Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A food epiphany

I'm not one given to epiphanies, as in great insights into your life. I had a friend who seemed to have a new and remarkable insight every other day, and it wearied me, but today I had an epiphany. I always used to look forward to Wednesdays because the newspaper had the food section, Jeannie and I went to the Star for meatloaf, and West Wing was on at night. Now, West Wing has gone away, Jeannie and I don't go to the Star much, and the food section has shrunk. But today it had an article on cooking for one. The recommended menu was oven-baked salmon on top of oven-baked, crisp zucchini strips and covered with sauce verte, sort of the French version of chimichurri. It combines basil, parsley, capers, olve oil, chives, garlic, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice--all my favorite flavors.
As I read I realized that I have somehow gotten out of the habit of cooking good meals for myself. It's too easy to grab a big spoonful of store-bought tuna (yuck! do I really do that?) a couple of hearts of palm, and a bit of hummus--tonight I really over-estimated on the amount of hummus I can eat at one sitting   But after reading this menu-for-one, I resolved to go back to cooking healthy, interesting meals for myself--I guess I'd been saving my food creativity for company, but that's sort of silly.
The first step, for me, is something I've been meaning to do for weeks now--clean out the freezer. It's jam-packed full of I-don't-know-what, and I've been trying to eat out of the freezer to use it all up. But I simply need to "pitch" some items. My mother, who lived through the Depression, always thought I was too quick to pitch leftovers. I meant to get to the freezer today and didn't, but it's on my immediate to-do list.
Meanwhile, I had a sociable day. When Charles was still able, he much enjoyed lunch at the Black-Eyed Pea with friends from the Unitarian Church. So today I tagged along with Jay and Suzie Lotven, whom I'd met through Charles, and joined the lunch bunch. A most enjoyable meal, with lots of different intellectual discussions going on--this may be a generalization, but Unitarians are an educated, interesting, intellectual group, all liberals, and besides, I love the Pea's vegtable plate, though I think I ordered wrong today--I got plain squash intead of the squash casserole I love. Anyway, it was fun, and there were a few people I knew there.
Late this afternoon, John and Cindy came by to pick up the old plastic porch chairs I was discarding--they'll put them out by their stock tank, a delightful, tree-sheltered place to sit (if you can avoid mosquitoes). They stayed for about fifteen minutes and we sat on the porch and visited. Then Christian came by to pick up the toys Jacob left last night and the leftover brisket for dinner. I grabbed supper--yep, tuna and hearts of palm and hummus--and then Sue came by for a drink and a good visit. All fun, and much as I want to stay home and write, I enjoy the sociability.
Realized, belatedly, that my first class of the fall session of my private Write Your Life class is tomorrow night. Fortunately I planned to go to the grocery tomorrow anyway, because I provide snacks and wine the first night. Now I have that planned.
Busy weekend coming up, so it may be next week before I get to Central Market and implement my new eating plan. But in the meantime, I have all that good Pisces tuna and salmon. I'll get by and still have creative, healthy meals. I talked to two people today who have been vegan for about nine months--one was vegetarian for years before that. But they both reported remarkable improvements in their health--lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, no more migraines, allergies and sinus problems improved. I'm confused because all these different diets--vegan, gluten free, dairy free--seem to do so much for people I meet. I don't know if I have the will power to do that--I asked the vegan lady if she had cravings, and she said yes, she wants bacon, a good grilled burger, and cheese. I'm just not sure I'm ready to give up the things I enjoy, and if I did--what diet? Besides, the one time I ate at the local vegan restaurant, I didn't like it at all--but maybe I ordered the wrong thing. Then another part of my mind says I eat a healthy balanced diet--particularly when I cook for myself and get off this easy and fast kick. So there's my epiphany and resolve.

No comments: