Food & Cooking

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Three weeks of class left. (and then finals week) I guess I should say two and a half, since Thanksgiving is one of the weeks. I hope I can make it.

In other news, I have been thinking about trying some of the recipes in Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. Probably not this one, though:

COLLARED PIG’S FACE (a Breakfast or Luncheon Dish).

823. INGREDIENTS - 1 pig’s face; salt. For brine, 1 gallon of spring water, 1 lb. of common salt, 1/2 handful of chopped juniper-berries, 6 bruised cloves, 2 bay-leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, basil, sage, 1/4 oz. of saltpetre. For forcemeat, 1/2 lb. of ham, 1/2 lb. bacon, 1 teaspoonful of mixed spices, pepper to taste, 1/4 lb. of lard, 1 tablespoonful of minced parsley, 6 young onions.

[Illustration: PIG’S FACE.]

Mode.—Singe the head carefully, bone it without breaking the skin, and rub it well with salt. Make the brine by boiling the above ingredients for 1/4 hour, and letting it stand to cool. When cold, pour it over the head, and let it steep in this for 10 days, turning and rubbing it often. Then wipe, drain, and dry it. For the forcemeat, pound the ham and bacon very finely, and mix with these the remaining ingredients, taking care that the whole is thoroughly incorporated. Spread this equally over the head, roll it tightly in a cloth, and bind it securely with broad tape. Put it into a saucepan with a few meat trimmings, and cover it with stock; let it simmer gently for 4 hours, and be particular that it does not stop boiling the whole time. When quite tender, take it up, put it between 2 dishes with a heavy weight on the top, and when cold, remove the cloth and tape. It should be sent to table on a napkin, or garnished with a piece of deep white paper with a ruche at the top.

Time.—4 hours. Average cost, from 2s. to 2s. 6d.

Seasonable from October to March.

Heroes and Poboys

Jonathan declared at dinner just now that we have consumed four feet of poboys today. Indeed, we each had one entire poboy for lunch, and another for dinner. My white bread and fried shrimp quotas have been far exceeded.

Oh, and we are going to watch much more Heroes tonight.

One more thing for lagniappe: I hope you will consider attending The Louisiana Conference on Language and Literature, which will be held in February here in Lafayette.

A Web 2.0 Opportunity

I'd love to see a new program available online which would let users enter what they eat. I know FitDay already does this, but it doesn't have the flexibility I would like. I want a food log program that would let me do the following:

  • Enter times for when I eat, in addition to letting me enter what I eat -- or better yet, timestamp the entries but let me change the times if I want
  • Turn off calorie, fat, protein, and carbohydrate counting if I want -- because sometimes I'm more interested in just logging my foods, not entering all that nutritional information about each food
  • Tag each food item I eat (in other words, there would be one entry per day, but within that entry there would be subentries, like to-do lists in Nozbe and Jot. The subentries would be the foods, and you'd be able to tag those)

Right now I'm using my LiveJournal account for food tracking, to see how that works. It's particularly important for me to be able to enter the times I eat, because that helps me to see my overall patterns and sort out the difference between actual hunger and perceived hunger.

For example, yesterday I was pretty much ravenous all day. At about 11:00, I ate some cherry Jello and some yogurt with granola, then about 2:00, I ate some brown rice and vegetables (peas and peppers) with szechuan sauce. I was working on some writing after that, and I became aware of acute hunger. I looked at the clock, and it was 2:40. I thought to myself, there is NO WAY I'm going to eat again, not a mere 40 minutes after I ate a generous portion of vegetables and rice. It helped to see the types of foods, portions, and times I ate so that I could recognize the hunger as a psychological perception and not a true physical need. I'm also interested in seeing if the feelings of hunger pass after a half hour or so. My general guideline is that if I'm still hungry three hours after eating, I eat something else. Otherwise, I'm okay, and there's no good reason to eat more.

Anyway, I think a good web application would probably help a lot of people who are trying to lose (or not gain) weight. Tagging and dating/timestamping would be key, though; it would be useful in all kinds of ways. People who were trying to switch to a vegan diet could tag meals "ovolacto" or "vegan," and people who go off the wagon and have a big slab of cake could tag that "cake" or "sugar," then track those patterns over time to see when they're the most vulnerable to cravings.

Never buy this candy, unless you'd like to gain ~70 lbs.

It is TOO good:

NYT Story about Obesity

I'm disappointed that this story about obesity in the NYT hasn't gotten more play. The story discusses research findings that show the degree to which obesity is genetically determined and the finding that the body's weight is going to maintain a certain range. If someone keeps his/her weight below that range, the physical and psychological effect is akin to starvation. Here's one of the most interesting parts, in my opinion:

The Rockefeller subjects also had a psychiatric syndrome, called semi-starvation neurosis, which had been noticed before in people of normal weight who had been starved. They dreamed of food, they fantasized about food or about breaking their diet. They were anxious and depressed; some had thoughts of suicide. They secreted food in their rooms. And they binged.

As I've mentioned in this space, I struggle with my weight. I'm not overweight; in fact, my body mass index is right in the middle of the normal range, but I have to fight constantly to keep it that way. A few years ago, I weighed about twenty pounds more than I do now. I dieted and lost forty pounds, putting me at 107 pounds. Then I gained some of it back. Now my basic goal is to stay under 130, and it is extremely difficult. I definitely have a touch of that neurosis they're talking about. I believe that if I ate as much as I really want, I'd be about 150 pounds. Anyway, I wanted to link to that story in the hope that it'll get more uptake.

Me vs. Bulge

It seems like a lot of bloggers are trying to lose weight right now. Me, I'm (as always) in my perpetual attempt to maintain current weight/lose 10 pounds, as my clothes are snug. Maybe 15. Anyway, I'm sure I've blogged about it before, but I enter the food I eat into FitDay, which I really like. It counts the calories for you and gives you a breakdown of your carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake. Here's a screenshot of my food so far today:

fitday

I only look at the number of calories as a rough estimate, but it's still helpful.

Caption Fun

Provide a caption

I'll give you a chance to provide one, then share what mine is.

Thanksgiving Menu

Today Jonathan and I are going to have a modest meal; this weekend we'll be doing a proper Thanksgiving with his family. We're probably going to go with what's in the house. Here's the tentative plan.

1. Roasted chicken -- don't know what we'll use for marinade yet; it's still thawing.

2. Roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips -- this is a dish I got from Martha Stewart's TV show. You cut up sweet potatoes and parsnips, drizzle them in olive oil, bake, then coat them with a dressing made of maple syrup and dijon mustard.

3. Peas

4. Maybe corn

5. Possibly biscuits, just the milk-and-self-rising-flour kind. I might grate up some cheddar to put in them, too.

We might venture out to the grocery store, in which case cranberry sauce, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, and a store-bought pie of some kind will surely be added.

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