Friday, November 23

Crazy Healthy Food, Part I

When I left home to go to college, the sum total of my food knowledge was:
  • Apples, bananas, and oranges are the fruit.
  • Lettuce comes in a ball. You chop it, add a tomato slice, and call it salad.
  • The vegetables are frozen peas and canned corn.
  • The spices are salt and pepper. And cinnamon sugar.
  • If you buy stuff in boxes, the directions are right there on the label.
  • Meat comes in packages. You put it in a frying pan until it's done.
  • If you're hungry, put peanut butter on bread or pour cereal from a bag.
Hey. It was the 70s. Women's lib, and all that. Real women didn't cook, or raise children, or wear makeup. That Leave-it-to-Beaver stuff was for repressed Barbies who didn't have careers -- and being a homemaker was just a shameful excuse for not getting a job.

A few hundred epiphanies later, I have become something of a foodie, somewhat proudly mom-ish, and even a competent makeup-putter-on-er. I'm a happy stay-at-home mother, a homeschooler, an amateur gardener, and an aspiring housekeeper.

But the foodie part has been the real education. I thought I had made real progress over the years, but eating raw food has required me to learn an awful lot more about food than I'd ever understood before. Until this undertaking, I would virtuously purchase a bundle of kale, and then let it sit in my 'fridge until it rotted. It never tasted very good, and I really didn't have a clue what to do with it. Spices would sit on my pantry shelf for -- honestly? -- for years, untouched, because I didn't know what they were for. If they weren't used in a standard recipe, I didn't use 'em. Ever.

I'm now spending hours in the kitchen, playing around with all sorts of things I'd never even heard of before. And y'know what? It's fascinating! I read obsessively about the science behind food, compile information in a database, interrogate my smarter friends, and experiment with everything I read about. This is a fascinating educational undertaking. My database now contains 4,000-plus raw food recipes, definitions for 400 cooking terms, and descriptions, nutrititional profiles, and culinary applications for more than 10,000 varieties of food, of which more than 6000 are raw, vegan, or vegetarian.

I think I'm ready to graduate from my own cooking school. Tomorrow, I'll share some interesting things I've learned during my research. My senior thesis, if you will. Stay tuned!

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It's upon us. Here's Andrea Bocelli ushering in the Christmas season with a beautiful medley in English, Italian and a bit of Latin.