Still Here, Still Me

I probably needed to extend my blog-break through May. This is what I’ve got going on and coming up:

    15 credit hours
    Microsoft case study
    content for 2 websites
    guestblogging for website of indie documentary about Richard Evans Schultes and the Colombian Amazon (more on that later)
    four exams
    2 final papers

Plus I got 2 Madhur Jaffrey Indian cookbooks from the library and am learning to cook Indian food — where has Indian home cooking BEEN all my life?

I’ve cooked a few simple Indian-style meals and can’t believe it took me until I was 39 years old to realize that a favorite restaurant food could happen in my very own kitchen with very little effort. I’m stocked up on asafoetida and bay leaves, and sistergirl is ready to go…

Tonight’s dinner is naan bread (heat-n-serve from the store), spicy ground turkey with peas, cucumber raita and what was supposed to be a red lentil side dish, but overcooked and became an absolutely kickass spicy North Indian-style red lentil soup. Ghee, turmeric, hot peppers and cumin seed, oh my.. This looks to be my year of cooking, and about time, too.

I would LOVE to write a blog entry right now about how for ages I thought my problem was not eating right, but now I think it actually was that I wasn’t cooking right. I have lived on convenience, frozen and quickie food (pasta, sandwiches) for most of my adult life, if with a reasonably healthy compromise of things like frozen organic veggies and turkey burgers sans bread. I do try to eat humane and organic, but I still tend to rely on what’s easy, with few ingredients. I realize recently that I do not budget time to cook into my day, and the way I live now, don’t really have time to cook a proper meal on weeknights.

But the other day I found myself eating a tasteless, salty dinner of freezer-burned veggies, reheated frozen rice and discount frozen chicken that had been spiced and salinated almost beyond my ability to recognize by taste what it was. Unable to stomach my own ill-made dinner (there is humble fare, and there is distasteful mush), I pitched it in the garbage can. (How many animals, I wonder, have their lives wasted being made into food not worth eating? It is a sick world.) At 11 p.m., with growling belly, I ended up driving to Taco Bell out of hungry desperation.

The next day I tossed out the remaining few containers of rubbery orange chicken meat, leftover reheated Mexican rice and limp green beans, all of which had lost most of whatever meager savor they had managed to retain, and cracked open Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cookery. It is a veritable book of wonders.

I bought the ingredients for a few dishes, made them in a surprisingly short period of time (her quick and easy cookery is just that — though she does make the explicit point that even quick and easy cookery takes a little time and effort), and last night ate the simple, relatively fresh and tasty meal that my poor spirit had craved for so long.

Anyway. I’m reading all of YOUR blogs, and I hope to be back soon. The semester ends in early May.

– Jen

2 responses to “Still Here, Still Me

  1. Mmm. Sounds delish. I love Indian cuisine too — and I think it’s best cooked at home, prepared just the way you like it.

    “But the other day I found myself eating a tasteless, salty dinner of freezer-burned veggies, reheated frozen rice and discount frozen chicken that had been spiced and salinated almost beyond my ability to recognize by taste what it was.” LOL!

  2. I ate those frozen “healthy” choice things for a while, meals, pizzas, all that crap. They use garlic and salt instead of fat for flavor. These days, just looking at them in the freezer aisle gives me indigestion.

    With the in-laws around, I’ve been cooking and trying new things, and have found some dinners that are bound to be staples. And when I can’t face the stove and need something quick for dinner, I call ahead to the Vietnamese restaurant and get take-out pho. Yum!

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