Friday, January 14, 2011

Sick, Tired, Hungry.

Being sick makes eating a chore, when you are the chief cook (or only cook, as in my home) and bottle-washer. There’s nothing good, nothing that sounds good, except what you don’t have or can’t get. And the work to get it can seem overwhelming.

I’ve been sick for over a week now, and my appetite is low most of the day, right up until the point when I become ravenously hungry-- usually not until I’m too starved to think straight. The pleasures of takeout appear greater than they really are, and my bank account more expansive, too. But I don’t want to give in. I want a healthier meal, a supper that will nourish me and maybe even help me feel better. I know it’s possible; I just don’t know if it’s going to happen.

Part of being a good cook is learning how to deal with times like this, times when it is sooo much simpler to pick up a phone than a Wusthof Trident. Some people fill their freezers or cupboards with semi-convenient options, some people plan menus and do extra cooking in advance, some people are content with a quick, cold sandwich.

I generally just soldier on. Especially if other people are involved, waiting to be fed; I somehow find the energy, and put together a decent meal in an hour or less, from whatever I have on hand. Talk myself out of the hunger stupor I’m in and walk into the kitchen. I’ll make a pizza, a casserole, a savory bread pudding, a skillet sauté, a quick pasta sauce of shredded veg and olive oil. It’s always a good meal that makes me feel virtuous for having avoided the expense and extra cheesy calories of takeout.

If it’s just myself, I might skimp on the healthy food. That’s not fair, is it?

A good meal is more necessary, when you’re ill. More important than ever. You know that you deserve it-- making and giving out the benefit just don’t seem to go together.

At least we are lucky to live in a city here where delicious food can be delivered to your door in an hour on a Friday night, even when you don’t eat chicken wings. I’m having pizza, from Mamma Mia’s on Highland near Colvin. Green olives on half.

And maybe I have the energy to chop a broccoli salad, too, since the main dish is on it’s way. One of my favorites, from Cooking Light magazine a few years back-- it’s all raw, and it has apples in it, which my Mom told me today are “good for your lungs.” So, I’m easing up on the healthy meal tonight, mostly. But I’d love to know what you do, in similar circumstances, or how you prepare in advance.

It’s very very cold here in Buffland, and I want to drink some tea and steam my lungs before the delivery guy arrives, and I just got my new, plum purple ukulele from Amazon. It’s like a little piece of Hawaii in my hands, just when I needed it. I’m glad I ordered pineapple on the other half of the pizza. Mahalo! I hope you’ll eat something good tonight.

Sweet, crunchy apple and broccoli create a refreshing, light side dish. Prepare this salad up to eight hours in advance for best flavor and texture.

**Mari's notes-- I use olive oil, myself, and any onions or apples I have on hand-- but NY macs taste best, to me. You can make this a more appley or more veggie salad as you like. It is far more than the sum of it's parts.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (1 1/4-pound) head of broccoli
1 1/4 cups chopped Braeburn or Fuji apple (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup minced Walla Walla or other sweet onion

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Coarsely chop broccoli into 1 1/2-inch pieces, and place in bowl with vinegar mixture. Add chopped apple and minced onion, tossing to coat.

Nutritional Information
Calories:72 (30% from fat)
Fat:2.4g (sat 0.2g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.6g)

by Joy Zacharia, Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2006

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