Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Idea

Hubby and I are both fans of Iron Chef. It doesn't matter if it's the Japanese version or the American version, if we stumble on it when we're channel surfing we'll watch. Both versions have their advantages. Iron Chef Japan charms with its quirky flamboyance. Iron Chef American has Alton Brown. We're also fans of Alton Brown. We'll watch anything he's in; even the series featuring him and his buddies riding around on their motorcycles eating weird things like brain sandwiches.

Anyway, we were watching Iron Chef America a few weeks ago. It was Battle Avocado, and one of the judges was Anya Fernald. They introduced her as a "Sustainable Food Consultant". I want that job when I grow up. Or at least I thought I did. Once I read her bio, I realized that it's likely too late to rack up a list of similar accomplishments. Even if I started now, I'd be gumming my food by the time I was learned enough to be consulted.

I was mildly disappointed, until I came up with a Plan B. Actually, it's more like Plan Q. I change my mind about what I want to be when I grow up on a regular basis. My new plan occurred to me when I was reading Michael Pollan's new book "Food Rules". All those rules are going to need someone to enforce them. I think I'd be great at that job. I could be the Food Enforcer, or even better the Food Defender. I could roam the aisles of the grocery store and stop food-related infractions. I can see myself now, throwing boxes of cereal from shopping carts and stomping on them for daring to colour the milk. I envision high-speed chases as I tear after drive-thru customers and wrestle burgers from their hands. The best part is that I wouldn't need years of training or experience. All I need is the right attitude, a cool uniform – hopefully with a cape – and lots and lots of bail money. A dream-job come true.

Unfortunately I had to dismiss that dream this week. No, I didn't get arrested for harassing people at the grocery store. It's much worse than that. It started last night. I had russet potatoes and sweet potatoes. I knew I wanted to make oven fries, but I didn't know what I wanted to serve with them. In the end I chose ketchup. That's so unlike me, and is seriously sad. Ketchup hasn't been a vegetable since the Reagan administration. I'm sure my decision broke a few Food Rules, and as such eliminates me from consideration as the Food Defender. If it didn't, well, today things got worse.

As I was planning my grocery list today I realized that my lack of inspiration in the kitchen has been going on for a while. Last night's meager dinner was the result of an ongoing absence of enthusiasm and creativity. In an attempt to remedy this I'm going to take a break from cooking. As a result, my shopping cart contained a lot of prepared or easily-prepared foods today. Certainly not the example an aspiring Food Defender should be setting. I'm going to have to come up with a Plan R.

I didn't totally give up on my values. I read labels and put a lot of things back that I just couldn't bring myself to purchase. I chose only things with ingredients I could pronounce, and I tried to choose things made as close to home as possible. There were exceptions, but I did the best I could considering the mood I've been in. Tonight's dinner was Grandma's Cheddar Cheese and Potato Perogies, Tannadice Farms bacon and local beets leftover from earlier in the week. Tomorrow's menu includes Burgoo Irish Lamb Stew, homemade bread and a salad. (Tomorrow I'm heading to Sleeping Cougar Acres for a bread baking session. I certainly don't have the energy to attempt bread making on my own.) Other meals will consist of easily prepared items like avocado sandwiches, eggs, soup and grilled cheese. Somehow, letting go of my meal-making expectations has made me feel more energized already. I'm actually looking forward to getting back in my kitchen, but only after a long week of lazy meals.


  1. I have weeks like that too, Laurie, and weeks when I think it's insane that I write a food blog when all I want to do is curl up with a bag of corn chips and a jar of salsa. But I've also experienced that sense of being energized by letting go of my lofty expectations and just living my life, one corn chip at a time.

    You'll bounce back. And you know, one could do worse than avocado sandwiches and soup :-) Have a great time at Sleeping Cougar Acres! I wish I could join you--it sounds like so much fun.

  2. Ahhh! Thanks Rosiecat. I knew you'd get it!


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