Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Strange Relationship with Food, Part II

My last post was all about the foods I dislike. Indeed, I have banned them from the grocery list, and will not even consider partaking in dishes which contain said ingredients. I've never thought of myself as someone who holds a grudge, but by the same token, I guess I have a memory a mile long, so...

...onward to the foods I do like. Despite my desire for nutrition-in-pill-form, there are many things I love to eat. I am not usually a "gusher," I don't go on and on and on and on about things. Okay, maybe shoes. Or clothes. But food?! Not me.

Note: these are different from foods I crave, or foods that fall into another separate category entirely: SUGAR. My philosophy on that category can be best summed up thusly:

Now, without further ado, my list of foods that will always have a spot on the grocery list:

1) Apples- As I mentioned in my previous post, my mom would hide the apples she bought. I would eat them all to the point of...let's say...intestinal upset. Or so I'm told. But apples are so versatile! Depending on the variety, they can add sweetness or tartness to a dish. There's a depth they bring to savory dishes (like my favorite Moosewood Tart & Tangy Baked Beans), and their flavor in sweet baked goods...with cinnamon and nutmeg...YUM. Favorite varieties for straight-out eating? Gala or Golden Delicious.

2) Avocados- I was a late-comer to the avocado parade. My first experience with the green goddess was at a Christmas Eve celebration at my Grandma Gert's house. A cousin's girlfriend brought guacamole, and so I gave it a try. Her version, as I remember it, had sour cream and shredded cheddar in it. Eeewww! When I finally tried avocado properly- in real guacamole, in Mexico- it was instant love. How could I have missed this for so long? I love an avocado on a veggie burger, with TexMex dishes, with grilled fish, in salads. My friend My Jenny used to feed her babies avocado mashed with cream cheese for a snack. I'm told I make a mean guacamole, and maybe one day I'll share that recipe with you. Maybe.

3) Nectarines- Is there any better taste of Summer than a perfectly ripe, juicy nectarine? I think not. Save your breath in trying to tell me that its "just like a peach, but without the fuzzy skin." Puh-leeze! No comparison, in my book. That orange/amber hue of the flesh, the smooth skin, the sweet juices...the richness of the flavor reminds me of how completely satisfying the smell of a mock orange tree is. All-consuming. I'll stop now before this gets pornographic.

4) Greek yogurt- I've always been a fan of plain ol' yogurt. I like the neat new flavors they have nowadays: Key Lime, Coconut Cream, Banana, Dreamsicle. But the moment I tried Greek yogurt- what with its heavy, heavy silken texture and impossible creaminess- I bid a final adieu to those thinly flavored varieties. Even the Red Velvet Cake flavor.

5) Beans- I'm not talking green beans here, although I do like those. I'm talking what would be considered shell beans: kidney beans, black beans, Great Northern White beans, pinto beans. As a vegetarian (and a less than wealthy one, at that), they have proven to be an economical and tasty alternative protein form. The aforementioned baked beans were a turning point for me (Homemade baked beans? Instead of from a can with that blob of pork fat? Who knew they were so easy? Who knew they'd be so delish?!). I also use them in salads and that Thrifty Girl's stand-by: Empty Out The Fridge Casserole.

6) Onions- Flavor flavor flavor flavor flavor! A staple for so many reasons. I even prefer it to garlic. That is all.

7) Salmon- As I mentioned in my last post, I have only started to incorporate fish into my diet in the past few years. I grew up with those rectangular frozen fish sticks like everyone else. And being raised Catholic, I had to endure my share of Lenten Friday Night Fish Dishes. My father is a die hard fisherman, and would often bring home buckets and buckets of blue gill and crappies. I never enjoyed fish in my childhood. Gah-rosss-ah! But as an adult, I found that I missed the satiety meat brought to a meal, yet couldn't eat farm animals (my disgust of animals is another post altogether). So, fish it was. Salmon was what was in the freezer, and it was prepared simply for me: olive oil, salt, black pepper, fresh dill, lemon slices. Foil packet on the grill. Its still my favorite way to prepare it. I have also come to appreciate such fish as tilapia, grouper, and tuna. Mmmm...sushi.

8) Cheese pizza- While technically more of a dish rather than a food, it is still a staple in my grocery cart. Tomatoes in a form I can handle? Check. Cheese in a variety I can handle? Check. Warm bread? Check. Its a food ingredient hat trick, and when you take the frozen variety, add a bit more shredded cheese, and bake it until its bubbly and golden? That's comfort food, right there.

9) Lay's Original Potato Chips- "No one can eat just one." One of the reasons I run and exercise as much as I do. No ripples, no flavors. Just greasy, salty goodness.

10) Loft House Frosted Sugar Cookies- These are my nemesis. They are also my salvation. And coupled with #9, why I run as much as I do. They are what I have referred to in the past as the Chupacabra of Baked Goods. They are Evil. They are Heavenly. Chemically soft cookies with not a single browned edge topped with Keep-Your-Dentist-In-Business frosting. And sprinkles. I prefer the pink frosting to any other color, and come Christmas time, the Candy Cane ones have an honored spot on my counter top.

Needless to say, if I didn't practice self-restraint, I'd eat only Lay's and Loft House cookies, washed down with a room-temperature Coca-Cola Classic (Not diet Coke. Ever.), read fashion magazines, stalk people on facebook, and have an ass the size of Montana. Thank you, 8 lb. 6 oz. Baby Jesus for giving me a rational, practical brain.

Next post? A love letter to all things sugar.

No comments: