Listen to this man and cook at home.
I’m a little late.
Usually I’m on the internet at 12:01 on January 1, furiously recording my new resolutions on whichever blog is seeing me through the holidays. My resolutions are like starting a new diet (and often did involve starting a new diet…) — I am enthusiastic about the end result and dive in with vigour, only to come to the realization that this is going to be HARD!!! After putting in an honest effort for all of January I start to let things slide– a day of laziness when I resolve to be active every day. A brownie when I resolve to really eat dairy free. Bacon when I decide to adopt vegetarianism, an under-the-breath “shit!” when I resolve to clean up my mouth… all under the illusion that I deserve it. I can always find reasons to justify breaking my resolution just that one time, and then the time after that and after that and, yes, after that. The inevitable crumble of my resolve begins early in February and has been obliterated entirely by the end of March.
I’m probably not that different from the rest of you.
Still, I delight in setting goals and making resolutions. It’s a way to forgive myself and improve myself all at once– a failed resolution is progress over no growth at all!
So while I wasn’t here at 12:01 am on January 1 (I was celebrating), I did have my resolution all set. I think it’s a good one this year. Here it is:
In 2010 I resolve to spend more time in my body and out of my head.
This is a big, all-encompassing resolution but I have high hopes (illusions?) that it will be more successful than my past resolutions. It’s something that I actually want to do and, I think, something that I have to do.
I’ve always been a reader and a thinker instead of a soccer player or physed participant however I do recognize that in the past year I have burrowed so far up into my head that I can’t dance anymore! I feel so uncomfortable and hyperaware… I overanalyze it. When trying to dance my thoughts range from body image issues to “do I have a weird look on my face?” to existentially nihilist thoughts: what’s the point in dancing if we’re all going to die anyhow? It’s disturbing, and I’d like it to stop. The same thing happens with my Yoga classes. I don’t feel at ease enough to make it through ten minutes of yoga unless it’s a guided class and even then my instructor spends a lot of her time reminding me, specifically, to focus on breathing. These thoughts creep up on me almost every time I try to step outside of my head and into some form of physicality. I’d like to get rid of them.
I’m confident that I can do this, especially because there is one aspect of the physical realm that I truly do enjoy — cooking. Eating, too, but that’s beside the point.
When I get into my kitchen I am at peace with myself and with all of these thoughts fluttering in my head. I don’t think of much except what I’m creating, why I’m creating it (experimentation, creativity, taste and nourishment… the journey and the end result) and just how much damn fun I’m having! Even making a cup of tea or emptying the dishwasher silences whatever is going on in my head. I’d like to achieve this state of being-but-not-overthinking in other aspects of my life and I figure that the best way is to get out of my head and into my body.
In other words, I have to practice because I am sorely out of shape!
I could resolve to do one thing a day that pushes me out of my head but I’m afraid daily routines (other than hygiene) fail for me every time. Instead, I think that I’m going to work on this from two different angles:
1) I’m going to make an effort to take note of those small, elusive moments in my day when my mind is still but my body is active. I want to be mindful of these moments and eventually cultivate more of them.
2) I’m going to become a more responsibile body owner. I will nourish it from the inside out with healthy food and from the outside in with lotions and potions. When cooking, I will (mostly) cook for what my body needs and not what my mind craves. I will fix myself up and then maintain my progress through exercise, sleep and a proper vitamin and medicine regime. I will not abuse myself with laziness or gluttony or too much caffeine. I will treat myself responsibly because I only get one shot.
Here the optimist in me screams “wonderful! You’ve got it! Focusing on the body will help the mind!” … Let’s hope so.
Now, onto the main event: Gluten-Free Corn Tortillas and Pancakes!
Every year on Christmas day we gather as a family early in the morning for the same routine. With our eyes still fuzzy we open our stockings, allowing the Christmas spirit to gather in us while we wake up together. We enjoy a delicious breakfast together, open our presents and then retire to our separate corners to play with our newfound goodies while dinner bubbles away in the oven. Then, we come together once again for an exquisite and heavy meal with all of the trimmings.
This is how it was when I was a child, of course. Now that I’m responsible enough not to touch the hot burners or get in the way I take a bigger part in making that dinner come together. My corner for Christmas afternoon is in the kitchen and I love it that way!
Our Christmas breakfast is always the same: Christmas Morning Wifesaver (http://www.bestofbridge.com/Recipe2.aspx) with fruit salad, juice and (of course) some doctored coffee. Some years we’ve also served sticky buns or cinnamon rolls but you don’t need much more than Wifesaver and Kahlua! Our desire to present our guests with an abundant and perfect mountain of fruit salad had always left us eating limp and squishy fruit for days and days after the holiday. Overripe banana is not on my list of desired leftovers!
To avoid such a problem this year we have opted to serve grapefruit halves instead of our traditional salad. Usually I’m a stickler for tradition but in this case I couldn’t be happier! A bit rough and fleshy on the outside, our beautiful grapefruit couldn’t be tastier! They have to be one of my most favourite fruit: whether eaten as-is or coated in sugar (or agave or maple syrup or maraschino cherry juice), a plump red grapefruit is always light, energizing and thirst-quenching. I hope that these divine globes become nestled in our holiday traditions.
Which brings me to my next point: It’s easier than I expected, so far, to adapt my newfound gluten-free way of eating to our Christmas traditions. I’ve made a few gluten-free cookies (which are not wonderful but they could be much worse!) and can live without stuffing. My big head-scratcher was the breakfast Wifesaver. . . instead of spending this busy time playing with the recipe I have opted to make it with some gluten-free potato bread that’s been sitting in my freezer. I suppose we’ll know tomorrow if it works out! If not I’ll be doubling-up on the grapefruit.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
I love it when food (or an item of it) becomes a revelation for somebody. Whether it’s as simple as a different condiment or as complex as a new style of eating, a revelation is a powerful force. It can change the way you eat french fries or change the way you feel in general.
My most recent revelation is the fact that eating gluten free makes me feel good! At first this seemed like a death sentence– cooking gluten free means being in a rut of weird-tasting foods and a mile long list of restrictions, right?
Wrong! Although I still have to read labels for everything that I buy at the grocery store, cooking gluten free is becoming easier and easier… especially thanks to the windfall of resources that family and friends are pointing in my direction.
I’ve been baking and cooking a myriad of delicious GF foods but I probably won’t be posting them here– none of the recipes are my own! Once I become comfortable enough blending flours and adapting recipes to my own liking, I’ll start posting my own work again.
For now, I have to say this: thanks to those who keep checking back! I’m in the middle of a crazy school year but hope to continue chipping away at this little corner of the ‘net!
Categories: Book Talk, Education Matters
Tune of the Day: Justice – D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT Remix)
I requested that my friend Patrick describe his girlfriend to me. It took him a few tries, but after tripping over a physical description of her and a survey of her personality, he erupted with a delightful comparison. I didn’t have a tape recorder with me so the description here isn’t in his exact words, but it’s as close as I can remember.
She’s like sand on a beach. It always looks a little disheveled, but still so perfectly in place. And it’s in so many pieces, and it’s always moving around, but it’s always completely where it should be.
I thought it was beautiful; it’s a cohesive description that didn’t remind me of anything I’ve ever read.
I’ll come up with more delightful examples from the book that I’m reviewing when I’m on my second go-round.
In other news, the newest version of MLA format insists that italics be used instead of underlining a title. I’m excited about this, because I much prefer the use of italics.
Categories: Book Talk, Education Matters
Dear Readers, I cannot believe that you’re still here. I’ve been neglecting you all already! I’ve been trying to find time to write, but I’ve had few minutes of downtime these past few weeks. At this point in my life, this blog sits quite low on my list of priorities. I hope to have more regular words and recipes for you once school is out!
Here are a few quick updates:
On November 7, my Mom and StepDad got married! It was a lovely, tearful ceremony. At the moment, I’m revelling in the memory of it all, though I plan to share more about this at a later date.
I made a flourless pizza crust! I’ve taken photos and everything! I’m hoping to have the recipe up by the end of this weekend.
On to the entry for today:
I’m in the process of my next review for FreeFall. My process for writing reviews is as follows:
Read the book, soak it all in.
Read the book, make notes.
Agonize. Read every book review that I can get my hands on.
Stress out: do I even know how to write a review?
Argue with myself.
Look over my notes.
Write a paper.
Write a blog entry.
Write the introduction for the review.
Catch up on correspondence.
Write more of the review.
Believe it or not, I really do enjoy writing reviews. I just worry about… Everything. I’m hoping to get better at this whole process.
I’m about 30 pages into the initial reading of the book, and I’m pleased to say that it’s going much better this time around.
I’m going to keep the title of the book itself a secret for now, but I will mention that it’s recently been nominated for a prestigious award. And, while I am trying to remain neutral about the book, I am so completely enamoured with it that I’m dizzy; this, my friends, is a full-blown book crush.
The last book that I reviewed for FreeFall was a growing-up story about a boy. The one that I’m working on now is also a boy’s growing-up story. As a rather girlish girl, I don’t often seek these books out, yet in the past few years they have been some of the most prevalent and powerful literary influences in my life. My summer project involved a number of growing-up stories and the ones that have stuck with me are the ones about boys. The books that I have really enjoyed reading (and analyzing) for school thus far have been men’s bildungsromans — arguably a type of growing-up story. I’ve been scratching my head (not literally) for a few months now, trying to figure out why I’m so drawn to these books, or why they’ve been such an overwhelming presence in this era of my life. This was answered today, when I had a major epiphany around page 27: I love these books because of their take on women. Mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, friends, fantasies, strangers and lovers are described, not just discussed. I’d provide examples, but laziness and time constraints prevail, so take my word for it: a woman in a man’s story is acutely observed with a tender eye, described in such prodigious detail that I find myself double checking the name of the author. Did a man really write this? Is he really so introspective and well-spoken (in this case, well written) that he can discuss the women in his life so vividly?
Almost every description of a woman comes with a touch of desire– to be her, to know her, to love her. It goes on and on. Yet it’s not just fetishistic scopophilia: she is not merely providing a vessel for male voyeurism. Sometimes there is a deep undercurrent of respect for her, and the observations come from a place of reverent indebtedness. Sometimes it’s from a place of wild passion, sometimes from a place of quiet and offhand observation, sometimes from an awesome wonder that makes him swell with pride and curiosity. The perspicacious awareness of the women in a man’s life runs throughout all of these growing-up stories, and it is absolutely delicious.
It boils down to narcissism, really. I grew up around men who rarely had such observations. As an optimist, I want to say “perhaps they did have these observations, but kept them private,” but I know better. The men in my life did not meditate on me the way that the men (boys! 11 year old boys!) do in these books. I suspect that most of the men in my life now do not meditate on me in this way. And — this is shameful — a part of me wants to be reflected on in this way. I want to be described in thought out, dulcet tones. I want to be considered an enigma. Mystery enough to be unforgettable, open enough to be figured out.
I do know men who have written such descriptions (of me and of other women). All writers or musicians or artists, all too wrapped up in the art of creation and observation to offer anything except words.
I read an article awhile ago about the character Bella from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. In short, it postulated that her constant (pathetic) need to have a superhuman superbeautiful vampire around set a terrible example for youth—a woman should be able to define herself without a man. (Having read most of the series, I have much more to say on the matter of the Twilight books. I’ll refrain for the time being). I wonder if reading these coming-of-age boy’s books are setting the same sort of example for girls and women: do they cultivate in us certain expectations of the men in our lives? Do we start to hope that the men in our lives start thinking of us in the way that women are described in these books?
I suspect so, but I don’t care. This book is incredible. I want to hug it to me like you would hug your best friend whom you’ve just received after she’s spent months and months in Kentucky and you didn’t realize how much you missed her until you saw her, or the way you would hug you golden retriever after a desperately disappointing day.
Categories: Appetizers, Food, Kate's Recipes, Side Dishes, Snacks
Tags: appetizer, Atkins, cheese, Crackers, Dip, low carb, munchies, Rosedale
Tune of the Day: Belle and Sebastian – Step in to My Office Baby
In a frustrating attempt to deal with a yeast problem, I’ve been following the Dr. Rosedale program. It’s a very restricted way of eating, but will do me a lot of good. I plan to keep up with it until the Christmas season begins, so from now until then I will be exploring recipes that are low in sugars and carbohydrates and full of fat and flavour!
I’ve been missing snacks on this program; the only snacks offered are toasted nuts or vegetable sticks! Where is the comfort food? Where are the real munchies? I was sure I could come up with something; here are my results: