Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Mince Mince Mince, The Gals Are Cooking...

Thanks to Terri and Leigh Anne for inviting me in here! I'm Elayne, and this is my "home" blog. To paraphrase, food is a feminist issue to me - not only in terms of preparation (the old "cooks are female, chefs are male" adage that happily seems to be slowly disappearing) but in terms of how differently women can relate to it. I sometimes think fat women are more keenly aware of food because of the way it's constantly brought to our attention as something we're supposed to despise, as if eating is the only thing that "makes" you fat. My skinny friend Jan (a wonderful cook, although a bit macrobiotic for my tastes at times) and I have extremely similar palates, and when we worked near each other we used to lunch a lot and order the same exact thing. And I'd often get the feeling that others thought it was okay for her to eat the stuff but not okay for me - I mean, obviously I must have been overeating (and her starving?) when these people couldn't see us together. Never mind that her metabolism is like a jackrabbit and she (like my brother) has trouble gaining weight, or that she tends to be much more physically active than me. I'm fat, she's skinny, we're eating the same thing, but I'm fat because I, um, eat. Yeah, never could figure that one out.

I'm not a "cake"-y person. My mom is, she used to have tons of the cookies and mass-produced pie thingies around the house, often fresher than the store-bought fruits and veggies in the fridge that were purchased on the cheap just when they were going bad. Wasn't until I was on my own that I truly discovered the wonders of fresh fruits and veggies. They're so worth the extra bit of money! And yet, I'm my parents' daughter, I'll nickel and dime with the best of 'em, buy a pomegranate at 79¢ but not at $1.49. Difference is, I don't buy stuff that looks like it's going to turn, no matter how inexpensive. If I get six bunches of garlic for a buck, it's with the knowledge that I'll be throwing a couple of them away before I use 'em and it'll still cost me less than it would have at the fency-schmency veggie store up the hill. Won't buy raspberries at more than $3 per container, but will peer very carefully inside the container before purchase. That sort of thing. Mom didn't really buy raspberries or snow peas or romaine lettuce. I dunno, maybe she does now; I doubt it, living in Vegas in the winters and south Jersey in the summers she and Dad probably get half their food from casino buffets, and every time I visit the fresh veggie selection seems to be tomatoes, scallions and limp celery sticks. Oh well, at least their tomatoes taste like they're supposed to (I despise NY store-bought tomatoes, that's something worth going out of your way for if you have a farmer's market around!).

So anyway, not being a "cake"-y person I don't bake and, given our current kitchen conditions (small, an oven that leans so it's hard to cook evenly atop the stove, small, shelves too high up, small, no real counter space, and small) and my erratic working hours, for the most part I'm not as into cooking as I'd like to be. I watch all the cooking shows I can, which aren't that many considering I don't get the Food Network, but at this point it's more a spectator sport than anything else. Still, as my husband's learned more and more about cooking (he lived with his parents for 36 years so he never had to learn how, and food in the UK is a lot different than it is here!) I've gotten back into it again, and look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes like Minced Lamb with Ginger, Hoisin and Scallions (from the April '94 Bon Appétit) and the Soy-Cinnamon Chicken Breasts (don't know where I got that one from) that we ate tonight. Provided it's okay to talk about meat here - don't want to offend any vegetarians out there!

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