April 28, 2008
Kris: the other bright meat
I'm tired of living the anti-healthy lifestyle. For all intents and purposes, my picture should be on the FDA Web page devoted to How Not to Treat What God Gave Ya, the one that would pair me with some uberradiant Kris antithesis like Ashley Judd or Denise Austin. She'd be demonstrating how to make popsicles with orange juice and an ice cube tray, and I'd be drinking vodka and Crystal Light while making Velveeta nachos with a Baked Lays base. This is really no way to live long term, and I'm sick and tired of all of it. Literally.

The advice I got about the high blood pressure was infuriating - I don't think there was a thing on the checklist that I was doing right. Multivitamin? Minimal alcohol use? Sleeping well and someplace other than your couch? Eating a low sodium diet that isn't 2/3 dependent on meals that can be ordered by number? It doesn't get better. Regular exercise beyond trimming your cats' nails? Maintaining an ideal body weight? Getting a physical more than once before the cicadas hatch? Here's where I started to hear the crickets. When you're doing most everything wrong it's hard to know where to start. It's overwhelming, to say the least, a little like thinking you're getting a new chandelier hung and finding the whole house has to be rewired.

So I began in the kitchen, and with the wine rack, specifically. Like most people, drinking is my stepping stone to more harmful pursuits, in my case, seven 100 calorie packs of orange hexagons, Marlboro Lights, and innumerable wedges of Laughing Cow cheese. When I'm home most everything I eat is packaged and made by trolls in the Kingdom of Low Fat, which would be fine if I ate them in moderation or with a side of anything green or grown outside the Kraft Foods test kitchen.

I should reveal that I'm a food blog lover, if only for the pretty pictures, and dreams that someday I will put to good use all the Calphalon I've amassed. These cooks are amazing. I envy their ability to stroll through farmer's markets, picking and plucking the freshest there is. I imagine them piecing together a novel meal with each item they buy, knowing just how their full spice rack will play into the equation, thinking in exact amounts what they have to work with at home in their pantries. It must be near orgasmic to know how to craft from scratch. To recognize the difference cardamom will make in a dish. To know why racks of lamb long their entire lives to wear little hats on their deathbeds.

So I set out this weekend if not to imitate to improve. I had only two drinks in four days. And it's amazing just how much extra time you have when you aren't out drinking! You can unpack your suitcase from your November trip! And throw out canned goods than expired in 2006! And grocery shop! Armed with a large fountain soda and a commitment to avoid the frozen food aisles, I hit the Safeway. I picked up a beautiful pork tenderloin, bread and cheese, fresh pasta, a foundation well within my comfort zone. Strategically, as in I had no earthly idea what to do with them just as with infants when they cry, I saved the greenstuffs for last. I won't call it panic that I felt while approaching the produce section, as I reserve that emotion for moments when someone first sees me naked, but I was overwhelmed. So I went for the old friends first: cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce. Wow, Kris, I berated myself, you buying for the Roy Rogers Fixins Bar? In my shame, I forced myself to bag a pound of fresh green beans and some red potatoes, and then blamed my beeline to the register not on those frightening artichokes but on running out of fountain soda.

What followed is a clear indication as to just how much a woman of 34 years can miss out on in a lifetime. When I got home, I opened my catch of green beans, and rather than whirring up a joyous flurry of pans and spices and real, live butter, I simply stared at them. What the hell was I supposed to do with them now? Was I supposed to boil them, broil them, stick them in the cavity of a turkey? So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do: I Googled it. And with the help of the genius that is the Interwebs, I found videos on snapping the ends off of beans like your grammy used to on her back porch, on cooking them to perfection. And every moment of the process was joyous. With wild abandon I broke their little green necks and feet. Then I boiled them like bunnies and plucked them out before sogginess set in. I even timed them to be plated with their red potato bed mates! And they were beautiful, and perfectly done, and tasted luscious with a little bit of butter and cracked pepper. And the moment of triumph was all I imagined for those online foodies, a glorious mix of excess serotonin and a pride not felt since my last spelling bee. And not a morsel of it lessened when I realized the pork wouldn't be done for another half hour.

Labels:



31 Comments:

Blogger I-66 said...

Here's to the good of change.

Anytime you feel like cooking for me, just give me a call.

I like to think I'm a wonderful cook, but my meals are always eaten piecemeal whenever the various parts are finished. Eh, I'll get there. You will to.

Blogger gorillabuns said...

If you ever need help cooking, I'm just a click away.....

If it makes you feel any better, I don't have a clue what to do with crying infants as well.

Blogger t2ed said...

Haven't you ever noticed that whenever an oldster runs down a bunch of people, it's always at a Farmer's Market. Seriously, those places aren't safe.

And canned goods expire? What about all that tinned meat I have from the Roosevelt administration? That's got to still be okay.

Blogger Alexandra said...

That is impressive stuff.

I do good with the bread, and the cheeses, and the fruit...but the stove-use I haven't mastered yet.

Blogger Heather said...

Fresh green beans? With butter and cracked pepper?!

O M G...

You forgot the diced onion, fried in bacon grease, with 10 big ol' slices of bacon, and the salt, OMG the salt!

Oh wait.

This was a post about eating more healthy.

Never mind.

Blogger TexInTheCity said...

"I broke their little green necks and feet. Then I boiled them like bunnies..."

THAT gave me giggles!

Blogger Mia said...

I thought I was was the only one that drank Crystal Lite and vodka!
Easy and quick :)

Blogger Jolene said...

Hey Kris,

I'm a long time reader but don't comment very often.

I know you've written about your love of diet soda, unfortunately it can have alot of sodium... :-(

Also I love this blog, http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ I don't really like to cook but I don't want to eat out all the time. The crock pot is a great compromise for me!

Blogger Chantel said...

Baby steps; cooking is about habit and routine. Once you get used to it you'll get better at it then you will want to do it more. Its sort of like being really good at sex in your thirties. But for cooking you don't have to wait that long.

Blogger Rachel said...

Definitely baby steps...I used to eat lots of chocolate and candy, and I've been able to slowly eat less and less. It's been really nice, but VERY hard.

Blogger Anna said...

Man...that sounds delicious...now I want grean beans, red potatoes and roast pork...off to the store!

Blogger Washington Cube said...

You're writing about green beans and Jordan Baker is writing about bacon peanut brittle and bacon popcorn. Go figure. It all balances out.

Blogger surviving revival said...

1. The timing of my meals is always off, and I've been cooking since I was like, nine.

2. I thought jolene's comment was all about crackpots. See what happens when I've been drinking?

3. Red wine is good for you. Drop the vodka and keep the wine?

Blogger FreckledK said...

Crystal Light and Vodka?

I'm never leaving home again....I won't be ABLE to. You've ruined my life, in the best possible way.

Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, watch the Food Network. Then when you see something that doesn't look to scary, you can go to their site and get the recipe.

I also buy alot of Asian veg, because I like it better, and it all cooks the same.

WELL DONE, YOU!

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

Baby Steps Kris, Baby Steps! First, Work in a salad with Lunch and Dinner. Filling you up with salad means less room for the high fat stuff. Stop eating when you feel full.That's why theres' Tupperware. Try cooking a hamburger with all the fixins before strting to actually roast pork! Soup is a good thing to make as the long cooking times and slow prep make it easy to follow directions. Steam veggies and put things Other than butter on them-Fresh Lemon, balsamic vinegar- get the Flava-not the fat. Take My Advice- I'm Not Using it!

Blogger Zandria said...

Look at you! That's awesome! You always talk about how you're the Queen of prepared foods and have gone for months without setting foot in a grocery store, so I know this is a huge step for you. Very impressed. :)

Blogger Sassy said...

Congrats on starting! I do well with the healthy eating, but I drink to often and don't excersise enough. That is my next hurdle. I actually promised myself a minimum of 20 hard minutes on the elliptical - which equals 30 w/ 5 min warm up and cool down - starting tonight. No excuses for me.
Change is hard.

Blogger Jorge said...

Waiiiiiiiiiiiit!

Did you say BUTTER?

I think I'm going to have a heart attack.

Blogger FoodRockz said...

It must be the season . . . I've also just turned over a new leaf of healthy living . . . cutting back on the booze . . . trying to eat healthier food. Tis the season! Thanks for the link to my blog . . . and the kind words . . . very sweet of you! I think the most valuable asset in the kitchen is courage . . . or maybe "confidence" is a better way of putting it . . . I mean, how much courage does it take when the stakes are so low. At any rate, start with good ingredients and try not to over-cook them. That's all there is to it, at least with respect to simple delicious food. And, when you're feeling fancy, you can get into more complicated stuff. But I love the simple stuff. This you already know, of course. Fresh green beans with freshly-cracked pepper and butter . . . it doesn't get any better than that! Also, it may seem like I know a lot about cooking, but I'm learning every week . . . my blog is evidence of that . . . and sometimes I screw things up (my braised buffalo short ribs last week, for example) and I'm certainly not too proud to admit it. I blog about it all. It's all one big experiment for me. Welcome to the party! You rockz!

Blogger kris said...

In the interest of full disclosure, it was I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray. Yeah, I said it.

Blogger kitkat said...

One way to consume more veggies easily? Eat them raw! I love raw veggies, especially green beans. Make big salads with a variety of veggies and top it with your choice of meat (or sans meat if you prefer).

My advice would be to start with recipes. I cook a lot of stuff from recipes even now, but they've also taught me how to improvise and experiment. I get a lot of recipes from allrecipes.com.

My second piece of advice is to get your friends involved. Whenever I'm left to my own devices, I tend to eat fast food and I don't generally cook (it's a lot of work for just one person). So, if you're cooking for friends or friends are cooking for you, it's easier to get in the habit and you won't feel like you're working really hard for just one meal.

Blogger abbersnail said...

Hey, good for you! Cooking is about starting simple and working through it. If you try something too complex, it'll freak you out... or bore you to tears with the amount of time it takes. Keep on doing what you're doing and it will pay off in the end!

Blogger Tina said...

Great post! Me too! I'm starting tomorrow! But right now, I'm drinking Crystal Light and the beloved VODKA. And eating pizza.


Jolene is right on about the crockpot.

Blogger Jenny said...

Ditto on the FDA thing. LOL

Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

TOO FUNNY, Chris! I think we have the same kitchen where everything is processed and package in the land of 'low fat'. I also ate 4 100 calorie bags of sun chips last night. UGH. You're an inspiration!

Blogger Alyssa said...

There is NOTHING wrong with BUTTER!!

Or red wine. Those are both real foods.

There I said it. I feel MUCH better...

Blogger Spirophita said...

Cooking IS orgasmic. I personally find it better than really good sex. And I love me some food porn. Foodies abound!

See, I'd be the one making the popsicles with orange juice in ice trays, only there'd be a kiddie tray and an adult tray in which I added vodka to the OJ.

Try this wine with fresh steamed broccoli. Two parts mayo with one part white wine, a dash of curry powder. Heat on stove until simmers. Wonderful wonderful!

Blogger Bad Girl said...

steam those beans...they'll be crispy and full of flavor. Top 'em with a pinch of kosher salt and enjoy!

Don't know what to do with the veg? My old standby is to just roast it. I do a combo of summer squash, zucchini, onion, tomato, eggplant, or whatever is on hand...at least 3 or 4 things, and then season and bake. BAM! it's done and delish.

good luck whipping your health into shape. Just think: all the work you do now will make all the difference when you're 80. But not doing it now will ensure that you never see 80. Okay...sorry to be morbid like that...but anyway, I believe that all of us have a healthy person inside, we just have to let them out!

Post a Comment

<< Home

footer