Thursday, November 05, 2009

Things to do with food... other than eat it.

During the last few years, as my knees became increasingly problematic, my activity level diminished accordingly. I had once been a slim girl who could eat anything at all as long as I stayed active. Then I became a young mother who could still eat pretty much anything, as long as I was very active.  Since I love food, and exercise, I jogged, hiked, bikram yoga-ed, aerobicized, and danced. In the process, I undoubtedly added to the premature demise of the cartilage in my knees! As I got older, I still needed lots of exercise, as well as a stint at Weight Watchers every few years to drop the accumulated ten or at most 15 pounds. Even when not an active "weight watcher," I had to refrain from eating whatever I wanted. The days and nights of noshing at will were over. Turning fifty and having very bad knees added a bit more than that! I GOT FAT! I am back at weight watchers, got the first ten nearly off, and feel better already. Best of all, my knees are fixed, and I am looking forward to vigorous exercise once again!

Meanwhile, food is something to be mostly avoided. Right? Wrong! In fact, there are lots of ways to enjoy food without shoving it down the hatch! Here a few:

Plant a gorgeous garden, visit it frequently, and pick oodles of fresh vegetables (most of which you can eat without guilt.. NO BUTTER!)

Read about food! So far, I have finished all of the Julia Child-related books, and have waiting Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink  and Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life  by Mimi Sheraton, a reknowned food writer. Then there are food magazines! Yum. Is that drool on those pages?

I've just gotten into food blogs. Endless! Try chocolate and zucchini... French and fun!

Enjoy it with your ears. I love NPR's The Splendid Table  with Lynn Rosetto Kaspar. That woman's voice alone is succulent! When she describes food, it sounds like she's rolling scrumptious things around in her mouth. She doesn't just do recipes; she talks about all sorts of ingredients and accoutrement for cooking. Sadly, she's on at one on Sundays, so I usually miss her. But the show can be heard in podcast, and she has a little weekly e-mail you can sign up for that sends an inspiring mid-week recipe.

You could watch food shows on TV.. I don't, but there are plenty! I do love food movies. Julie and Julia, of course, and my favorite one of all is Big Night. Fabulous. Lots of good literature has wonderful food descriptions too. Fictional food has zero calories!

Make food for other people. A big part of my food loving is cooking. For me, it's like meditation. It's also creative: choosing the elements of a meal, combining colors and tastes and textures, seasoning and garnishing. I love baking pies for people because I make a mean pie crust and people get great pleasure from my pies. It's also a good idea to bake for people since you can't cheat and take part of the pie or cake before giving it away! Here's an apple cake I make for my son and his friends:

Write about food. I am starting a memoir that is based upon the recipes I have collected over the decades, and all of the memories that are triggered by each one, good and bad. Not the most original idea, I know, but fun and theraputic.

Make things with it (I did not make this..)

Or this, but I was there when someone did...

This is the Easter cake that I make (almost) every year...

You can also dream about food, talk about it, take pictures of it, learn about it, and look at it. Bon appetit!