Posted in Daily, Food, Personal Musings

All in Moderation

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates

One of the most conflicting emotions that often run in the mind, especially the woman’s mind is whether one is fat or thin ? To be honest, fat is essential to diet and all products or diets that state to eliminate fat is dangerous. Besides being good energy sources and cushioning the internal body organs, certain fats are essential to the brain cells, nerves as well as to fight infection and inflammation. The key lies in moderation and to recognize the bad fats namely “trans-fat” and “saturated fats”. Besides these highlights to look for in the food labels, remember that the more processed, the more sparingly we should eat it. Yet that doesn’t mean we have to avoid the occasional splurge once in a while, not daily.

“These small things – nutrition, place, climate, recreation, the whole casuistry of selfishness – are inconceivably more important than everything one has taken to be important so far.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When the USDA declared January as the “fat free living month”, it was a little weird decision to make as we can’t live without fats. Yet we can regulate the fat intake especially the bad types. Unfortunately weight loss, fad diets and abstinence from fat doesn’t solve our problems unless we find out what makes us unhappy or dissatisfied or triggers the emotional eating binge.

“Weight loss is not the key to your dreams. The truth is there is no lock and the door is flimsy.” Golda Poretsky

We are all beautiful the way we are. Healthy doesn’t mean thin sized nor does it mean running between the goalposts of diet and binge eating. The easiest way to healthy eating is to be mentally happy and enjoy the food. Food serves to sustain and to revel in the tastes offered, but too much of anything honey or salt spoils the beauty.

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Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Winter, Soup and Holidays

“What a marvelous resource soup is for the thrifty cook – it solves the ham-bone and lamb-bone problems, the everlasting Thanksgiving turkey, the extra vegetables.” Julia Child

With the season’s celebrations underway, one of the ideal ways to put the extra meat and vegetables to good use is to make them into soup. From the clear soups ( bouillon, consomme) to thick (purees, bisques, veloutes) soups are a consistent favourite with many. Its origins can be traced back to the Roman Era as evidenced by use of the middle English word “soup” from the Old French “soupe” which in turn is derived from “suppa” of Late Latin of Germanic roots. Additionally evidence of existence of soup can be found to as early as 20,000 BC with the discovery of the technique of “boiling” and waterproof jars. Yet since then, soup has been revolutionized to the traditions, customs, flavours, taste as well as style of the local cuisine to the extent that soup is not simply a starter or appetizer but also eaten as dessert or with fruit, as well as being served hot or cold.

“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.” Marge Kennedy

Come December with the cold and snow, there’s nothing more apt than having pepper pot soup. This soup made from scraps meat and peppercorn had gained mass popularity during the Revolutionary War days in Colonial America. As the legend goes, during the battle of Valley Forge in an exceptionally cold harsh winter of 1777-78, food was often scarce and conditions deplorable. The soldiers were low on food and Christopher Ludwick, a baker general of the Continental Army, gathered whatever food he could scrounge together to feed the cold and frail soldiers. Gathering scraps of tripe, meat, and some peppercorn, he mixed the ingredients together with some other seasonings and created the hot, thick, and spicy soup we now know as pepper pot soup. It quickly became known as “the soup that won the war” as the soup gave the soldiers the warmth and strength that they needed to push the enemies back through the harsh winter weather.

It is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without soup or bread in it. M. F. K. Fisher

From the Belgian Waterzool to the Russian Solyanka, Vietnamese Pho, Partan bree of Scotland; each country, place and local cuisine have their own version of soup of meat and vegetables. Whichever name it may be by, essentially soups ward off the wintry chill satisfying not just the palate and hunger, but also keep us simply warm, comfortable and nice.

Posted in Daily, Food, Quotes

Cozy with Comfort Foods

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.” Eli Brown in Cinnamon and Gunpowder

After a tiring week or even on long weary days, there’s nothing more satisfying that indulging  in something that calms the nerves, bringing memories of the best days of our life, as children or even as adults. No matter how “grown up”we may claim to be, everyone has their own brand of comfort or go-to food. Ranging from fried chicken to rice, french fries, bread pudding or caramel custard to scrambled eggs on toast, fish and chips or fried pakoras with ketchup to nutella on pancakes to simply ice cream; sweet, spicy or savoury the list is endless and varied. Yet there’s nothing more welcoming that digging into food that reminds us of good times, home or our mother’s kitchen, sunny skies and fun moments.

Food is a lot of people’s therapy – when we say comfort food, we really mean that. It’s releasing dopamine and serotonin in your brain that makes you feel good. Brett Hoebel

While the usual taste of comfort might trend towards the homemade cuisine, each one of us have our own eclectic tastes. Contrary to popular belief, not all women love only chocolate and ice-cream while all men indulge in steaks, casseroles and soups. Each to their own is what I believe in. As long as that food provides a nostalgic or sentimental value, its’ worth having it in both the happy as well as the sad phase.

You can’t go wrong with relatively simple comfort food. It’s also about ease. Some cook to impress. I cook for people to enjoy the food. Al Roker

Although the downside of the comfort food is its high calories, it is worth the carbohydrate load as long as it is once in a while. That is one of the reasons why a long list of comfort foods is particularly satisfying. Whether the preparation is simple or complicated, as long as the feeling of nostalgia is attached to it; it fits the criteria depending on the mood at that moment. The blissful feeling after indulging the cravings can be better experienced than said.

Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way. – Benjamin Bratt