Thursday, February 11, 2010

been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding

Okay, that isn't completely accurate. I've been to a few states in the USA, I visited Canada briefly 20 years ago, and I went to Cancun (Mexico) with my sister-in-law 9 years ago. So I haven't been around the world, and I don't think my in-laws, AKA parents-of-my-nephews-and-nieces, are stupid, but sometimes it seems like the stupider people are the louder they speak, doesn't it?

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, but it has been bugging me for a few days and I need to share my inane discovery with someone. That Someone is You, lucky reader.

I was trying to get through the last of the Great Pile of Magazines that had gradually taken over a music stand I used to use as a cookbook holder. The majority of magazines living there were Health magazine. It was one of those "since you already subscribe to this magazine, we're going to give you an incredible deal to subscribe to this other magazine" kind of situations, and since there are two faces to my foodie nature, it filled the space left by the other publication. Those two faces, in case you were wondering, are the creative (and piggly) part of me that loves making (and eating) new dishes with a twist of something a little bizarre, and the nurturing side of me that shows love for myself and my husband (and anyone else I have the opportunity to cook for) by serving food that is not only tasty and attractive, but also full of nutrients and the things a body needs for fuel.

Anyway, I was reading through the News You Need feature in one of the editions, I came to this article: Orthorexia: The New Eating Disorder. The short article is both intriguing and utterly disgusting in its displayed ignorance of food lifestyles that are built around ethics and health. It is intriguing because only a few sentences in, I thought to myself, "they could be talking about me!" Primarily appearing in women over the age of 30 (ahem), orthorexia is an obsession with eating only healthy food and can be manifested in a vegan or raw food diet. I don't know if I would call myself obsessed and I certainly do not adhere to a vegan or raw food diet as strictly as I might prefer, but it is very important to me that I fuel my body with primarily good food. I prefer organic, but sometimes buy conventionally grown produce. I prefer seedy whole-grained breads, but I have been known to buy a loaf of finely-milled wheat bread. I yearn for salads, raw vegetable crudites, and fruit salads throughout the winter months, but I have no issue with making a meal completely from pantry items. I don't eat crap: no Twinkies, no Smuckers (read the label and be appalled), a rare Dorito or kettle-cooked potato chip, but no Little Debbie danishes or honeybuns for me and keep those Fritos where I can't smell them. I'm not perfect, but I try not to pollute my body. I'd rather get fat from protein and omega-rich peanut butter than a Snickers bar.

Regardless, the implication in this article or at least what I took away, is that people who restrict their diets as severely as a vegan or raw foodist would have an eating disorder. I think it's ludicrous that there would even be an eating disorder that starts with someone being committed to eating healthy food. It demonstrates to me just how off-kilter the paradigm of this country, in which 66% of the adult population is overweight, is. Ironically, people who follow a macrobiotic diet (which does include meat consumption, ordinarily) are not listed, yet I have a hard time thinking of a more restrictive diet.

You should know by now that when I say "I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this," it means I have been obsessing over the subject for days and need to babble until everything falls out of my brain. Which usually means I will spend more time on it than I intend. I just think it's straight-up retarded to label someone as having an eating disorder because they are vegan or a raw foodist. Rant done.

Today began The Great Dig-Out. I must give Philadelphia some props for their serious stance on snow removal - they had construction plows and dump trucks today! I don't know where they took the snow, but it's not on the/some streets anymore. It is still very much on the sidewalks - I think it's cute how some merchants figure that as long as there is a path through the snow, it doesn't necessarily have to be all the way down to the pavement. Apparently, there is nothing hazardous about carving a path of about 3 inches of compacted snow and ice that you will need a metal hoe and/or chisel to break through, because it's not melting until June. I slipped and slid my way to and from Whole Foods and Superfresh today because there was nothing else to turn into a meal here, unless you take me up on my offer to make a gourmet meal from kitty kibble.

First, I'll give you the menu, then a short and sweet dinner story:

1. Two-Tofu Shepherd's Pie

2. French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon, because I can never get enough of this soup. Judging from the two and a half pounds of French lentils I got at WF today, apparently I also cannot get enough French lentils... oh, the shame of self-serve bulk containers.

3. Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry also from Veganomicon. I can't remember if I made this before or if the recipe just looked familiar because I know I should have made it before if I haven't.

4. Garlic and Greens Soup from The Vegan Table. After a week that was split 50/50 with soup and "solid" dinners, I tried to stay away from soup, but when I saw this recipe I just couldn't resist it. I mean, seriously - it calls for an entire head of garlic!

5. Red Lentil Artichoke Stew also from The Vegan Table. I have definitely not made this before and it looks both fun and different. Plus, we haven't had anything with red lentils for a while.

6. Orzo Pilaf with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas also from The Vegan Table. I intended to make this from the minute I pulled the book off the shelf. It's tasty and fast and you need that tonight.

So, I practiced my balance and grace by wandering around the frozen and barely salted tundra this afternoon/evening while Mister got some cardio in by digging out my car. Needless to say, we were both kind of starving, so rather than saving the fastest dinner on the menu for some night after work and cooking one of the longer and more labor-intensive meals on my day off, I made the Orzo Pilaf tonight. Don't you love my strategic menu-planning?

It is very photogenic and I think it is very tasty. It very much resembles risotto because orzo is rice-shaped pasta and I sauteed it with garlic before adding the full quart of broth. It lengthened the cooking time a bit, but the fully plumped orzo and creamy texture of the reduced stock was well worth it.

Mister wasn't as excited as I was. He agreed with me that it was very pretty and looks like Christmas, but I guess it was actually a little too close to real risotto for his liking. I love how he is starving before dinner and then pushes his food around and kind of picks at the peas until I ask him if he doesn't like dinner, to which he smiles and responds, "It's not my favorite." My answer to that is, "Pizza is your favorite." We pout at each other, then laugh and move on.

My hope, though, is that someday he will learn to tell me the first time I make something that he doesn't care for it.