Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Foods For Thought: 2012 Edition

No one has ever asked me to write about food.  Luckily, I suppose, this does not deter me and I have decided to record some thoughts.  They're not necessarily helpful and certainly not scientifically based.  I have not discovered the next super food and I will not be discussing the many wonders of quinoa.  (And, can there really be that many?  When will we learn the real truth about that show-off seed?)  Anyways, here is my list of foods for thought:

1.  Cauliflower - It's time.  Does cauliflower receive a lot of attention.  It doesn't.  Is it loaded with nutrients?  I'm not sure.  But I like cauliflower a lot and I believe it's time for this shy, humble vegetable to receive the adoration it is due.  Look at it there, almost fading into the background beside confident, colourful broccoli.  Hide no more, cauliflower.  The spotlight is on you.

2.  Turkey - I have long been a wannabe vegetarian.  Ideally, I would stop eating meat at some point and become a more traditional vegetarian, the kind that doesn't eat meat.  I'd have a hard time giving up turkey though.  I remain a lover of all creatures but I would wrestle a turkey to the ground for the gravy alone.  Cooking the bird can be tense (Is it ever going to reach the proper interior temperature?  Ever?)  but I and many others love a turkey dinner.  And the house smells so incredibly nice when there's a turkey in the oven!

3.  Cinnabon Samples - There was a time in my life when I ate cinnamon buns quite regularly.  I love them still.  Sometimes, when I walk through the mall near my house, the Cinnabon place gives out samples.  They are incredibly tasty little bites.  Always.  The consistency of their quality makes me wonder though.  There are parts of cinnamon buns that are less than exciting - just bun, no cinnamon, no icing - but the samples are always oozing with gooey goodness.  How do they prepare the samples so that they're all really good?  What special bun-slicing procedures are involved to produce these trays of perfection?  How sticky do people get behind the scenes preparing these samples for us?  We need an insider.  There's more to this story.  We need the truth about these tasty temptations.

3.  Crackers - Why bother?  Yes, they can be flavoured nicely and sure, they add structure to soup but I don't see a lot of difference between crackers and their boxes.  There are many more interesting ways to consume calories.  I ask you to consider a world without crackers.  It might be a beautiful place.

4.  Juice:  Apple vs. Orange - For me, it's an easy choice.  I'll go with orange.  There's nothing horribly wrong with apple juice but it's not the nicest looking drink and it's sticky.  Ideally, most of it stays in the glass and there are no fingers involved but there's always the chance of ending up sticky when apple juice is around.  Who wants that?  Then there's orange juice.  It's a cheery glass of sunshine in the morning.  Look at it, smiling away.  Yes, juice is a calorie-heavy way to consume fruit but orange juice tastes good and has health benefits.  And let's face it, orange juice is not to blame for the developed world's weight problems.  To be fair, neither is apple.  I think we should continue to enjoy our juices, whichever we prefer.  And I'm rooting for orange.

5.  Barbecued Meats - To me, barbecued meats are not collaborative components of a meal.  They arrive on your plate all proud of themselves (Look!  I was on a grill.) after being exposed to fire and believe they are so far superior to every other food present.  How does coleslaw stand up to the intimidation of barbecued steak?  Not well.  The exception is with hamburger patties - with them, the patties take their place inside the buns and then submit themselves to topping application.  Barbecued steak, chicken and pork could take a lesson from hamburger patties.  They've got their egos in check and they're very tasty foods.

6.  Starbucks Baked Goods - I suggest they start over.  Clear out the glass showcases.  Clean them thoroughly and find some new recipes.  I can be hungry in Starbucks and still not want one of their baked goods.  I wish they'd give it some serious thought.  I love baking - I could do a much better job than they do.  And I could make some of the items healthier too.

7.  Middle Eastern Food -  Sometimes the only good thing to come out of a relationship is an enduring appreciation of a particular region's cuisine.  Or so I've heard.  I will always enjoy the pleasant seasonings of the Middle Eastern approach to cooking.  For that I am grateful.

8.  Carrots - We go through a lot of carrots in this house but most of them go to rabbits.  I plan on challenging the bunnies and trying to secure more carrots for the people in the family.   They're a healthy vegetable and it's time the rabbits learned how to share.  Once they know we don't want to take their carrot tops from them (rabbits find the leafy top to be the tastiest part of a carrot and I don't know why Bugs Bunny always threw it away), they might relax a little.  We'll see.

9.  Ice Cream - Dare I say it?  I think I will.  I could live without ice cream.  It's not as boring as crackers and there are some delightful flavours but, for me, it doesn't live up to the hype.  I never sat and ate a pail of ice cream over a break-up.  I don't turn to it in times of stress.  There are Sour Cream Ruffles Potato Chips and bags of chocolate chips for those times.  I will continue to binge inappropriately on foods that are bad for me, at times that work for me, but I won't be loading up on ice cream.  And I only like small Dairy Queen sundaes for the hot fudge sauce.  I could do without the ice cream part.  There, I said it.
10. Toast - Ah, toast.  If there's a more comforting, good-natured food than toast I don't know what it is.  Sure there can be hard feelings when it gets burned and I have encountered some potentially dangerous toaster situations but transforming bread into toast is worth the risk.  Whoever invented the toaster did a very good thing.  Toast your bread and choose your spread.  Toast makes the world a better place in its own quiet, golden brown way.

Well, that's it for now.  These are not strict guidelines for what you should or should not eat but it would please me if you thought of me next time you're shopping for groceries (and please do avoid the cracker aisle - if you take away nothing else from this piece, please do that for yourself, for me, for the world).  And if you ever have carrot tops you don't need, please send them my way.  My family would be in a much better negotiating position with the rabbits.  We'd like that.  Thank you for your consideration.