food diplomacy through the story of a meal

Starting a new

This week was a big one for me.  I was able to transition from a pureed diet to the “soft” diet.  I brought me closer to food that I think is more humane and enjoyable.  It also allowed my palette to continue to normalize, rather than the required fake sugar in all the products such as jello, pudding, popsicles, Crystal Light, etc.

My first egg white over cumin-scented beans with a 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese was utterly divine.  The salt, smoky, and tangy notes from the beans and cheese were a perfect backdrop to the neutral egg white.

My small and inconsequential deprivation showed me that I needed to  savor what I put into my body.  As clichéd as it is, the temple that is our body needs feeding from many sources (food, relationships, spirituality).  I relished the crunch from a cracker yesterday  in the way a parched person would do water.

Rediscovering food through this lens has allowed me to really just slow down and think about what is going into my body and what it will do.  I do worship at the altar of good food, but I also need to worship my body and its new relationship to food.

Today’s luxury was egg salad, something I ate only when I wanted to be naughty.  But the eggs were cooked perfectly and the yolk was a bit under done giving it a rich mouth-feel and creaminess that would not have been there had then been over-cooked and boiled to death.

Tomorrow will try cooking savory cream-of-wheat with parmesan cheese and butternut squash.  For Father’s Day we will be having Upma, a savory Indian breakfast dish that uses cream-of-wheat.

1 1/2 cups Cream-of-wheat
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Urad dal/black lentil (optional)
1/2 tsp chana dal (optional)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 red chillies or green chillies, broken into pieces
Cilantro or coconut for garnishing

Dry roast semolina on a low flame for about 10 minutes, or until the color of the semolina changes to pale gold.

In a wide pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, and when the mustard seeds pop, add urad dal and chana dal.

Once the color of the dals changes, add red chillies, and chopped onion. Fry for a few minutes. You can also add chopped tomatoes or any vegetables. Just make sure to increase the quantity of water if you are adding vegetables.

Put the water up to boil, reduce the heat and add salt and the semolina. Keep stirring so that there are no lumps in the mixture.

Cook until there is no water in the mixture. Garnish with cilantro or freshly grated coconut.

This week, it is all about something new and savoring the moment.


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