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Food should feel good

November 18, 2013

My Boring-Ass Life

I’m keeping this short because my immune system’s decided it needs more of my tasty body, and between freezing and sleeping, I feel like crap. One thing I’ve gotten good at is using weekends to set up my fridge for the week. This week I got one of Costco’s $5 rotisserie chickens and I made a batch of bison chili. Next week, I’ll have chicken soup. It’s hard to beat the ease of throwing things in a pot and leaving it alone. I try to keep a collection of condiments and accompaniments around for variety. Over the past year, food’s been an adventure. I used to be lactose intolerant, now I seem to be tolerating it again. Tomatoes never bothered me, then they gave me hives for several months.  

A sad thing happened the other day. I’ve always considered myself to have an inner Homer Simpson. Things people say conjure fun mental images and I can end up in a Homeresque drool over a new recipe I want to try, and doughnuts are awesome.  At our last staff meeting, someone brought doughnuts. Homer sold his soul for the sprinkle doughnut, but I’m more of an Homer Donut Loveold-fashioned person who would trade my soul for real maple flavor. In the box was this huge, old-fashioned maple doughnut and this shop uses real maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup.

Surely half a doughnut would be OK? It had been months since my last doughnut, a chocolate old-fashioned. My lunch plans involved grilled chicken lettuce wraps. Surely my body could handle half a doughnut if I wasn’t going to tax it later, right? Wrong. As I spent the next several hours in pain, I had the realization that old-fashioned maples were no longer my friends. Farewell to fritters, ciao to crullers, sayanora sprinkles. My inner Homer died. D’oh!

Now I’m faced with a familiar dilemma. Do go with Option A, finding a sub-par substitute for Food X? Or do I with Option B, giving up on Food X and find Food Y to love? I find a lot of the swaps to be hit or miss — mostly miss. Coconut milk makes a decent ice cream, but I happen to like coconut. I’m sure someone who doesn’t would feel differently. Truth be told, my only Option A successes have been in the realm of desserts. I’ve had some successes baking with almond flour, though it’s not something I do very often.

I admire people who can swap a cucurbit for pasta and swear it tastes the same. The first time I tried this, I discovered how much I disliked spaghetti squash. I did not like it in marinara, with butter, as dessert, etc. OK, not my favorite fruit; more for everyone else. I read about people making noodles out of zucchini and thought I’d try that. I went for green on green and paired it with pesto sauce. For zucchini in pesto sauce, it wasn’t bad. For pasta in pesto sauce, who does zucchini think it’s fooling?

If I find myself with zucchini and a need for a side dish, I wouldn’t hesitate to do the pesto zucchini again — just don’t expect me to believe it’s pasta. Same goes for portobello “pizza” (protip: remove gills before topping). My favorite kinds of pizza are white pizza with veggies and red pizza with pineapple. The combination of portobello, marinara, mozzarella, prosciutto, and onion is delicious. However, it’s a stuffed mushroom and not a pizza. I never order that combination from a pizza place. It’s what I thought would compliment the mushroom.

This is why I don’t like the substitution approach. There’s nothing wrong with having a stuffed mushroom for dinner and maybe it’s better than pizza night. Instead of deluding yourself that you’re eating a pizza, why not give the mushroom credit?

I am hoping my goodbye to doughnuts ends up being a “See you later.” I don’t have good luck deep-frying things myself, nor do I consider baked doughnuts to be doughnuts. I don’t foresee myself looking for a doughnut substitute, but I just might find a different baked good that leaves me feeling good.

Gingeroid Sig

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Twistie permalink
    November 18, 2013 10:59 am

    I will never forget the Thanksgiving I spent with people doing Atkins. I felt so damn cheated.

    The funny thing was, if the things on the table had been presented as what they were, I would have enjoyed the hell out of that meal.

    I adore cauliflower and would have been delighted with pureed cauliflower. But when I’m asked if I would like mashed potatoes… my mouth expects potatoes. Thinly sliced zucchini sautéed in butter? A delight! But in no way is it lasagna. It galled me to spend the evening pretending things were what they clearly were not.

    My luck has been very good, thus far, in that I haven’t had to give up many foods I adore (though I did have to give up most chili peppers when they mutinied on my digestive system), but I’ve found that I would much rather simply give them up and keep my good memories than call something a substitute when it really isn’t.

    Bread made with an alternate flour is at least still bread. Ice cream made with an alternate milk is still ice cream. I could manage just fine with those substitutions. But there is nothing quite like a donut.

    • gingeroid permalink
      November 18, 2013 9:28 pm

      I’m half-Italian, mixed faith, and we fail at doing holidays traditionally. We typically celebrate Christmas with a lasagna. Zucchini sauteed in butter made frequent appearances at the dinner table, but in no way would it compare to my mother’s noodles. How insulting to good zucchini and good lasagna!

      There might not be anything quite like a doughnut, but I’m amazed at how many cultures have variations on fried sweet dough. At least I got to taste a few of them 🙂

  2. vesta44 permalink
    November 18, 2013 3:01 pm

    Foods don’t cause me pain, but some of them can cause me to spend inordinate amounts of time in the bathroom. And what makes it more difficult is that it’s not always the same foods. Sometimes I can eat chicken strips, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I can eat pasta and sauce, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I can eat fresh fruit or vegetables, sometimes I can’t. Not knowing when it’s going to be one of those “you can’t eat this” times is aggravating, rage-making, and can be as embarrassing/humiliating as hell. So when we go somewhere, I don’t eat unless I know I’m going to be very close to a bathroom for at least an hour after I eat. This means no dining out unless I know we’re going right home. Talk about a proscribed life, that will do it to you. And how do you make substitutions when you don’t know for sure what foods are going to affect you that way at any particular time? It’s just easier not to eat unless I’m at home.

    • gingeroid permalink
      November 18, 2013 9:21 pm

      And how do you make substitutions when you don’t know for sure what foods are going to affect you that way at any particular time?
      Beats the heck out of me! I’ve felt your pain with the raw produce. Salad one day = fine. Identical salad the following day = completely unfine.

  3. November 20, 2013 3:41 pm

    I like spaghetti squash, but I could never pretend it was actually spaghetti.
    I am also really glad that Lactaid exists.

  4. Dizzyd permalink
    November 21, 2013 4:09 pm

    I’ve been having bowel problems with nuts (which I love) lately. It scares me to think this could be just the beginning of body issues.

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