Appetite for Reduction


>I went, like usual, to the coffee shop over lunch to read, where to my great relief I finally finished Eating Animals (and started something which proves to be dramatically different – Amanda Downum’s The Bone Palace), as there’s not much more I can handle of reading about the sheer for-profitness of factory farms. It’s pretty obvious there’s a problem when the animals available to us for consumption are so genetically altered that they can’t reproduce – and this is the case with a lot of organic and “no drugs-added” meat, too, whatever “happier” means. Still altered, still neutered (and not just in a castrated way, but in a pumped full of shit way; if not that animal, then its parents) in a very wrong way. The book is a must read, at least for education purposes. The author makes an argument that we’re not ignorant, we’re choosing this – the facts are right in front of us. But I don’t think that’s completely true; I’ve never read a lot of this before, even though factory farms aren’t anything new; they go back a lot further than ten years, and they just keep getting worse.

Anyway. Although it wasn’t my intention, I’m well on my way to being vegan, too. I’m just not interested in participating in the madness. Shocking stuff.

Plus, I had almond milk for the first time this morning, with some gluten-free cocoa plus goodies granola, and it was ASTOUNDINGLY good. So now I just need to figure out a way around ice-cream (since I’m not quite up for indulging in soy non-stop.) Maybe sorbet.

***

There was an elderly woman with her daughter (who was maybe 45-50 years old) at the coffee shop over lunch today. The elderly woman was maybe 75 or so, with lots of white hair permed high on her head, and very pale skin, and unfashionable glasses. Not really one of the adorable grandmother types, but then she brought herself over a large mocha with frothy whip cream (that looked and smelled so good over my drip coffee), and I got up so she and her daughter could sit together, to which they were really, really grateful. I made some sort of pleasant-sounding excuse, and then quickly left because of the sudden wrenching grief that I would never go to a stupid coffee shop with Mom again. And how I should have 25 more years of her in my life. But instead, I got thirty-one, which isn’t even close to enough, not when twenty-four or so of those were spent with me trying to figure out both myself and life, and not really understanding anything about it, or about her, or about the precious precocity of a mother-daughter relationship, especially a mother-middle-daughter relationship.

Earlier today I got an email from Dad about how the grief occasionally lessens, but never really goes away. I understand that completely – I can’t compare my experience to his of losing the woman you’ve been married to for 40 years and 2.5 months, although mine feels similar, in a different way. Mom should have seen John and I get married, for so many reasons, and maybe because I was the last unmarried kid I feel really strongly about that. And she should have gotten to hold her grandbabies (if any of the four of us ever end up having kids…doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, so even Dad dotes everything on his dog because of that), and see where we live, and read my writing. She never got to read my published writing. She doesn’t know about Lightspeed, which happened after she died. She doesn’t know Becky and Neal have beautiful baby Karsten (Becky and Neal were the only married friends of mine whose names she could remember, because of Alaska), or about our little Nellie, or that I got a promotion at work a few months ago. And occasionally, the flash of grief is so strong that I’m breathless, like I was just kicked in the gut really, really hard.

***

Some terrific food in the last two days. Unfortunately, the pictures aren’t very appealing, but I’m posting them anyway.

What you can’t see clearly in the above is the amazing Bhutanese rice, from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook (naturally), with cilantro on top. I used Moroccan red rice as the base, and added all the ingredients to that, which included coconut milk and fresh pineapple (I had a Harry & David pineapple perfectly ripened!), as well as red curry paste and onion and garlic and I can’t remember what else. Then I marinated some portabello mushrooms, which were even more tender and juicy than steak, and some cabbage.

And the above was the OMG onion rings – which were !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNREAL. Yes, they were. I will never have any other onion rings again. I made the hottie black-eyed greens with kale, but they weren’t quite as good as the first round, which I had made with collards. I adore kale, but the flavors didn’t sit as well this time, which I thought at lunch again when I had the leftovers. So collards in the future, with this recipe. (And veggie hot dogs in the background – which taste JUST like real hot dogs! Especially when grilled. And you actually know what they’re made of.)

Off to bill more tax returns! Less than two months of this left. I’m so relieved it’s Friday.

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>No time for my rambling today, as I have eighteen million things to accomplish in the next hour, but two very important things to say first:

1. Go read the James Patrick Kelly reprint up at Lightspeed today, “Breakaway, Backdown.” I really appreciated it for the main character’s perspective of space without trying too hard to be too dramatic. Plus, it’s refreshing without throwing in too many cliche space details like mining, random ships, colonies, etc., and has a lot of real heart, probably from everything said between the lines.

(Oh, and yay, two Lightspeed stories were nominated for Nebulas!)

2. And this:

The picture is a little blurry, but you get the idea. Again, from the Appetite for Reduction book I dithered on about yesterday, two recipes respectively called Hottie Black-Eyed Greens and Mashed Ginger Apple Potatoes, or something like that. I could eat the greens forever, too. FOREVER. With more hot sauce. I am truly flabbergasted (yes, really) by what I’ve made so far – I can’t wait for dinner tonight.

>Crazy tax madness! To which I have sought sanity by obsessively leveling up my undead shadow priest, Beris, in WoW. I’m having a lovely time, made even better by all of John’s friends that play with us, too. Beris is level 72, and even though John keeps telling me to take my time and enjoy the process, I’m anxious to get to 85 so I can raid with them, and also so I can create a death knight, which will be my reward.

But my current obsession lies with a recent discovery of the cookbook Appetite for Reduction, thanks to my friend Molly. She’s been commenting on FB as she works her way through the cookbook, and while I’ve thought wow, that sounds amazing, I hadn’t been too sold on the idea of vegan eating. It seems so extreme, not to mention how much I adore cheese (although lately, I’ve been uncomfortable with where my cheese and milk comes from….I just don’t trust the way products are sold to us, now with what I’m learning). But we went to Borders the other night, and I picked up a copy and immediately fell in love as we waited in line. I adore the way Moskowitz writes the recipes like she’s talking out loud to you, (and you are, of course, her good friend), and it certainly wins big points with me that she has both PCOS and hypothyroidism, too, just like me. And, the recipes aren’t jammed full of gluten – also helpful, since I have approximately zero ability to say no thank you to it.

The taste is what ultimately rules. Last night I made the chickpea piccata sans capers, as I had none, although I can imagine they’d add SO much. The piccata is supposed to be served on a bed of arugula, but since I didn’t feel like going to the store, we had it on an herbed lettuce mix, although I’m sure arugula would have held up better under the heat. I also added a lot of flax seeds for fun.

And then the polenta stuffing, which was like crack, even without thyme (I keep forgetting I’m out of it.) I just added more sage and cracked pepper.

It was unreal – I want to write that I had no idea food could taste this amazing, but that just sounds silly. Yet…still. No butter, no cheese, no dairy at all, and so unreal. Best of all, very affordable, easy ingredients, thirty minutes or so to cook, at most. And unbelievably healthy (she also includes the nutritional stats, although I don’t usually pay attention to that…although I probably should…)

And then banana chocolate chip bread (not from that book, of course…) for dessert – 1.5 cups flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 mushed super ripe bananas, lots of chocolate chips, and 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup splenda, I know, I know, and lots of agave nectar – no idea on measurements). Bake 60 minutes at 350, and that was that.

Tonight we’re going to try 2 more things from Appetite for Reduction: the gingered sweet potato/apple hash, and the hottie black-eyed greens. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to make a meal. Well, except for last night.

And then the rest of the night, we drank wine and played WoW and watched Deadwood. What an amazing show – I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see it. I’m so unbelievably fascinated by the stories introduced, the characters, especially Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (which we proceeded to look up and educate ourselves about, since I’ve forgotten everything I may have learned in grade school about them). And the other characters! Some of the best writing I’ve ever seen/heard (?), and far better than Battlestar Galactica – I feel like a traitor for saying that, but it’s true. And of course being set in the Black Hills just makes my heart sing. Also tacky-sounding, but I miss home. SD will always be home, until…it’s not anymore, I guess.

Anyway, I probably drove John a bit crazy because I sat there and informed him of every single geographical spot they mentioned and where it factored in with Rapid City and South Dakota as a whole. Yes, I did. And we’ve only seen 2.5 episodes (yes, we stopped in the middle, but that’s WoW’s fault…) So more of that tonight, which I’m VERY excited for.

Lots of taxes today, and I’m thinking about a short I started awhile back, one of those that stalled out, and wondering if there needs to be serious alien contact/interference/drama in it – maybe that would bring the story back up to the front burner.

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