What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Play Along At Home!

It's time for some interactive internet... I need someone to tell me what I ate for dinner. I haven't died yet... ate some of the same thing a few days ago, too... and it came from my beloved local farm delivery service, so I trust it. It is some sort of technically-green bean. But definitely not your ordinary grocery store variety. What is it? How is it best-prepared? I don't know. Do you?

The first night we ate the Mystery Bean, I simply steamed it with a little lemon. It was good. Beany. Tonight I stir-fried it with mushrooms, onion, red pepper, and carrot. And completely forgot to take more pictures. With a bit of a tamari-garlic-lemon sauce, it was very good alongside grilled pork chops.

In case anyone has a weird monitor... the splotchies on the Mystery Beans are pinkish-red, not brown or anything diseasey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This has nothing to do with food

So all ye with your growling guts, and head teeming with visions of sugar plums (or bacon), turn away... this is not the post for you. Or maybe it is. Maybe you can stuff your faces with whatever's nearby, and be able to think non-food thoughts. (Yes, I know... strange new territory for me, as well.)

Shockingly, this close to an election, this post is about politics. I didn't expect to go there. But, here I am. And after all this preamble, I'm actually going to let someone else do most of the talking. So, please... go here. Read why no one with a brain should vote for McCain.

After being initiated into the Grieving Parents Club over 5 years ago, I have been on an email list called SPALS (Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss Support). I am constantly astounded at the number of women who's bodies flip out on them. The complications that everyone has heard about but no one really thinks about- eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation, incompetent cervix- happen hundreds of times a day. Right now, as you're reading this, there is a mother-to-be right here in America who is suddenly losing her baby.

What no one thinks about is... if the mama is less than 26 weeks along and suffering from eclampsia, staying pregnant could kill her. And the baby is hardly ready for life outside the womb. And if the situation gets dire enough, the docs induce her or she gets a c-section. With everyone knowing the baby will die. That is, essentially, an abortion. The right to save the mother's life in that instance would be taken away by John McCain. And it's not a rare event, unfortunately. If the laws tie the hands of the doctors, there will be such confusion and chaos... and so much more loss of life. Because, if mama dies with baby in-utero, baby dies, too. And then a heartbreaking situation gets even worse.

I don't like abortion, and hate applying the word to the above example, but McCain and Palin wouldn't shy away from it.

This mama is voting for Obama.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tilapia, fruit of the sea?

I have had a craving stuck in my head for a few months now. It is very specific. I can see it, almost perfectly in my mind. It is a nice fat fish, head and all, stuffed full of, well... stuff... and wonderfully crispy from the grill.

I just can't remember where I saw it.

I have been rather unsuccessfully searching for the recipe and the right fish for quite a while. I keep not getting it right. But that's ok... because the "failures" all taste pretty darn good anyway. Today's fish was black tilapia, because that's what the store had in the category of "dinner is looking at you." And it was. But anyway... it wasn't quite what I'd expected, so I needed to google around for some ideas. I was inspired by this marinade and the basic gist here.

I cooked up half a bell pepper, half a giant red onion, half a mystery pepper (of the spicy kind), and a few mushrooms, all chopped up of course. And cooked in bacon fat, of course. I stuffed some of that into the fish. The rest was simmered in the leftover marinade.

The fish was a lot smaller than I'd expected, at under 1 pound, including all the bits we weren't going to eat. So I told the Grill Geek to toss a couple of boudin on the grill, as well.

The promise of good things to come...

He grilled the fish about 5 minutes per side. It worked. Not undercooked, not overcooked.

The anticipation:

Despite the oil in the marinade, the skin stuck to the grill basket. Oh, well, I wasn't planning to eat it anyway.

The veggies that didn't fit inside the fish went on top of rice. Just a squeeze of Meyer lemon to dress the fish- it was so tender, rather silky even. I had no idea the humble tilapia could be so good.

By the way, the Grill Geek insists that tilapia is not the "fruit of the sea," as Bubba from Forest Gump would say. Because a fruit can be eaten raw, and you wouldn't want to do that with tilapia. He says instead it is the "vegetable of the sea."
I just really wanted a cleverish title for this entry. So, I'm sticking to it. But I've included his comments because... well... he's right.

Sunday Coupon Rant

First, let me apologize for the lack of recipes and actual food, recently. I have been cooking... doubt not. And I have even been taking pictures of my food. I have not been using recipes much lately, as I tend to know how things go together at this point. And I've just not been finding the time to upload the pictures. There has been a rarely-ending chorus of "You wanna play blocks with me? Let's play trains! Look, I made you a cookie, eat it! I wanna watch a movie, you wanna make popcorn? Let's play Hungry Hippos!" And, unfortunately, a common refrain of "my tummy hurts." I'm trying to figure out the cause of that last one.

My rants are, oddly, few this week. Despite already being cranky while looking through the coupons, due to drinking "herbal coffee," I didn't see much fresh material. And I hate to simply repeat myself. However, a couple of things did get my hackles up.

Bob Evans homestyle side dish thingies. "The perfect dinner companions. Everyone could use a little homestyle." Featured in the ad are mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and macaroni and cheese. Available in your grocer's refrigerated section. Because microwaved mac&cheese singles are too hard? If you're going to eat crap food, where's the line between tacky/premade and yummy/homestyle? The green bean casserole I can understand. Making that from "scratch" is dangerously close to actual cooking. It involves opening at least three cans... can't recall exactly, since I never made it. Mashed potatoes... already prepared from flakes for your convenience. Mmmm... wonder if they use "real" margarine? (Yes, I know that's an oxymoron.) But the macaroni is what made me yell out "that's retarded!" so it wins the place of (dis)honor here. How lazy have people become that they can't even bother to boil water? A true "homestyle" macaroni and cheese is a wonderful thing... the pasta has a bit of bite to it still, resisting the teeth just a touch in true "al dente" style, the cheese sauce is a blend of cheeses with sharp Cheddar as well as softer cheeses, to add creaminess. There are buttery, crunchy crumbs on top, to delight the senses with a variation of textures- chewy, creamy, crunchy. Real macaroni and cheese is a work of art. (And let me just say that I hate all of you who can still eat it.) But this Bob Evans product... this "homestyle" macaroni and cheese... there are no crumbs. The "cheese" probably ends in a "z." And I venture to guess the pasta has no texture whatsover. Don't stir it overmuch, our you'll simply have orange goo.

Second place this week goes to Tyson. I generally leave Tyson alone. Sure they raise franken-chickens in horrendous factory conditions and have forever changed the perception of what chicken tastes like by making it bland and fluid-injected. However, they often have gluten-free options that others don't. So I kinda don't hate them as much as I should. Today I take exception to the big, bold headline on their add for chicken nuggets. (The one disgusting junk food my children don't like!) "Clean plates start here."


Last I heard, and I hear it a LOT from every form of news media, American children are fatter than ever. They are developing Type II diabetes in record numbers. They are sicker and more unhappy than ever. It has been accepted theory for years now that "cleaning your plate" has disastrous effects on attitude toward food. It completely numbs the senses toward being able to tell when you're full.
From the rest of the ad, it's clear that they are talking about picky eaters... and believe me, I sympathize with that cause. My children are very selective about what they'll eat. But I decided a long time ago not to make it a battleground. They are in control of their bodies, not me. I also know from experience that food allergies can make people dislike the foods that make them ill. (Ironically, allergies can also cause cravings for the damaging foods, but that's another topic.)

The goal with eating should be nourishment. Hopefully, there is good conversation and a feeling of well-being around the table while eating as well. But the goal is most-definitely NOT a clean plate. That's the dishwasher's job, not the child's.

And finally, as a bonus... I just really had a laugh about this one. The Jerry Springer crowd will be relieved to know that they can now bop over to their neighborhood drugstore for a "Fast. Accurate. Confidential." test to discover just who is the Baby Daddy. Identigene now markets an over-the-counter mail-in test, with results in just 3-5 days.
It gets even better... on the box it says in large letters "DNA Paternity Test." Below that, in itty bitty print: "For Alleged Father, Mother, and Child."
I love it!!!

Watch out, though... just buying it from the Walgreens, for whatever the shelf price is, isn't enough. Microscopic mouse print lets you know "Additional $119.00 Laboratory Fee Required." Better go donate some plasma to cover that.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fat-Free Vegan?

Bonus rant! (Warning, very offensive to people who like to get offended.)

So, I was innocently surfing through my Morning Coffee tabs this morning, when one of my favored food blogs showed a link to Fat-Free Vegan, a blog. And I snapped. I didn't even click on it, but I snapped. I'm sorry... I know how much vegetarians and vegans hate it when carnivores care what they do or don't eat. Normally I don't care. Normally I just eat what I eat and everyone else can do the same and I rant in my personal space and that's it.

But... I snapped.

Fat-free vegan? WTF? What do they eat? They don't eat nuts, obviously, because those have fat. They don't eat yummy avocados, because those have fat. They must eat carrot sticks and celery and... lettuce. Bunny food. They are at the bottom of the food chain. They are negating millions of years of evolution- so much hard work by countless generations of ancestors. All for what? Some uppity feeling of purity? What did they do that was so wrong, in this life or the last, that requires such a cruel penitence? Who were they? Are today's vegans all recycled S.S. soldiers? Were they gassing Jews for Hitler and have to cleanse their souls in this life?

I just don't understand.

So, naturally, I'm making bacon right now. A great big pan full of drippy bacon, happily roasting away in my fat-spattered oven, juices popping, formerly-alive cells bursting and caramelizing with tantalizing animal flavor.

Take that and stick it in your carrot-hole.

Anyway, back to evolutionary freakatude. (OMG, did you know freakatude is actually a word? I didn't.) 4 million years ago great-great-Grandpa Ape dropped down from his tree and wandered around a bit, looking for something to eat. He found the ocean. He caught a fish. He ate it, the delicious, healthy, nourishing fats went straight to his brain and it instantly got half a size bigger. He got a great idea to make a net and catch more fish. His family gorged themselves on delicious ocean animals and got so smart they became the kings and queens of apes. The cranky vegan apes climbed back up and lived in sterile little religious nut colonies, not having any babies, and soon died out.

How is it they've come back?

Fat-free vegan. What in the name of all that is yummy would provoke a person to do that to themselves? Do they think it will keep them healthy and strong? Because it won't. It will not. Unless they have some sort of freakish metabolic disorder whereby they cannot process fats... but even then, the body REQUIRES fat. It is not optional. The body will start stripping itself down for scrap, if it has to. That poor freak's brain will likely be the first to go- which is ok, since they aren't using it.

I just flipped my bacon. It's coming along quite nicely. Mmmmm... bacon...

I just really don't understand fat-phobe people. Seriously. They seem to all have a connection with religious-based self-mortification. The idea that we are inherently sinful and disgusting, and must be saved from ourselves. This seems to lead people to believe that any and all natural impulses can't be trusted. Humans LOVE fat. We crave creamy, buttery, juicy foods. So, these people rationalize those foods must be bad. Unhealthy. Sinful. And since when did unhealthy = sinful, anyway? So many people feel actual sin-type remorse if they eat the "wrong" thing or don't exercise that day. I just don't understand. Guilt serves no purpose.

God made bacon. How can people reject the gift?

Fat-free vegan. Not low-fat vegan... no, that's sooooo yesterday. Every self-loathing, unhappy emo kid does that. Fat-free. That's just... impossible. Even vegetables have waxy coatings to their cells. Every freaking living thing on the planet has some sort of fat in it. There's a reason for that. It's necessary for life. Especially in humans.

BTW... I can explain those feelings of self-loathing and depression... they stem from a lack of fat. Seriously. I became clinically depressed for several months following a bout of giardiasis (food poisoning, basically) that left me unable to digest much fat. It took me a year to recover. That's how important fat is.

I'm going to go eat my bacon now.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hard times, drastic measures?

I realize there's an economic-hard-times going on (it's not a depression yet, but what IS it?), and this week's coupons clearly show a concerted effort from the Phood Makers to try to save us all money. Try to convince us we don't have to give up our packaged, pre-made, convenient phoods- here's a handy coupon to make it magically affordable. A real focus on savings and cheapness.

And I can appreciate the idea behind it. People need to eat.

What I don't appreciate is slick advertising that borders on the verge of lying.

Campbells had their very own coupon insert... several pages extolling the virtues of soup. So economical, so "healthy." Canned soup seems closer to real food, sometimes. A choice you can be proud of. One page in the packet simply said "The Original Dollar Menu" in large letters. Underneath, a spread of soup cans bordered by bona fide real vegetables. And in front of it, a bowl of soup. It goes on to explain that "at less than $1 per serving... you are looking for ways to save money; but saving does not mean skimping." Wow, a dollar for a bowl of soup... "farm-grown vegetables" (is there another way? I'm sure Monsanto is working on one.)
A chart of sorts to the side once again reminds us, less than $1.00, 4 minutes to prepare, and the kicker... 100 calories or less.

100 calories.

That's not much lunch. That's not even much of a contribution toward lunch. That means you're probably getting about 1/2 ounce of "tender meats", so you're going to need more protein. You got twice as much refined salt as anyone needs, and those veggies have less life left in them than the paper wrapper around the can.

100 calories. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a way to spend $1 for 100 calories and actually get some nutrients. How about a baby spinach salad with a homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing, with a chopped hard-boiled egg? I won't bother saying someone could make their own soup, because that requires cooking.

The next thing that caught my eye was the hotpink spread for Bake for the Cure... cuz it's all about breast cancer this month. (I won't go there. I won't. I know I have unconventional views, and this is a FOOD blog, not a cancer blog... ) So, the hotpink spread... buy these products, save women's lives, that's the idea, right? Ok... what've we got? Yeast packets, corn starch, and corn syrup.

Wait a minute...

Sugar? No, not even sugar, that would be a slightly better choice. Corn syrup! It hurts the liver! Cancer in general and breast cancer specifically are generally due to liver problems! At least it can be said that the liver being HEALTHY can be a good part of the fight against cancer. And cancer loooooooves sugar. It loves starchy carby crap, too. So "bake for the cure" Cherry Almond Roll and Triple Berry Crisp and Chocolate Caramel Bars are all featured. It's all cancer-food. AAAACCCCKKK!!!

Oh, but don't worry. The ad apparently isn't aimed at women who HAVE cancer. It's for all the non-cancer-havers that want to help the poor, unfortunate, not-mes who do have cancer. It doesn't apply to Nancy Soccermom. She can eat all the sugar she wants. It doesn't apply to all the young girls who gobble up the gooey Chocolate Caramel Bars from the bake sale. Oh, maybe that one girl who's aunt had breast cancer... oh, but she's so young. Give her a second helping. By the time she gets cancer, there'll be a cure. Let's bake, bake, bake!

Grrrrrrr... naturally our health has nothing to do with what we eat....

And now, to lighten the mood, I present my first ever anti-rant. I'm actually going to say something nice about something I saw in the coupon ads.

(Everyone recovered now?)

Arm & Hammer Essentials, some sort of multi-surface cleaner, offers a reusable spray bottle. But that's not all. You can buy refills of the cleaning product, which are little bitty, as they figure you're capable of adding water. It's... kinda cool. Kinda eco-friendly. No idea what chemicals are involved, or whether the little refill bottles are recyclable. And maybe there's some other issue I'm missing here entirely. But... on the surface (har har, sort of a pun, sorry), it seems good. Let's bask in that.

I'll end with a WTF? There's a noise and a tilting of the head that goes with this, that I'm not sure how to describe. But, I'm a bit puzzled. I wish you could all see this ad.

Amish Naturals. Is it sausage? Bread? Yummy cinnamon rolls with 3 times too much icing? No. Nor is it butter or homemade cornbread.

Pasta. Yeah. Um... from Ohio, no less. With "twice filtered well water." WTF? I'm just so confused.

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.