Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eating Has Become Work For Me

You probably can't read the message on my coffee cup, so you have two options:
1) click on the image above to see it as a larger image, or
2) take my word that it says 'I REALIZED my best work isn't always done at my desk'.

I thought that I was getting my education from bumper stickers, fortune cookies and Bill Jeffrey. Now it appears that there's wisdom everywhere, even on coffee cups. Because of the hundred mile diet, I won't be drinking any coffee or eating Chinese food during the month of July, so excuse me if I seem less enlightened than normal. Just imagine a 10 watt light bulb cut back to three watts...dim.

I realized that my best work isn't always done at my desk a long time ago. This fact becomes more poignant when you consider that I don't have a desk. Or work. I'm going to be working in July though...working to feed myself and fill the gaping beak of my seventeen year old nestling.

In the good old days of the 18th and 19th centuries, which weren't really all that good for two specific social classes: men and especially women, the men grew food all day and women tried to find ways to make it softer, more easily gummed down. Women weren't the only ones who prepared food as those chores were also tackled by bachelors, lumber camp cooks, widowers, dandies, and metrosexuals (of which there were none...David Beckham was born too late). Oh, I almost forgot, house-husbands (of which there were also none).

As a result of commencing with the hundred mile diet, I'm now looking as having to labour over food preparation. I used to enjoy life's little luxuries, like opening up a can of Heinz Beans. You know the ones that I'm talking about, they say 'beans with pork' but you'd need to hire a forensics team to procure a porcine atom. Yesterday I bought local beans at the health food store in Fredericton, in fact, I went completely overboard. I bought yellow-eyed beans, soldier beans (like artillery fire I'm guessing..we'll find out and I'll write about it), white pea beans, and Jacob's cattle beans (could I have some mooooooooore please?). These aren't beans in a can, these are the real deal.

These are beans that look like beans or, at least, insects without the legs, wings or antennae. I had to soak them in water overnight to drown them. This morning they're being par-boiled for an hour, then they'll bake all day. What a crock! I used to open up a tin and have a meal ready in two minutes, now it takes me twenty hours to prepare a snack. This is the first lesson learned in my hundred mile diet regimen...don't expect to just walk up to the fridge or cupboard, and crack something open. Cooking has become work for me.

So has eating. I had oatmeal with maple syrup this morning for breakfast. I'm not a big fan of oatmeal, but a little maple syrup on top makes just about everything taste delicious (pancakes, french toast, shoe leather). The guy at the health food store, the one with the ponytail and round glasses, convinced me to buy dulse because it's full of vitamins. I took his suggestion and bought a bag.

Have you ever tried dulse?

It's a form of seaweed. To say that its taste is unique would be doing it a disservice, it's truly one of a kind, like haggis. If you've not had the pleasure of tasting dulse, or if you can't get it where you live, then I'd suggest driving to the seashore nearest to your home (if you live in Kansas City, then I'd suggest a short jaunt to the Chesapeake shore). You won't find dulse on, or under, every barnacle encrusted boulder, but for the same effect, find a vacated crab shell and lick out the insides. That'll give you the dulse experience.

As I type this I can smell the beans baking in the oven, which is quite pleasant as it extinguishes the salty odor of rotting seaweed in my mind. I couldn't make the beans exactly as the recipe called for, since there's no local mustard or molasses, and I can't ascertain the provenence of the onions lurking in my cupboard.

They could be local, eh, but I'm not aboot to eat them if they're imparted 'by.

Here's my advice to you if you're thinking about trying the hundred mile diet yourself...go for it! It's a healthy way to cut Tasty Taters, Bugles and Tim's double-doubles out of your life. If you're not sure about whether you'll like what you're going to be eating, then why not drop by my place and I'll feed you. All I need is about twenty hours notice and some local onions.

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