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A friend of mine, who happens to be a diehard carnivore, cried on my shoulder the other day about her weight gain and assorted digestive ails.
With Mother’s Day quickly approaching at the speed of ice cream melting in a microwave oven, I would like to pay tribute to Mildred, my mom, (and all the moms across the land) by sharing the many treasured shopping, prepping, cooking, baking, and other culinary tips I gleaned from her over the years since my childhood.
Reflecting on the past year in food, it’s been a whirlwind of lofty gustatory ambitions as many of us played armchair chefs and bakers for our comfort, distraction, amusement, and amazement.
This holiday season is definitely not a one-size-fits-all celebration.
Alas, April, the mild-mannered month that typically heralds the coming of spring — and sparkles like its designated diamond birthstone with a pile of precious celebrations — is now on lock-down. These fun events that highlight fertility and rebirth, freedom, the national pastime, pranks and humor, and literary and planetary pursuits will all have to be rejiggered this year.
It’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 with some scrumptious breakfast dishes and drinks inspired by the Emerald Isle.
More and more of us are turning to plant-based diets, whether for health reasons or environmentally-conscious ones. So the hunt is on for protein sources that don’t bleed, yet are satisfying, hearty, tasty and versatile. I broke down last week, and tried a batch of “cheat meat.”
Some folks love to spend a leisurely Sunday morning strolling the stalls of a gourmet farmers market, scoping out seasonal offerings from local growers and purveyors, and feeling like part of the community. A couple of Sundays ago, I joined a group of intrepid foodies in a farmers market trip on steroids — an adventure that began in the state-of-the-art Studio Kitchen, San Diego headquarters of Specialty Produce, the glitterati of fruit and vegetable sellers. There, the first in a series of “Food as Medicine Cooking Classes” was launched by Chef Christina Ng, chair of the Berry Good Food Academy, a non-profit that embarks on benevolent food programs.
We do have some powerful self-protective weapons at our disposal — food selection and handling being the most effective. Ancient cultures relied on that for their health; even before old Hippocrates advised using food as medicine. So, while you arm yourself with tools provided by personal trainers, meditation gurus and other healers, I’ll provide the edible components of your healthy lifestyle to keep you vibrant for years to come.
At the supermarket produce aisle, I befriended a shopper choosing assorted leafy greens and venting about how she must pay the piper for an indulgent holiday food orgy. She grumbled about the light, airiness of salads, and how “rabbit food” was hardly a satisfying meal. Looking outside the bowl, you can easily find an exciting bounty of roots, fruits, seeds, grains, gourds, greens, succulent seafood and other lean proteins to beef up an otherwise anemic salad, giving it a nutritional and gratifying oomph.
Strolling the aisles of my favorite supermarket looking back at the gustatory highlights of the year, I then gaze at my culinary crystal ball perched in the child’s seat of my shopping cart to predict what’s ahead for 2020. This has been a year of imposter foods — cauliflower impersonated everything from mashed potatoes and rice to pizza crust, breads and gravies. Plant-based proteins and molecules (like pea and heme iron) made mock meats taste, smell, chew and even “bleed” like the real McCoy. Shredded Jackfruit doubled for crab cakes, while spiral sliced zucchini and other squashes disguised themselves as noodles, aka “zoodles.”