Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Hobby

This is the most unlikely hobby for me to ever have imagined I would one day pick up.

I love to cruise through cookbooks and dream about food.

Funny, but I've never, ever, ever found cookbooks the least bit interesting. I've always found cooking to be oppressively feminine. Not cooking per se, but women in general cooking and being expected to serve men food. And cheerfully doing it. Women of my generation! Most women I talk to about it didn't find cooking as oppressive as I did, and expressed that they'd far rather have a man around who cleans than who cooks, because they hated to clean.

I still was averse to cooking.

I then, as you know, developed the basic knowledge of cooking while Brent was away, because I was forced to. I even learned to like it a bit.

Since he's been back, we share the cooking about 50-50.

Since I've been pregnant, I've developed a LOVE AFFAIR with food. I dream about food. I sniff my plate in fancy restaurants, trying to sort out marinades and herbs. I snatch recipes from other people. But best of all, I love to read the cookbooks we have in our house, flipping through the magnificent pictures and dreaming about eating the food there. Then I make grocery lists, and then I shop (and while I'm in the grocery store my mouth waters and I'm already super excited about eating these dishes), and then I cook, and then the most rewarding step of all: I EAT!!! Vegetables, cheese, meat, salads, fancy breads, yum, yum, yum....I have currently in my fridge seven kinds of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, soft goat, havarti, cream cheese, and parmesian. These I consider the basics. Fancy cheese like blue, gouda, etc, are purchased for specific recipes or cravings. Blue cheese on hamburgers is to die for.
I'm all about the fresh vegetables, too. Greek salad, cesar salad, roma tomatoes-cilantro-goat cheese-balsamic vinegar-EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, courtesy of Rachael Ray) salad, couscous salad, and my recently discovered pear and pecan salad. Here's the recipe:

1 head butter lettuce
2 heads radiccio
2-3 handfuls spinach
2 pears, diced
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted in oven on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes
3 generous Tbsp blue cheese dressing

TO DIE FOR, people. Could be slightly enhanced with a handful of dried cranberries.

I don't like salads in restaurants anymore. For the most part, I can do better. :-) That feels good to be able to say!!

Love fresh fruit. Can't put down mango, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, oranges, ruby red grapefruits, and my nightly frozen fruit smoothie.

The funny thing is, now that I enjoy food more, I weigh less. Eating is no longer a chore, so I pay far more attention to what goes in (and doesn't; no sugar or refined flours and VERY few potatoes), and to whether or not I'm full.
I guess technically I don't weigh less since I'm pregnant, but seriously most of my weight has been baby. I'm 19 lbs lighter than at this point in my last pregnancy, and I look good. My face is not fat. My fingers swell in the heat, but are not fat when it's cool. I think I eat less overall because I listen to my body and stop when it's full, because I love food and enjoy the experience of eating it. Isn't that funny?

Anyways, my new hobby is reading cookbooks. I no longer find cooking oppressive. My husband loves sharing the responsibility of cooking, rather than doing it all himself. And I love food.

This is a long, long road from the ballet dancer who vilified food and counterbalanced every intake with a cardiovascular output. Not an eating disorder, but a distorted view of food. I did not enjoy eating. I hated cooking.

Food is my friend! So is Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef. Naked food, naked men. What more could one ask for?


Dana said...

So fun! So great! So healthy!

I've always enjoyed eating but have not been so great at cooking. Things are turning around for me too!

Jen & Andrey said...

Yes! I share your love of food. Since moving to Cebu I've made some new strides myself in cooking meals that are easy and healthy - and doing it a lot more often than ever before. The best part for me is eating something I actually created - something that didn't exist before I spent 1 hour in the kitchen. It's become my creative outlet and my time to think or mostly, just be. And my husband praises me even when I expend very little effort and that makes me feel good. I've always loved cooking and admit I do all of it in our house but I am slowly encouraging Andrey to at least learn a few things. He has always been super helpful in the kitchen with prep and cleaning so I don't complain but I just think it's wise to not be the only one who is capable. Happy eating!

Jen & Andrey said...

p.s. Have you ever looked at Cooking Light magazine? I'm not sure if it's available in Canada but I'd highly recommend a subscription. My mom sends me mine to Asia where I read nearly every issue cover to cover. Great recipes - very practical - and healthy. I always get excited about what I want to make next from it.
...And another thing - keep sharing your recipes I love learning what others are enjoying and it gives me ideas of things to try. I'll start doing the same. I hope I can pass on some ones you will like as well.