For example I wake up every morning looking forward to a well made cup of Earl Grey tea. Such a simple thing, but every morning I am comforted by its warmth and aroma as it helps to ease my most emphatically non-morning self into my day. (it also very much helps that the DH makes it for me whenever he can, tea made by someone who loves you tastes twice as good as tea you make yourself...I am not exactly sure of the scientific principles behind this, but I know it's a fact)
I have been thinking a great deal about my relationship with food lately (likely the reason for the rereading of Like Water For C), because I am slimming down. I am saying no to the sugar and the cheese. No to the second helping. No to the wine with dinner and the after dinner drink. No to the chocolate. (there may have been a small tear in the corner of my eye as I said that last one...*sniff*) For the first few days of the "slimming regime" (not calling it a diet, I hate that word) I was feeling pretty deprived. Craving sugar like a mad woman, hungry all the time, and I mean hOngry...my body was calling "food, food, food" like a drunken frat boy chanting "chug" by the keg, and it was a constant fight to ignore it. I wasn't starving, I'd just gotten used to eating too much, and particularly too much sugar. In my defense the DH works for a
major confectionery company and our house is full of samples...
*whispers in voice reverberating with awe* Choc-O-late samples.
I am a mere woman made of flesh & blood, not stone. Can you feel my pain? My husband is Willy Wonka, and I have gained about 22 pounds in the last 3-4 years.
But time for a change.
After the first few days it suddenly got way easier. I realized how balanced and healthy our diet is, sans all the extra calories from sweets and with a few adjustments (no cheese, no booze, smaller portions, a little more fruit & veg), the extra pounds have begun to come off.
But the beautiful thing, and the point I am trying to come to here, is that not only has my love affair with food not been stymied by more spartan habits, but it has been enhanced. My tastebuds, inundated with sugar and blanketed in cocoa butter, were failing to appreciate the simpler fare. I can't even describe how good a lovely organic apple is tasting to me lately...how sweet, how complex! And the food I've been preparing for self and family is getting rave reviews. I think this is because what is going into our food right now (after those first few days), isn't a sense of scarcity and depravation, but a sense of joy in the simple things and an increase in care for every nutrient they provide...and I swear we can taste it.
Now don't get me wrong, I am going to be really glad when I am back to maintenance calories and can add back in that slice of brie, glass of wine (or two) and occasional dessert. Really glad. But for now at least, I am relieved and kind of surprised that my food lust is working for me not against me in this endeavour. Yay! Because I just can NOT be one of those "food is for fuel only" people...that is like saying sex is only for procreation! Nein, nein, nein. Food is for pleasure. For celebrations. For creativity. For comfort. For friends and families coming together around a table to share their meals and their lives. But happily, simple, healthful foods can fit the bill for these with pleasing grace.
So in honour of the food and the book, and people who love food (a lot) but don't want to end up breaking the bathroom scale, a recipe. Simple and healthy, but good to eat.
Broccoli Soup-sauté 1 onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent, (add a few grinds of pepper as you sauté)-add broccoli and cauliflower broken into florets (the ratio should be 2:1 more broccoli than cauliflower...when last I made this I had about 750g of broccoli and half as much cauliflower. This can be made nicely without the cauliflower, but the cauliflower does add an undertone of sweetness and some creaminess to the texture)-cover with good flavourful chicken stock (if using commercially made, make sure it has no MSG and check the sodium levels, some are disgustingly salty)-add a couple tbsp of fresh thyme or a tsp of driedAnd that's it! Simmer until your veg are tender, add about a cup of milk (add soy milk and veg stock instead of the chicken above if you want to keep this vegan) and then puree to desired consistency (my boys like it perfectly smooth, I would rather a leetle texture. You may need to add more stock to get the consistency just right, and then heat through again). Adjust seasoning, and eat plain or garnish with things like fresh chopped parsley or thyme, diced tomatoes or cheese...a grating of old cheddar, a crumble of feta or to elevate this dish to something a little special, a few slivers of Gorgonzola.And whatever you are eating, enjoy your food!You know I will be.