About Me

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Food Writing, In All its Shapes and Sizes

America's interest in food seems to be at a high point right now. The various forms of food writing that is currently in circulation support this claim.

It is difficult to argue that diet books should be catalogued as forms of food writing, but it is undeniable that they have been the most popular and prevalent publications on food in the past thirty years. The Atkins diet was first introduced onto the dieting scene in 1972 with the publication of Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. Weight Watchers has published a series of inspirational diet books in addition to books of recipes. More recent was the South Beach diet, which took America by storm.

The diet book form of “food writing” focuses on the physical impact of what foods one eats. In other words, what one should eat to be thin. These books lack art, emotion, and creativity.

In the same vein, another form of food writing has erupted in the past few years. Journalistic food writing. These writers are not asking what should I eat to be thin, instead they are asking what should I eat to be healthy. One of the more explosive books in this area of writing is The China Study written by Dr. T. Campbell published in 2005 in which Campbell advocates for a plant-based diet. The other more popular writers of journalistic writing are Eric Scholsser and Michael Pollan. These writers try to open readers eyes to the current state of our food system. Scholsser and Pollan investigate the inner workings of the dairy and meat industries; industries that have been conveniently hidden from America for the past hundred years. One could argue that Upton Sinclair was the inventor of journalistic food writing with the publication of The Jungle in 1906.

Blog writing is the everyman's approach to food. It is accessible, easy, and convenient. Some bloggers choose to simply write about literally everything that passes through their lips. Others post when they have tried out an interesting recipe they want to share with readers. These sorts of bloggers tend to divulge into more detail about the food they are preparing and the emotional process that goes along with it. Orangette is a good example.

Lastly, there is the tried and true novelistic food writers. These writers draw the readers' attention to the dining experience, interweaving personal stories of their lives with the culinary experiences that seem to shape them. I am currently reading M.F.K. Fisher's Long Ago in France in which she reminisces about her culinary amakening she experienced while living in France with her husband.

Novestic writing is arguably the most artful form of food writing, which could explain its growing popularity. An example of said popularity is the literary magazine, Alimentun. Alimentum is a collection of essays and pieces that nourishes one's literary appetite. I have yet to receive my copies of Alimentum in the mail, but there will be more on that later.

Over the next couple of months, I will dedicate posts to the various forms of food writing and the many ways in which they differ.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Greek Feast

My lovely day ended with a lovely dinner.

Over the past few weeks, I have seen Greek food popping up all over the blog world. Hummus is everywhere, and it always seems to be accompanied by tabouli and pita. It is not surprising that I have found myself craving it constantly.

Tonight, I caved. I set out to make my own healthy Greek feast.

It was exactly what I wanted. Falafel, hummus, tabouli, tzatziki, and pita. The falafel came out of a box (next time I want to make it from scratch), but it ended up being shockingly good. The brand is Fantastic World Food, and if you want falafel fast, this is what you want. I also broiled it for two minutes on each side instead of frying it. It tasted the same and saved many many calories. I made the hummus from scratch courtesy of Angela. It turned out great, but I added more lemon juice and paprika than what she called for.

For the tabouli, I pulled stuff from a bunch of different recipes but ended up with something like this...

1 c bulgur
1 c hot water
1/2 cucumber
1 tomato
4 green onions (mainly the white part)
1 c fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 T mint

The dressing:
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the directions, I followed this recipe.

It was so easy, and I thought it turned out really well.

Lastly, the tzatziki dip was Greek yogurt, the other half of the cucumber, 2 of the discarded stalks of green onion (finely chopped) from the tabouli, and the juice of half a lemon.

A lighter, yet equally satisfying, alternative.

Last but not least, we microwaved a little but of pita so it was soft and warm for dipping! I was very pleased with this meal!

A little while later, I had a little bit of Girl Scout Samoa ice cream...heavenly. And now, I am pooped and ready for bed. I feel a little silly that I can't stay up past 10:30, but I decided I am just going to go with it. There is no shame in getting a good night sleep!

Sunshiney day!

I have decided that running with friends is much more fun than running alone!

I knew I would be running with Jeff and Mariclare this morning, but I also wanted to get a longer run in. No offense to either of them, but I don't think they would have been excited had I tried to drag them on a 3.5 mile run.

So, I woke up extra early to crank out my longer run before we all headed over to the track. I ran 3.5 amazing miles! I was definitely panting by the end, but in a satisfied and happy kind of a way, not a "I want to kill myself" kind of a way.

When I got home, I stretched really quickly and hopped in the car, and we were off to fetch Mariclare.

When we got to the track, it was sunny and warm, a perfect morning for an easy run!

Mariclare was very receptive of the camera.

Jeff, not so much. He wouldn't look at me or take the hood off. Oh well, I still snuck some in!

We did a very easy mile and a half and enjoyed the weather. Afterwards, I was more than ready to go home and make breakfast.

1/2 c Kashi GoLean
1/2 c Peanut Butter Puffs
1/2 Peach Chobani
1 clementine
1/2 apple
1 tbsp chia seeds

I inhaled this breakfast. It was so good, and I was so hungry. I was a little apprehensive about the orange, but it ended up tasting great!

After breakfast, Jeff and I puttered around the house for a bit, but I got pretty antsy to get back outside so we packed a picnic and went over to a nearby dam to walk and picnic.

The walk was so pretty. The weather stayed perfect, and the walk was a great way to stretch out my legs after a morning full or running.

The trail.

Jeff and I happy to be on the trail.

Our picnic.

Our picnic's view.

Jeff and I happy to be picnicing.

Our picnic eats were easy and fast. I made us each a cashew butter and spiced apple butter sandwich on whole wheat bagels with grapefruit, apples, and hummus chips. I ended up being full after the bagel and 1/2 the grapefruit. So the apple and chips are for later.

Now, I am sitting on the couch enjoying one of these

and resting my legs.

I love spring break.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Calling all ideas!

My funk has lifted, and I have had a very nice and relaxing start to my day.

It all started with a leisurely run with Jeffrey. I had originally planned on going for a longer solo run, but when Jeff showed interest in coming with me, the distance got sliced in half. I didn't mind though; I was happy I had the company!

As soon I we got home, I got working on this...

I have had a serious craving for pancakes lately, but going out to breakfast always leaving me feeling gross. It's something to do with the quantity breakfast places they give you and the amount of grease that makes its way into everything. When I go out to breakfast, the rest of my day is usually sluggish.

So, I whipped up the cheap and healthy alternative.

We didn't have any maple syrup either, so I improvised with what was around. The following picture is not aesthetically pleasing but the contents were delicious.

I had two smallish pancakes topped with plain Greek yogurt, apple, pear, banana, and a drizzle of honey. I cut up way too much fruit, so I ate the remainder of the fruit on the side.

It was really good overall, but my only complaint is that the yogurt and fruit make the pancakes cold. Either way, it was tasty and really filling.

The rest of the morning was slow. Jeff left for work, and I puttered. Around 11 I had an apple with homemade cashew butter (yep, I made cashew butter, and I think it might be better than almond!!). And around 1 I was ready for lunch.

Our fridge is seriously lacking in food so my lunch was not ideal but it did the trick.

We had two corn tortillas in the freezer (turns out, I really don't like corn tortillas) which inspired me to make quesodillas. I smeared one tortilla with the last of the "refried" beans; I chopped up some red pepper and onion, and shredded a little cheese on top. I baked this at 350 for about 10 minutes and put a dollop of yogurt and salsa on the finished product.

It was okay. The top tortilla got really crunchy; I ended up taking it off and dipping it in the salsa like a chip. The rest was pretty good though.

Topics of Discussion: Solo Outdoor Activities
I promised to write about something a little more interesting today, so this is my stab at it. However, it is less of me telling you something and more of me asking you to tell me something.

Right now, it is 50 degrees in Connecticut, and the sun is out (sort of). For the past few months, I have been yearning for a day just like this. It started off great with an outdoor run, but now, I am sitting inside at a loss as to what I can do to get me outside.

The dilemma:
-I enjoy going for walks, but I like it a lot more with a companion (or at least a dog)
-I don't have a bike
-I already went for a run
-It's too cold to merely sit outside and read
-It's Friday so there aren't any farmer's markets, flea markets, etc.

I really want to go outside and do something, but I really don't know what I can do!

So, if you have any input on this matter, I would love to hear it.

I am probably going to go out for a walk by myself anyway, but more interesting activites are welcome!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


The day started off strong. Around 3, that started to fade.

I got a call from Jeffrey in the afternoon, informing me that my car could not get about 55 mph on the highway. My funds cannot allow for a car repairs right now, so this news was a little disconcerting.

The remainder of the day wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't good. I fell into a weird funk that I am sure everyone is familiar with. You're irritable and pissed off but you can't really explain why. It's that kind of funk. I am sure I will wake up feeling better; I just wanted to vent a little bit.

Prior to said funk, I did manage to have a very tasty lunch.

1/2 lentil burrito and a massaged kale salad. For the massaged kale, I merely drizzled olive oil, lemon juice, and salt over kale and massaged it all together. Then, I let it stand in the fridge for an hour. After that, I diced up a little tomato and red pepper, and I had a salad!

This is a definite repeat.

The lentil burrito was from the Co-op. I bought a whole one yesterday, but these guys are filling, and I could only make it through half. So, I had the remainder today.

I want to try to make these. They seem so simple, and I love them dearly. It seems to be just lentils, sweet potatoes, onions, and spices. It can't be too hard.


I was very snacky and very hungry at school today. I had the banana around 3, thinking it would hold me for a while. Unfortunately, I was hungry again by 4. I managed to hold off till 4:30 to eat my Suncake. The Suncakes are actually from the same company that makes the Heart Thrive cookies. I love their products because they are packed with protein and fiber from the oats and dried fruit.

This snack barely held me over until my late, and boring, dinner.

Sweet potato with tomato sauce and mozzerella.

Now, I am exhausted, still in a funk, and I want to go to sleep.

I promise there will be a more interesting post tomorrow. I am on spring break now (yay!!) and can devote much time to making this blog interesting...at least for the next week.

Lovely start to the day!

This morning is going swimmingly!

I woke up bright and early for my usual 3 mile run. When I first opened my eyes, I thought it was raining due to the amount of moisture that had gathered on the outside of my windows. I actually laid in bed and tried to pump myself up for a rainy run. I reminded myself that I had done it before, and I didn't mind it, and I would feel better once I had done it, etc. etc. etc. Once I thought I was sufficiently pumped, I got out of bed and realized it was not raining at all. It was actually a really nice morning.

Jeffrey recently got me the Rent soundtrack, which I was really excited about for it gives me something new to listen to while I run. It worked like a charm! Running to Rent is awesome!

As I was running, I kept catching myself daydreaming. Usually, I am in way too much pain to day dream and the only thing occupying my thoughts is said pain. This morning, however, I found myself thinking about my midterm, my breakfast, a car that drove by me with two golden retrievers hanging out the window, and many other silly and mindless things. I was comfortable enough running to day dream. Huge step in the right direction.

Another first: when I got to the turn that I usually use as my finish line, I realized that I still had a little left in me, so I decided to run a loop around a nearby baseball field before I went home. This only added .3 of a mile to my run, but still, the intention of lengthening my run was there!

Jeffrey said he will run with me tomorrow, so that will be a lovely change of pace.

When I got back from my run, I was very excited to throw the breakfast I had been day dreaming about together.

It is the exact same mixture as the past two days. Don't mess with success.

1/2 c Kashi GoLean
1/2 c Peanut Butter Puffs
1/2 pear
1/2 apple
1/2 Chobani

All mixed up...


It's shocking how far a little bit of yogurt can go.

I will switch up my breakfast tomorrow, but this combination is really really good. I highly suggest it.

Post midterm (which went better than expected), was this precious little snack...

This is a Heart Thrive cookie which is made out of only the good stuff. It was a very tasty, sweet treat to hold me until lunch!

Now, I am off to do some homework for my last two classes before Spring Break! I even heard it was supposed to be 50 this weekend. Spring is coming....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Complete Loss of Motivation

Any college graduate reading this can most likely relate. Right now, I am currently half way through my last semester of college, and I am trying to study for a 100 level political science mid term. Shockingly enough, I am finding it extremely difficult to muster up the motivation to actually study. I have worked really hard the past three and a half years, and I genuinely do believe all of my academic energy is spent. At least for the time being.

So, what does a college student do when he or she has a midterm in the morning? Procrastinate.

This, my friends, is what procrastination looks like.

Although I have no energy to study, I have been able to pull together a couple tasty meals.

Meet my new breakfast.

(From yesterday)

(Had to repeat it today)

This glorious concoction is
1/2 c Kashi Go Lean Crunch
1/2 c Envirokids Peanut Butter Puffs
1/3 red pear
1/3 apple
1/2 container of Chobani

I would be lying if I said I didn't rip this from Meghann. This was indescribably refreshing and satisfying.

My dinner from last night, unfortunately, did not live up to my breakfast.

This sad and lonely blob that took up residence on my plate was my half-assed attempt at a black bean burger. In my defense, I have made black bean burgers in the past that were delicious. Also, in my defense, it was 9:30 when I made this, and I had just returned from my 3 hour night class feeling like I was going to gnaw off my own arm. Jeffrey was also at a friend's apartment, so I was alone on the creativity front.

So, I grabbed what looked most appealing to me in my fridge. My "refried" black beans that will be going bad soon. I chopped up a little bit of green pepper, onion, and mushroom and threw it into a bowl with a heaping spoonful of the beans. Then, I added some whole wheat bread crumbs into the mixture and formed a patty. I ended up frying the patty (is it considered frying when you don't use oil??) for about 5 minutes per side. While it was cooking, I realized I didn't have any buns or bread. I looked around the kitchen to see what we had, and my eyes landed on the half moldy tomatoes on the table. So, I chopped off the moldy parts and was able to cut two edible slices. Now I had a bun.

Last minute, I decided to throw a little cheese on the burger (to spruce it up a little bit, it looked very sad in the frying pan all alone).

The final product what sad. And boring. And not satisfying in the slightest.

Oh well.

This evening, we made up for it.

Sundried tomato ravioli with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese with sweet potato and steamed broccoli on the side.

Much better.

This meal was incredibly easy. Jeffrey made the sauce by pureeing four whole tomatoes, garlic, and spices (chili powder, italian spice blend, salt, pepper) into the blender, and then letting it simmer on the stove for about 45 minutes.

The result was a comforting yet reasonably healthy dinner.

For this meal, cheese was a necessity.

I decided to give myself a rest day from exercise today. I woke up extremely tired, looked out the window, saw that it was snowing, and climbed right back in bed. I felt a little guilty, but I kept reminding myself that I had run for three days in a row, and a rest day was completely justified.

The rest day helped me a lot. Now, I am excited to wake up this morning and geta good 3 miles
in before my last day of class before sprink break!

Off to study. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Racing in Zucchini Boats.

The title of this post makes very little sense, but I wanted to incorporate the two highlights of my day. Making zucchini boats and signing up for my first 5k!

Zucchini first. Seeing I am still fighting off sickness, all I wanted for dinner tonight was veggies. So, veggies we had.

We sliced three zucchinis in half (we had to toss one half because it was really mushy) and spooned out the seedy insides. Then laid them out on wax paper on a cookie sheet.

Then, I spread some of the left over "refried" beans from the other night over the zucchinis.

Then, I chopped up an orange pepper, half an onion, and some mushrooms, and laid them on top of the beans.

I popped those babies in the oven at about 420 for 15 minutes, then pulled them out, added a little salsa and cheese, and put it back in the oven for about 3 minutes.

Zucchini boats!

My plate...

These were pretty tasty, but not as good as I was hoping they would be. Growing up, I hated zucchini. I hated it to the point of gagging. Over the past few years, I have begun throwing little bits of zucchini into stir frys, pastas, etc. and I never minded it. So, I thought I was over my hatred. The zucchini boats were a little too intense for me though. I didn't gag, but I kind of wish I did a pepper boat instead.

If you like zucchini, the boats are for you! They are also a perfectly portioned meal for anyone cooking for one or two people.

Now, the race. I asked Jeffrey in the car this morning if he wanted to run a 5k with me in the spring. He agreed. A couple hours later, curiousity drove me to check upcoming races in the Connecticut area. That's when I found Hartford's St. Patrick's Day 5k taking place on March 14th!! Less than two weeks! I asked Jeff to run it with me, but he said he wouldn't be ready in time, but he will cheer me on. I asked my dad and my stepmom, but they will be sunning themselves in the French West Indies that week. Looks like I am on my own!

I am so excited!! I have ran in races before, but it was always something I dreaded. I was never in shape; I didn't care, and I just wanted it to be done.

This is completely different. I am pretty comfortably running 3 miles on a day to day basis, so the distance should not be a problem. As I looked over pictures from this race over the years, it looks like a really fun one to be a part of. Everyone is dressed up, there is live music, radio stations sponsor it, and I heard through the grapevine that you get a free beer when you'e done! Woohoo!

So, it has been a pretty productive day. Now, I am off to bed so I wake up bright and early and train for my 5k!!