I have become an avid reader of food blogs lately and its steering me way off course. Example: the Pan bagnat recipe I tried last week, inspired by several glowing descriptions of this fancy sandwich on various blogs (funny how the same recipe turns up around the internet at the same time.) I bought capers, canned Italian tuna, black olives, and artisan bread last week, thinking this would be my new brown bag lunch solution, and forgetting the fact I am not all that fond of capers, black olives and canned tuna. Did I think the internet would transform these ingredients into something I would love through some kind of digital alchemy? Didn't work. Oily tuna smashed between bread slices by a heavy weight. Yuck. Maybe if I had remembered to buy the arugula it called for. Maybe if had chopped the capers smaller.
Of course, its possible, in addition to being an inept cook, I am an incompetent eater. The best thing I ate last week, to my mind, were half cooked mushrooms straight out of the pan, which I was sauteing while very hungry. Truthfully, I enjoyed the half cooked mushrooms more than the dish they ended up in.
So, is it possible my palate was ruined being raised on Captain Crunch for breakfast, egg salad on white for lunch, and frozen french fries, overcooked broccoli and fish sticks for dinner? "No Pan bagnat for you, you uncouth swine!" the Nazi-like Chef might say. That can't be entirely true, as I have enjoyed fresh spring rolls, Szechuan shrimp, vegetable tempura, and other "ethnic" food in restaurants for years. Maybe I just don't like French food. The scary thing is, with the economic news as it is, I can well imagine losing my job and ending up on food stamps. Then, I would have to live on $21.00 for food a week and the question of learning to like capers would be moot.
So, I vacillate between wanting to emulate the food blog writers who whip up seafood bisque and rave about it, and combing the frugal people sites where they talk about cutting coupons for Hot Pockets. Meanwhile, I peruse nutrition sites that advocate for calorie restriction, or the Mediterranean Diet for good health and increased longevity, and that make me anxious to avoid cream of mushroom/ground beef type casseroles and other poor people staples. The Harvard Nutrition website says "no potatoes!"
You have to eat 1,800 a day, that's just a fact. The more vegetables and fruits and whole grains those calories come from, the better off you are. It's that simple. So what if your meals don't look like the food bloggers' masterpieces and you don't get the same pleasure they seem to from Tuna Nicoise?
It's not necessary to slide into eating Spam, white rice and Velveeta (its all coming back to me now. We really ate those foods growing up. We also drank Tang.) It's OK to eat simply, count pennies, and aim for those seven servings of nutrient dense vegetables a day. That's the point. Get a grip.
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