Food For Our Times

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[This cat hates you and your unwillingness to give her cake.]

Yesterday was National Pasta Day, which I discovered by getting to be on The Ride Home With John and Kathy. I was there to talk about Toxic Masculinity but the more immediate concern of the day was what kind of pasta everyone likes to eat best. In the opening segment they describe such various and luxurious kinds of delicious pasta dishes that it was almost too much to bear–for me anyway, sitting there nibbling on a plain Aldi pickle and cursing the darkness.

I didn’t know it was National Pasta Day until the evening and so spent the morning laboring away over chicken and dumplings–the birthday request of the last birthday child. What I did was I browned a lot of deboned chicken thighs and cut them into cubes, and then sweated an onion and some carrots in the gorgeous fat divulged by the chicken, and then layered the chicken and onion and carrots in my big pot and poured easy stock (powdered bullion–chicken, with a bit of ham stock) all over it, and cut in some thyme, oregano, and rosemary from my garden, and let the pot simmer all morning. Then, when everyone was starving, I spooned dumplings from the Joy of Cooking recipe over the top and let them steam in the broth. I made them with Einkorn but no one knew. And I didn’t make enough. A resulting anxious poverty of spirit pervaded the whole lunch. I had to cut some of the dumplings  in half to make sure it was completely fair. It’s impossible for me not to fail my children at every turn. Either I fail to make the perfect dumpling, or, when I do, I fail to make enough.

So anyway, I saw this old piece this morning–what Elizabeth Taylor ate every day. And it turns out it’s bacon. She ate lots and lots of bacon, including with peanut butter–alarming thought. And at night she ate fried chicken and mashed potatoes. And she drank mimosas in the morning. And had the perfect hour glass figure. Which, if you gaze at the picture, looks uncomfortable really. She seems unnaturally sinched in.

Really, there must be someone to blame for promoting that very small waist look. How did that come to be a thing? And how come the thing now is to be rail thin with no waist and no shape? And how is it that every bite of food is either a self righteous one or a self indulgent one? Either I’m sinning against my body by eating a gorgeous bowl of pasta, or I’m eating a dried carrot and feeling both unhappy and smug, but either way I’m not just enjoying the food for what it is. It’s psychological torture either way.

I mean, can you imagine a world in which you just ate food without tying yourself up into knots about the health, or the morality, or the toxicity, or the amount, or the quality of what you’re putting in your mouth? That used to be the way it was. But not any more, suckers. Now you need to feel bad no matter what you eat. It’s a sign of our advanced civilization.

And now, I must go and soft boil myself two eggs in my tea kettle. I know I alarmed many of you, about boiling the eggs and then using that same water in a pot of tea, but I tested it out with more careful attention, and my conclusion is that I do not have a refined enough palate to tell. All I taste is tea. It shows I am a boob and a knave, I suppose, and not worthy of organic unicorn hearts. Pip pip.

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