Having now been two and a half months since I picked it up at our beloved community book fair, I finally finished reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters.
After the first couple sections, I was actually tempted to put it down. Not because I disagreed with him: in fact, it was interesting to get some numbers behind the intuitive way I’ve felt about food pretty much since university. No, the reason I was leery was the hinting at the “vegan before 6pm” thing*. I’m pretty open to trying new foods and new ways of eating, but after years of playing around with my breakfast, I can honestly say that I do not function properly without yoghourt and granola to anchor my morning. Also: there’s something about eating really “light” (as in easy to digest foods) all day, and then putting all the heavy stuff (meat, dairy, delicious starchy baked goods) all at the end of the day. It seems like a recipe for sleeping poorly, no?
* Will I end up reading his newest book “Vegan Before 6”? Who knows. My to-read list is terrifyingly long, my library hold queue is… problematic, and I’ve somehow gotten myself into another (in-person!) book club so… maybe next year sometime? We’ll see.
To my delight, Mark actually explains that the “cheat” dinner idea is just how he made the balance of animal protein and refined starches work for him. If all-day moderation and sensible food choices are hard for you, then be totalitarian for two meals, and let yourself relax for the third. Reading through his sample month (I love that it was such a long sample list!) of meals, I noticed that quite a few of his breakfasts and lunches had not only dairy but meat too. (Recipe-wise, I’ve only tried the Thai Beef Salad, so far, but I liked it!) For whatever reason, that made me feel a lot calmer about my eating habits. Or the eating habits of our household.
If I’m not around for dinner, The Boy will often have just toast or popcorn for dinner. I’d mock him, but frankly if there’s a loaf of fresh dynamite bread around and I’m only making dinner for me, this is what I eat:
Not terrible, but not stellar either… especially when I started thinking about the sheer number of “bread”-y things I consume daily. Sometimes hourly. Ahem. Now, admittedly, I usually bake with 50-66% whole wheat flour, but it’s still kind of a lot of “processed” food, and definitely more starch than I need. So I started thinking more about that as I planned my meals, and particularly my work lunches.
Whenever I find myself perusing other bloggers’ bento posts, I feel a twinge of guilt when they include (obviously) a shot of their boxed lunch, but also all the “extras”: any fruit, or snackety foods they pack in as well.
While I do pack my lunches super-densely into my beloved, 650-ish mL glass box… it hardly makes up all I bring to work on an average day. I would feel incredibly self-conscious if I were to photograph all of my work-food, though because, uh, it seems like kind of a lot compared to everyone else. On an average work day, here’s what I bring with me:
- Yoghourt and granola (AKA “second breakfast”), probably consumed around 9:30ish. On days I can’t eat around this time, if I haven’t had a bigger breakfast beforehand I have a pretty hard time staying focused through my morning.
- Some kind of fruit around 11:30ish, which acts as a nice acidic pick-me-up.
- Actual lunch, sometime between 12:30 and 1:30. This seems late for a lot of people, but it’s not like I haven’t been eating beforehand and on the days when I have a lunch that needs reheating, it means I don’t have to wait for a microwave.
- Afternoon snack, usually around 2:30 or 3. It is no secret that I am a cake- and cookie-eating fiend but I’ve been packing myself a second fruit snack instead lately (…and a little dark chocolate) and that seems to be working well.
- Tea leaves (most likely some kind of Earl Grey), jar for a tea ball, travel mug.
Actually listed it out it doesn’t seem like all that much, but when I pack my lunch and it’s just a parade of container, after container, after yet more containers… I get self-conscious about taking pictures of all that.
(I used to roll my eyes at people who carried separate lunch totes — who could possibly be bringing such a huge lunch it doesn’t fit in their normal work bag? Umm… me. I do. I’ve become one of those people. After years of struggling to cram just one more jar into the front compartment of my backpack, and one too many times of pineapple juice or whatever dribbling over my laptop because I ended up putting those extra containers in other sections of my bag… I’ve just admitted defeat and started using a dedicated tote. It’s been liberating.)
Okay, enough about food. Onto… books? Here’s what I’m reading that has a deadline:
- This month’s “What You Should Be Reading” is The Joy Luck Club (my choice!). I’m both excited about it (I love that book) and nervous that no one else will like it. I’ve been re-reading it at an extremely leisurely pace, but really the bulk of the work for me was in the “intro” to it. After all, I’ve already read it!
- The ladies’ book club choice is Gone Girl which I started last night. I’m two chapters in, and have a strong dislike for Amy. Already. This is probably a bad thing. Also probably bad? Reading said chapters before bed. The tone of the book stresses me out. I’ll have to carve out some time in the daytime to read.
This would be, of course, be a lot easier if it weren’t (quite spectacularly) Gardening Season! I got my peas and (very late) garlic planted, and beans, beets and herbs are due in before the weekend. One of my rhubarb plants survived mightily, the other less so (but it still survived!). I am mostly just pleased that I managed to move the veggie bed that had been up against the house over against the fence. I have some new ideas, and new troughs, and am really excited to get going this year. Proper summary to come (theoretically) in a gardening post.
Inside the house, I’ve been slowly cooking my way through Anita Stewart’s Canada (also picked up at the book fair) and for the most part have been liking the results. (The “Malaysian” fried noodles tasted to me a lot like a Cantonese version of pad thai… which then prompted me to declare that we’d be having “real” pad thai later in the week. This week is a noodle-off!)
So, that’s pretty much what’s taken over my brain at present. Much-belated, I present April’s collage because, yes! I am still on this often-really-frustrating wagon!