One of the things I've noticed, by comparrison, is that, over the last couple months, I'm spending a lot less time thinking and daydreaming about food.
Or more to the point, before I started this diet/weight loss journey, I'd gotten very comfortable spending time thinking about food, planning meals, browsing through cookbooks, or even better, browsing through magazines with pretty pictures or watching the Food Network and all their shows about delicious gourmet foods.
It all sorta crept up on me.
Not too long ago I bought a magazine-style cookbook by Paula Dean. In it, there is a recipe for mac n' cheese. Initially is sounded so good! Lots of cheese, bacon, and half & half added for extra creaminess. I decided to make it, and everyone looked forward to it.
The evening arrived when I'd planned it for dinner. I got out all the stuff and got busy. Here are the ingredients:
5 Bacon Slices
1/4 C. Butter
1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
4 C. Half & Half
3 C. Shredded Smoked Cheddar Cheese, divided
3 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided
2 (8oz) Pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Red Pepper
1 Pound small Penne Pasta or Macaroni, cooked, drained & kept warm
1 (4oz) jar Diced Pimentos, drained
Holy COW!!!! I started getting a little worried about it while I was mixing it all up. Yes, those numbers are correct, unless Paula's publisher needs to fire the copy editor...
Really???!?!! 8 cups of cheese for one pound of pasta?!?!
But I soldiered on.....
When it was done and we sat down to eat, everyone....EVERYONE...was overwhelmed by it, and not in a good way. The kids, who ordinarily love cheese, were pretty much grossed out. Hubby agreed.
Seriously, there was enough cheese in this dish to choke a horse. (no offense to horses)
After dinner, I got to thinking about that recipe and why in the world I didn't look at it from the beginning and realize how ridiculous it was. That, my friend, is a recipe for death. No one, no body, not a single person has any business or need to consume that much fat in one dish, at one time. EVER.
What possessed Paula to come up with that recipe is far beyond me. The ratios are insane. It was unnecessary to put that much cheese into the dish. It could have had muck less in it and still been tasty.
Which brings me back to the whole bit about food-daydreaming. All the picures and tv shows make these recipes look so damn good, but if you allow your brain to kick in and really absorb what's going on, the warning bells should have been going off like crazy before I made this!!
Its no wonder that we have a weight problem.
So my meals have gotten much simpler and much more boring. I'm am trying very hard not to fixate on flavor, and just stick to utility. Get in the nutrition, even if its a bit bland and boring. I'm consciously avoiding thinking about food and meal planning from the perspective of taste, and trying to think only from the perspective of calories and flavor.
At some point in the future, I would like to enjoy the food I eat, without eating things like Paula's baked death in a bowl. I want to be able to make tasty dishes that are, in the first place, healthy, and second, of the right proportion.
I believe it is time for me to purge the cookbook shelf.