Tag Archives: food

Eating Brown

Remember when people used to eat fluffy white bread?

Okay, I don’t either, though I’m pretty sure it used to happen… bread was bread, Cheerios were Cheerios, and there was none of this whole-grain, multi-grain, 9-grain, extra fibrous, sunflower-seeds-in-my-crust nonsense.  (Though I do love that nutty crunch).

But I guess it all makes sense.  The Carbohydrate Community has, undoubtedly, had it rough since, over the past few decades, dieting has become the number one most (futilely) all-consuming obsession nationwide.  The poor saps probably found themselves in a position not unlike that in which the Tobacco industry found itself once the word got out about the big C.

How can we spin this English muffin?  …they probably asked themselves.  What are we to do with these starch-white and suddenly stigmatized flour tortillas?

So, as follows, they turned their products cardboard-brown and put a lot of redundant buzzwords on the packaging.

No longer gold, the poor things
No longer gold, the poor things

This mass conversion from white to brown has caught on to such an extent that even Chipotle has had to follow suit.  People are in there like a bunch of A-holes, peeling their foil off of brown burritos filled with brown rice, knee-deep in the self-righteousness that comes with complex carbohydrates and the lower levels of the food pyramid.

I have to ask, what difference has all this brown food made? As far as I know, the obesity epidemic is only getting worse, and it is probably, at least in part, due to the fact that people are, in the spirit of heart-healthfulness and under the guise of vague weight loss goals, buying Multigrain Cheerios instead of Honey Nut (the latter being sixteen times more delicious), then eating five times the serving size in pursuit of that elusive feeling – satisfaction.

And satisfaction can be elusive, now that most things taste like squirrel snacks.

But hey! At least they’re getting their recommended serving of Wholesome Whole Grains!!! I wonder… if you get an entire week’s supply of Whole Grains over the course of one exuberantly heart-healthy meal, can you return to white rice for the rest of the week?  I’ll have to ask a nutritionist and get back to you about this, though I think the answer will be something along the lines of an irritated “well, no.”

And a quick word on all this fiber: If a semi-literate caveman meandered along the bread aisle of a Whole Foods, or even just a Safeway, he’d probably come to the conclusion that “fiber” is of vital importance, that it is a staple in our diet, a magically nourishing and life-promoting source of strength and health.  But, let me tell you, I’ve overdone it with fiber, and the results were not positive; let’s just say that more than one Fiber One bar in a day has the complete opposite effect from what you might think…

… Which reminds me of a joke my grandparents have told me several times over, because they think it is hilarious (which it was… the first time):

Them: Have you seen the movie Constipation?

Me: (Sigh) No…

Them: (Gleefully) It hasn’t come out yet.

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Emily Post Gets Eaten By African Tigers

Sometimes, when I’m sitting in a five star restaurant cutting my filet mignon with a steak knife, fork perched delicately in my left hand, cloth napkin folded neatly across my lap (yes, I am in this situation more often than you might think), I suddenly feel outrageously silly.

etiquette2

That is not how animals eat.  Animals (and we are, undeniably, animals – ask Darwin, or my ninth grade biology textbook) stalk their prey, pounce on it, and tear at it savagely with sharpened claws, biting voraciously at the raw flesh until their jowls drip with blood and guts.  At least, the carnivores do, according to Planet Earth.

Tigers don’ t wipe their paws with sanitary napkins after finishing off gazelle liver.  Lions don’t wait till they have finished chewing and swallowing to ask their cohorts to pass the salt.  They don’t even know what salt is.

Emily Post would be so horrified in the presence of their complete ignorance of dining etiquette that she would probably swoon on the spot… and proceed to be killed and eaten. etiquette

Of course, broaching this subject opens up a whole other can of worms…  Why do we go to restaurants at all?  Why don’t we forage for our own sustenance?  Why do we go to school?   Why do we wear clothes?

No, I’m not a nudist.  But if you are, more power to you.

Anyways, I’m going to go catch a fish with my bare hands in the Puget Sound and eat it raw in front of everyone at Pike Place Market.  I suggest you do the same.

So decadent.
So decadent.

 

Intruder Joe’s

You should probably know that as I write this, I bear a striking resemblance to a cancer patient.  (Of course, I mean this in the most politically correct sense possible; please don’t take offense at my trivial, self-deprecating, woefully truthful observations.)  I have a scarf wrapped around my head, concealing all hair and both eyebrows.  And by “eyebrows”, I really mean the general vicinity above the eyes where eyebrow hairs are meant to grow, as I’ve nearly picked them all out.  Nervous habit… I won’t go into it, but suffice it to say that that is the reason the scarf is on in the first place.  To, theoretically, prevent more eyebrow picking.  Adding to my (both perceived and literal) hairlessness, I am sitting outside covered in a blanket and smoking a broken cigarette… which, to compensate, I must hold firmly between my forefinger and thumb.  Like a doobie.

Am I right or am I right?!

But this is all beside the point, I just wanted to paint you a picture.  Provide some context.  Let you IN.  And at the same time, hopefully, make you feel a little better about whatever it is you are doing at this precise moment.  Because I’m sure it’s much less pathetic.  Anyway, we’re moving on.

There was a lunatic at Trader Joe’s today.  

No, this wasn’t the lunatic in question. She’s just the craziest looking person nearest the top of a Google image search for “Grocery Shoppers.” … I try.

Okay, maybe “lunatic” is a little alarming.  He was simply… uninhibited.  Jolly.  Loud.  Drunk?  Determined.  On a mission.  Probably hungry.  Among other things, certainly. Continue reading Intruder Joe’s

On Electrolytes and Unhappiness

Staring at the absurdly overstocked and overwhelmingly expansive refrigerated beverage section of Whole Foods (or really any section of the store, for that matter) is kind of like waiting at a red light. In both situations, all brain activity ceases and the eyes glaze over, to the extent that if someone were to peer deeply into them, he or she would find only Hi-Def images of wildlife drifting lazily over a black backdrop.  Adding to that, if you were to somehow total the number of minutes of your short, sweet life you have spent thus far idling uselessly in either situation, you would feel slightly nauseated, and possibly bitter. Because that is time you could have better spent napping, or perhaps refining your dental hygiene.

Simply put, Whole Foods offers far too many choices.   And from an evolutionary standpoint, it really doesn’t make much sense.  If a dinosaur, instead of instinctively targeting the lagging runt of a buffalo herd for an afternoon snack, found himself (okay okay – “or herself” – chill out undergraduate population of UC Santa Cruz) suddenly in the flourescently-lit presence of five thousand different varieties of freshly slaughtered buffalo, all readily prepared and available for the taking… barbecued buffalo legs, organic teriyaki buffalo brains, tofu-based bluffalo tongue (for those lesser known Triassic Vegans)… he would probably just keel right over and promptly go extinct from the sheer pressure of such excessively needless decision-making.

But the thing is, once you go Whole Foods, it’s hard to go back.  You no longer have to settle for standard Safeway brand boring old flaxseed (if there is such a thing), because here, there are options! Endless options! Do you prefer your (obviously Organic) flaxseed Omega-3 infused, or cold milled with added fiber?  Do you like it ground or whole?  Would you like to shit your pants immediately after breakfast, or later in the afternoon?  (I mean, really, isn’t that what it all comes down to?)  Continue reading On Electrolytes and Unhappiness

Sad Vegetables

“You must make decisions,” Major Danby disagreed. “A person can’t live like a vegetable.”

“Why not?”

A distant warm look entered Major Danby’s eyes.  “It must be nice to live like a vegetable,” he conceded wistfully.

“It’s lousy,” answered Yossarian.

“No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure,” insisted Major Danby.  “I think I’d like to live like a vegetable and make no important decisions.”

“What kind of vegetable, Danby?”

“A cucumber or carrot.”

“What kind of cucumber? A good one or a bad one?”

“Oh, a good one, of course.”

“They’d cut you off in your prime and slice you up for a salad.”

Major Danby’s face fell.  “A poor one, then.”

“They’d let you rot and use you for fertilizer to help the good ones grow.”

“I guess I don’t want to live like a vegetable, then,” said Major Danby with a smile of sad resignation.

pp. 446-447 from Catch-22

I’ll get to the vegetables in a second.  I always do.

First, I just have to get the word out: Catch-22 is an excruciatingly maddening novel.  It goes nowhere… intentionally, and repeatedly.  It is cleverly and deliberately crafted to make the reader want to ram his or her head into a wall.  It took me over a year to read.  I read Atlas Shrugged faster.  Admittedly, I did take intermittent, well-deserved breaks from Catch-22 over the course of the year to indulge in such undeniable classics as the Hunger Games series and Steven King’s It – I am an American, after all –  but it really should not have taken so long to get through.  Nor should it have been nearly as painful.

The thing was, I couldn’t not finish it. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.  A book on a bookshelf with a long-forgotten scrap of paper marking a long-forgotten page makes me exceedingly uneasy and anxious… probably similarly to how most mothers feel when they watch someone put a cool, sweating glass of water on a wooden table without a coaster.  So, I guess you could say that for the past year, I have been living out a kind of catch-22 scenario of my own.  Damned if I do read it, damned if I give it up.  Catch-22.

… Wow. That right there is nothing other than profundity.  My old Contemporary Fiction professor – shout out to BENJ! – is surely squirming with eager intellectual anxiety back in his stone-walled basement office.  Well, either that or he’s pedaling around campus on his bike, drinking tepid Brita-filtered water out of his biodegradable Sigg and chomping heartily on a locally grown organic apple.  I hope, for his sake, that it is the latter, as it is October and the leaves are probably turning.  Fall effectively transforms Princeton into a wonderland – forgive the sentimentality.  But really.  Think Harry Potter meets A Walk to Remember.  (There were some enchanting outdoor fall scenes in that depressing Mandy Moore flick, right?  I seem to remember some wistfully warm-colored scenery behind her increasingly pale and sickly face.)  Continue reading Sad Vegetables

Floss

I don’t know what kind of minty, mystical fusion of plant-based fibers or fishing wires or unicorn hairs goes into the synthesis and manufacturing of dental floss, but what I do know is that I will never take that miraculous gum-diving, water-defying string for granted again.

Last night was a blood bath.

Though we may choose to ignore it, we all know that those standard microwavable popcorn bags are not meant for just one.  But really, who can pay attention to recommended serving sizes when a beach-ball-inspired bowl of popcorn, into which you’ve dumped a few extra cups of salt, is perched warmly on your lap, Breaking Bad is on TV, and, consequently, two invisible but industrial-strength strings link your pupils to the screen?  Admittedly, that wasn’t the actual scenario last night, but I just wanted to justify my similarly gluttonous behavior, while also conveniently proving a point: Serving sizes are obviously dumb and shamelessly unfounded when it comes to popcorn (and cereal, though I’m sure I’ll get to that later.)

Anyway, in response to my sudden and irrepressible salt craving last night around 2am, I calmly put away (“put away” as in “proudly devoured”) an entire bag of popcorn while lying in bed and listening to the Deathly Hallows on audiobook.  A salty lullaby, if you will.  After I licked the bottom of the bowl clean, then allowed myself about thirty seconds to entertain serious doubts as to the wisdom of my decisions, I rolled over to fall asleep.  Which was when I felt the first subtle twinge of pain caused by the nagging sliver of a stubborn kernel stuck between my back top two teeth.

While I tried fruitlessly to pinch it out with my nails, my hand shoved almost entirely into my mouth, I tried to remember where I had last seen the floss.  And, almost too obligingly, the image of a small aquamarine Oral-B floss dispenser (container? box? packet?) materialized quickly before my eyes in the darkness of my butter-scented room.  It was undeniably buried beneath unpaid parking tickets, old receipts and unopened mail in the center console of my car… which was even more undeniably parked above (yes, vertically on top of) my roommate’s car on the car lift.  (Don’t get me started on these car lifts.  But you are encouraged to read my bitter Yelp review for more information. Park Plaza Apartments.)  Continue reading Floss