Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fear of Feasting Alleviated by Veggie Porn

"And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God,
we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."
---Edward Winslow writing in Mourt's Relation,
one of only two primary sources for the events of autumn 1621 in Plymouth, MA
We were planning to go to The Pub Waterfront Restaurant, over in Indian Shores, for Thanksgiving dinner...I really did not relish the thought of the whole two-day food-prep rigamarole, for food I wasn't going to eat, anyway. I discovered while either reading Creative Loafing or *tbt that they were serving TD traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. Knowing that Ossie is all about tradition-- we've had the same things at Thanksgiving Dinner for twenty years, an amalgamation of what my mother (and her mother) made and what his mother made, with a few creations of my own added over time-- I thought, what a wonderful way to preserve my rawtiety and not make the family suffer unduly! With the added bonusii of being waited on, no cleanup, and the certain appropriateness of traveling to a place called Indian Shores on Thanksgiving, I excitedly called for reservations.

Despite all that, we made some last-minute changes to TD dinner plans when Ossie returned from Boston this week. Maybe it was something about being closer to the area the actual first Thanksgiving took place, I don't know. But when he returned, his resolve to go out for TD had waned, and after very little discussion, I agreed. We are going to stay home and cook, again, but a streamlined version of all the other years. Ossie is going to help prepare. He is actually an excellent cook and enjoys it, so we are dividing the duties. I'll handle the veggies, he'll handle the meat, and we'll come together on the dressing. There was some momentary angst, when discussing just purchasing a turkey breast for the whitemeat lover, and a leg for the darkmeat lover (alas, the poor turkey, he loved all of his meat!), and Ossie worried about not having giblets for the gravy or dressing. I reminded him that, he hated giblets, and so did my son, and the only person who ever gobbled them down was...mois. This cheered him up greatly, and the modified plans are in place and widely accepted. They make more sense for everyone, now that I have gotten over my fear of cooking.

It wasn't as if I bothered to make pies for a long time, anyway. Grocery store bakeries do such a good job, more cheaply. Traditional pies at TD never were a huge draw for me... I only suffer the pie to get at the whipped topping, and left up to the other two family members, they don't even want the topping! (You can see on top of having a food addiction, part of my curse was to live in a house filled with non-foodies, with no sweet tooth, who forget to eat on a regular basis---in other words, I've been forced to cohabitate with beings outside my species.) Now, a great treat will be an extra smoothie that day... a fresh cranberry-apple-orange one in the morning, and a watermelon-papaya-pineapple one later in the day. For the actual dinner I can just share the nice big fresh-fruit salad I make for everyone else to enjoy. I look forward to that, because I haven't taken the time since I've been raw to actually cut up fruit and make a mixed salad! I tend to be a mono-eater, one of the reasons I find eating raw food so appealing. That might mainly be due to the fact I simply enjoy eating one food at a time-- sometimes the same food over and over again for weeks until I move onto the next one--or to my extreme laziness when it comes to getting nutrients and fuel into my mouth when it doesn't involve preparing for anyone else.

As Boot Camp has progressed, I've learned more and more, and I'm starting to loosen up about this new way I eat, and live, and think. I was feeling so magnanimous, I made dinner again last night... the previously-dreaded rellenos. It was so alright, I didn't even crave one-- not ONE, I tell you! Part of dinner involved making the pintos from scratch, which I started in the morning, seasoning blind, had hubby taste midday, they were pronounced fine, and I didn't have to worry about them again, except to keep an eye on them just simmering a few more hours. No big whoop with the pintos...my legumitude is, to forego the good but not fantasy-inspiring flavor, I can do without the after effects. I crave them not.
The other part-- a prior subject of fear--- was preparing the actual chile rellenos. They are my absolute favorite dish, ethnic or otherwise, of all time. I was able to avoid a dangerous part of the Relleno Ritual, because they had already been roasted and frozen. After they were half-defrosted, I peeled them and then, it became more like an art project. Since they had come from the tailend of the crop we harvested from our backyard garden this fall, they were so small, the usual Mexican-cheese strips with which I stuff them would not fit. Each chile had to be laid out on a board with the Queso Blanco strip beside. In order to make the chile relleno, or 'stuffed', I then had to carve the exact shape to fit that chile and carefully slide it in. I was partway through this process, when it occurred to me-- I was sculpting little phallic shapes and slipping the little chile condoms over them.

That pretty much did it. Took it right out of the realm of food for me. The rest was a snap. After I finished dipping them into the batter of blended yolks and eggwhites beaten stiff--- oh, no... I won't even go there---and frying them in the hot, melted vegetable grease---which caused me to ponder, how does one render a vegetable in order to extract its fat?---I immediately tidied up, wiping all the ceramic down with my homemade cleaner-- a mixture of a little bit of purple Fabuloso (a wonderful cleaner originally from Mexico, now manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive and pissing off the people at ConsumerReports.org who fear their sweet-smelling and luscious-coloured product may entice small children to drink and die), water, and a bottle of alcohol. I was Suzy-Homemaker for a few moments, again-- even filled (but failed to start, which I discovered this morning) the dishwasher, then walked out to the back landing to do my 57 wall push-ups for a challenge at Rawk Village.

Let me tell you, when it was all over, and I had gone out front for a moment and come back in, I realized it was the first time I had smelled any of the cooking odors! Made me wonder about how deeply I breathe normally. It also dawned on me how much easier it was to stand for all the time it takes to prepare them, and how my back didn't even start to hurt until the very end. That's understandable, since I'm just two pounds from my goal of releasing thirty during this first Boot Camp. What a difference from seven weeks ago when it would start hurting within the first five minutes, standing bent over the countertop, to do any type of food prep. Maybe my body remembering that associated pain was the real reason I dreaded making chile rellenos, after all.

But now...Piece of cuke!

1 comment:

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