me the real finds are the places I just sort of happen into or friends tell me about. I have had some of the best meals ever in the big Apple.

New Orleans: My recent trip there is actually what made me think of this topic.  Gumbo, red beans and rice, Jumbalaya, debris sammies at Mother’s and the mack daddy Beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Those thing are famous for a reason, tourist trap or no. They are the best I’ve had.  I’m pretty fond of their chicory coffee too (and…I forgot to get some to bring home). I hate and drank my weight when I was there and I’d go back and do it again, any time.

Paris: Pretty much anywhere in France is some good eating and drinking.  Bread, cheese, chocolate pate, wine..that’s really all I need. Add in those amazing french sauces and I am all about french cuisine. Even their street cuisine, a ridiculously long hotdog wrapped in pastry dough and other sammies, makes me wistful for being over there.  And out in Provence, the wine and local ingredients are just awesome, and pretty inexpensive.

But, a very honorable mention goes to Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine. Best lobster roll I have ever had, hands down. And the counter woman was ridiculously friendly. It may have been because after ages in line, I knew what I wanted and ordered quickly and efficiently.

So…what are your favorite eating cities?

As we get into the season for nesting and stick to your ribs meals you start to hear the words “comfort food” bandied about quite a bit by the tv personalities on your favorite cooking show.   The food become a bit heavier as the days become a bit shorter and instead of thinking of about having a nice salad or piece of grilled chicken, your thoughts start to turn to stews and soups and heavier foodstuffs. Things that remind you of home, hearth and being a kid again.

Think about it. When you have a grilled cheese and tomato soup (Campbell’s please!) you know you are thinking about being a kid and having that as your weekend lunch or after school snack. Although, more often than not, my after school snack was cereal. No matter the season.  As a matter of fact, my after WORK snack is often cereal as well.  And yes, cereal does comfort me but it’s pretty easy. I don’t have to cook it. It takes maybe 5 minutes to prepare and it’s usually gone within 10 minutes.

So, if you make it yourself…is it still comfort food? Yes and no, I think. I do most of the cooking in my house…wait, who am I fooling? I do pretty much ALL of the cooking in my house. So, while I am gratified and often satiated by my food, I am not often comforted by it. Except for mashed potatoes.  I am always comforted by those, even if I make them myself.  I am comforted knowing that others are enjoying my food. But for me, true comfort food should be something made for you, by someone you love or who loves you, because they  love you.  Cooks of the world know that sometimes it’s just really nice to have a home cooked meal that someone else has cooked for you.

My mom hates to cook. And it’s a good thing I eventually grew to love it or else we’d all starve.  She makes a couple of things really well…the Thanksgiving turkey (although I help now) and meatloaf. And she can poach an egg like nobody’s business. When I am sick, all I want is  my mom to poach me an egg or two. It immediately makes me feel better.  But really, it doesn’t count if someone else poaches it. Like the inevitable braids I have to put my hair when I’m sick, poached eggs belong to mom and I have to have them when I’m sick.

And now we get to meatloaf. It’s important to note that I don’t actually much like meatloaf. Historically, the loaf of meat can be made of any kind of ground meat. Ground beef is the meat most commonly used but you can use pork, veal, lamb…etc. And this American staple actually came to us by way of Europe and who knows, maybe even those industrious and land  grabbing Romans!  At one point, veal was more commonly used as it was cheaper but I think that’s all meat under the broiler at this point.  Mom used ground beef exlusively. So, I don’t like meatloaf. I never make it, I never order it anymore and I never think “Hey, let’s get meatloaf”. Unless, it’s mom’s meatloaf. It is the ONLY meatloaf I like and the only meatloaf I eat. Someone once tried to make her and I one and we had one bite, tasted the dryness and ordered out. Man, was he MAD! But, his meatloaf sucked.  So, if I  make myself meatloaf, it holds no allure. If my mom makes meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans (from a can. Shut it! They have to be from a can), I immediately get the whole food that feeds your body and soul. Because it reminds me of being a kid and one of the few things my made that she knew she killed on. It makes me think of sitting at the table with her when I was little, just talking and having dinner. Discussing the day.  That’s comforting.

So tonight when I go home…because it’s been a tough year and I am a good girl, I get the comfort of my mom’s meatloaf.

What is your comfort food and is it as comforting for you when you make it, versus someone else making it for you?

Your relationship with food

Think about it…you have a relationship with food.  Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent…it exists.   So, do me a favor and stop for a minute and think about this relationship.  Do sumptuous spreads spring to mind? Tables laden with your favorite comfort foods? A Weight Watchers brownie? A treadmill?  A lot of people think of food merely as fuel and not as an expression or extension of themselves and their personality.  Does the food you like to eat or cook say something about you? If you prefer foie gras to french fries, does this mean you are less of a person, or that you’re a jerk or that you just like an expensive piece of meat?

Does your dinner say something about you? My dinner today was hummus and pita along with Kashi asiago cheese crackers and garlic and herb spread. I like snacking.  I am pretty sure this means my relationship with food has a short attention span.  Or, that I was a bit lazy and didn’t feel like cooking.  And that I like to snack.

I have always run a bit curvy and I’ve always had a bit of  belly. I suspect I would have made a lovely courtesan. I would have lounged around all day, eating chocolates and calling for lovely nibbles to be brought to me while my lover of the moment brought me sparkling baubles. I wouldn’t have felt it necessary to get on the treadmill, or run or take yoga.  The truth is that I hate running and the treadmill but I like yoga a lot.   Kate Moss has recently said that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels and for her, that might true and that’s sad. But I have never wanted to be thin so much that I was ready to give up the foods I love, especially on a permanent basis.  I believe in all things in moderation (except shoes, the more the merrier there). But I also know that every so often, I am going to eat too much. I just think life is too short and that food is too good to beat myself up about it.

I like to eat. I like going out with friends and eating a good deal. I love seeing what they get and how they enjoy it. I love talking about food and I love cooking it.   I find a perfectly fried piece of chicken just as wonderful as a seared piece of pork belly.  My relationship with food, my food personality if you will, invites all comers.  I just want something to good to eat. Sometimes it’s a salad, sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes it’s a deep fried twinkie. Sue me…I think “fried” should be a food group.  And I love to experiment. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that being in the kitchen is fun.  It helps me decompress after a bad day, it helps me focus. Over the last year, there has been nothing to help my focus so much as cooking.   It brings me joy. The day I was able to make an omelet a la Julia Child (complete with the pan flip), was a big freaking deal for me.  And when I make something new that people like, it pleases me to no end.

I am not looking to change my life through food, I am not looking to lose weight, or gain weight. I am not looking for that EPIPHANY that will all of a sudden make my world brighter and better.  I like my day job (although stressful lately) and I don’t want to change careers. I am just looking to gain knowledge about food and ingredients and cooking.

In short..my happy bloggers…I am just looking to…wait for it…take a taste.