More on Food

I had downer of a weekend. Of course it ties in with my weight problem and body image. I've been so lacking in energy these last few years and I'm convinced it's not just aging, so I've been changing my meals and portions and trying to garden, walk and exercise more. (Then of course came the heaby-duty hay fever year.)

I also wondered if Ben's diabetes management would have been had I been a better cook, (of course it would have!) and felt terrible guilty. The day after I leave for Japan next Feb is Ben's 10th anniversary of diagnosis, and we've been reading newer researches and recipes for a couple of months so we can improve our lives and health. Ben's been crazy busy this year so his exercise regime had languished and his control has been not ideal.

Reading about food in relation to diabetes or weight problem is boring. There are words I can't pronounce, a lot of can't's, shouldn't's, and mustn't's, and not a lot of nice pictures. GI has confused us as there doesn't seem to be a simple logic. All beans are low except broad beans? Brown rice is much higher than than white? But then individual bodies react differently. And combination of food changes the numbers. Hot boiled potatoes are high but if you wait until they are cold they are low. And now gluten-free is in.

I don't know what prompted me but Monday morning, I felt so rotten I didn't feel like weaving nor The Sketchbook Project work, so on a whim I started cleaning and reorganizing our spices, seeds and dried herbs. Oh, what a joy! The lovely aroma of spices in particular lifted my mood and I cooked and baked the whole day. As usual, some turned out OK, some not so, but I felt OK again. 

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There is nothing like the thought of cookbooks that make me switch off the telly. (That, and well-written historical novels.)  Last night I went to bed early with a new Rose Elliot Low GI Vegetarian book and The Vegetarian Epicure, 1972, bought when I was in college, probably '78 or '79. I admit that the latter, I always admired the illustrations but never looked up any recipes until, ahem, this year and made a mental note of the many simple but attractive bread recipes.

This book came decades before gluten-free cooking, and some recipes even call for extra gluten flour. The author promotes vegetarianism, among other reasons, because of DDT and "sex" hormones in land meat and mercury in seafood, yet includes MSG in the recipes.

In the section on Entertainment, she says to be ready for a second, lighter dessert about two hours after the meal. "This two-hours-later course is especially recommended if grass is smoked socially at your house. If you have passed a joint around before dinner to sharpen gustatory perceptions, you most likely will pass another after dinner, and everyone knows what that will do - the blind munches can strike at any time."


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You know I lust after cookbooks. Nelson Public Library has a canceled books sale on the first Friday of every November. I had such a good time when I happened upon it two years ago, I knew I would be in Japan that day last year, so I looked forward to it this year's sale since April. Well, on that very day last month, after the drawing class, I completely forgot about it and took a newspaper article a week later to be reminded.

Still, from time to time I prefer to delve into my old familiar cookbooks, and I'd imagine I'd be doing that in the next little while. I have more than a few I read cover to cover, and a few I so admire the pictures but have never read.

And then there are the Go To ones, aren't there? Mine is the 1977 edition of "Betty Crocker's Cookbook"; to me, this is not just a cookbook but a reference and my ersatz Mother for Western cooking, the kind I grew up on in high school and college outside the college dorm. My "aunt" is the 1978 "Joy of Cooking". In the last decade or so, a BFF has been Nigella's "How to be a Domestic Goddess". So I don't feel so sad about missing the sale. I haven't coveted the flash new ones in the bookshops or online for a while. (Though I did buy 3 new diabetes/GI related ones last months as ones I had were from the pre-GI era.) I'm going on a tour down memory lane.  

What are your favorite cookbooks? Which ones have you asked Santa for this year?


  1. My fave cookbooks are Fanny Farmer and Moosewood. They're both my go-to books. I hope you can get over the body image thing -- the important factor is whether you're healthy, not how much you weigh. I know you know this, I'm just sayin'...

  2. I'm still in denial that it's nearly Christmas, so haven't asked Santa for anything. That being said, I love Tessa Kiros's books. They're really pretty, and have some tasty things in them. Of the ones I have, the one I use most is probably Falling Cloudberries (a collection of recipes from around Europe, mostly), but I really like the idea of Twelve too (seasonal Tuscan recipe).

    Even without making the recipes the books are lovely to look through. Lots of pretty pictures, and bits of non-recipe related writing too.

  3. Connie, Fanny Farmer is the one major American cookbook I knew about in the 70's but didn't get. Isn't it funny? Even though subsequently I got Silver Palate and New York Times ones. There was something of a reason in my youngish head, but now I can't remember. Moosewood is (much?) newer, yes?

    Sonya, they ARE lovely, but you know something funny? I prefer paperback cookbooks as I read them in bed with the book right above my face. I'm even wanting to replace one River Cafe and one Nigella hardcovers with paperback equivalents. I have dropped a few hardcover books on my face in my life. But what I wouldn't mind is a couple of Jo Seager's, (I love, love, love her!) and the new, combined "Ladies, a Plate" for my reading pleasure.

  4. Moosewood was originally published in the 1970s. It's been updated a couple times (I've got one of the updates, it has far less butter in it and other updated options). There were also two or three offshoot cookbooks by the same writer. I love everything I've made in Moosewood!

  5. Did not know. I must have heard about one of the recent updates, then. I do have two editions of Betty Crocker, but not that new - about the turn of the century - and it assumes everybody has a CuisineArt and a Microwave. I still only have the one. And I mix my eggs with my balloon egg beater, even when making Angel Food. LOL!


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