I do really enjoy talking about food – I’m not a foodie, I don’t think – not like the people we celebrated New Year’s weekend with, who brought their own zesters and steak knives to a fully stocked vacation home and spent the bulk of the afternoon whipping up sauces and soaking dried fruit in champagne – I think, actually, in order to be a foodie you have to declare yourself as such, don’t you? I’ve heard many people say “Oh, I’m such a foodie” and I assume I’m not because I would never say that, and also because of certain traits I observe in foodies – an obsession over just the right cheese, the ability to send food and wine back at a restaurant, an interest in talking about food, what to eat, where to eat, how to prepare it, all day long – that’s just not me. But I do like to cook, and perusing cookbooks in the evening relaxes me, and I love to eat. I’m pretty good at more old-fashioned kind of food, the dishes my mom and grandma taught me to cook – beef stroganoff, chicken piccata, roasts of all shapes and sizes, pies, cakes – stick-to-your rib kinds of meals. Because a lot of that food isn’t healthy to eat every day, I can also work magic with chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach , artichokes – those five items are staples in my kitchen.
It’s Super Bowl weekend here in the United States and on Friday everybody at work was talking about what they planned and looked forward to eating, today. Apparently there’s a dip where you shred hot wings into blue cheese AND DIP CHIPS INTO IT. Other folks talked about 7-layer dip, submarine sandwiches, take-out barbecue, coney-dogs, cheese cake on a stick, various lagers and ales and the what was ultimately agreed on as the best dip of dips – chili with a hunk of velveeta cheese melted into it and spread on tortilla chips. I found it really interesting how people waxed poetic about this kind of food – as though they don’t eat it more often than once a year, as though this actually isn’t mainstream American nutrition. Mostly because of my soy allergy, I can’t take part in this kind of eating – no fake cheeses or non-organic potato chips or pizza for me, and while I sort of mourn this – this limitation in my eating, at the same time I know it’s responsible for my glorious triglycerides (let’s not talk cholesterol, though – it’s a bit high) and allows me the opportunity, on the coldest weekend of the year, when all of southeastern Michigan is in a long deep freeze, to enjoy the following food:
Met friends for breakfast. One of the interesting things about the Detroit area is the heavy Greek and Mexican influences found here, and you can’t go more than 2 miles without hitting incredible Greek food of one sort or another. We went to a restaurant that cooks food in olive oil instead of soybean oil and uses real cheese, so I enjoyed a spinach and feta egg-white omelette with sourdough toast smothered in butter, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I haven’t been out for breakfast in probably a year, but this restaurant reminded me why it used to be such an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning.
Dinner last night (because obviously I was too full for lunch) was bruschetta the way I learned to make it in Rome – Italian bread covered in olive oil and garlic and toasted. For toppings S. and I shared a selection of roasted peppers, mozzarrella cheese, kalamata olives, hot peppers and salami. S. wolfed dinner down and said this was something I could make whenever I wanted, which is HIGH compliment coming from him, since he usually pushes food I serve him around on a plate, avoiding the vegetables and keening for dessert or, at the very least, a third helping of meat.
Today’s breakfast was quite boring – yogurt and fruit, and lunch was salami sandwiches with olive oil (leftovers) but this afternoon I made a lemon merengue pie from scratch. An English roast is in the oven, and we will enjoy caesar salad and finish of the Italian bread with dinner. It has been a lovely weekend to eat with friends and lovers in warm places, wrapping hands around coffee cups and tea cups, displaying food attractively across platters, dining by candlelight while the snow blusters and blows outside. We rarely eat like this on weekends, S. and I, but it is the Super Bowl, after all, and what is a non-foody to do when she can’t eat chips, dip and corn dogs? Tomorrow the work week begins and I’ll look again to my chicken, my beans, my leafy greens and organic chocolate, but it’s been a nice respite, to eat outside of our box.
* I should note, in between all of this making and eating of food, A. and I managed to see The Departed, and what everybody tells you is true: It is very violent. It is very long. It is very good.*