Thursday, February 3, 2011

(166) Not Fixating on Flavor

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.


  1. Paula Deens cookbooks are a heart attack waiting to happen !! YOU could totally make under that dish to be healthy yet tasteful !!

  2. I totally agree with you. I won't be buying any of her cookbooks. I like simple plain foods too when I'm on a diet and I'm gotten used to it during the past couple of years. Of course, every now and then I like something different but I always make sure it is weight loss friendly before I try it and I never buy cookbooks that do not list the serving size and the nutritional facts. That is one thing that has been ingrained in me after all this time. I like to KNOW exactly what I'm putting into my mouth.

  3. It is hard to make tasty good for you dishes but you can do it. I am finding spices I thought would kill me but not amy more. You can do this, I have faith in you.
    Keep working on this and you'll make your goal.
    Take care and have a blessed day.

  4. Paula Deen is a good cook, though maybe consider tweaking her recipes to fit your dietary needs. I know I would :)

  5. Yeah, I agree her cookbooks are not for me either
    at least your whole family knew it was too much too