Deathbread: A Post on Fun and Family Nostalgia

College student in nutrition discusses the importance of fun with food, and culture

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First, let me just say Combichrist song titles make great blog titles, and great carbohydrate puns.

Second:  I am not a baker.  But that did not stop me from making and having fun while making bread.  I was going crazy with doing new things, like a 3-braided loaf, and then a 5-braided rope with cinnamon and sugar.  I think the fun-factor is a component many nutritionist and dietitians miss when discussing food.  Saying I like food is an understatement.  I mean, I am making an entire fucking career out of it.  I like eating new foods sometimes, especially new produce.  But I know not everyone enjoys food as much as I do.

There are many people unable to eat healthy from a mental point.  It could be the flavor of the foods, the stigma behind eating healthy (which does not really seem to exist in urban American West Coast places), or some other reason causing people to be unwilling to do new things with food.  Plus, things like prepackaged or fast foods are quick, cheep, and easy.  The Deadly Trifecta, I call them.

In behavioral psychology, there is Exchange Theory.  In shorter terms, the benefits from doing something must outweigh the costs.  For me, the outcome of having fun while making bread was worth more than the fear of failing to make it correctly, or the costs of materials and time.  For others, not so much.  I think one of the ever-expanding roles a dietitian should try to do is show people food can be fun when opposition arises.  Sometimes it takes a bit of imagination to turn cooking and/or eating healthy something to dread to something to look forward to.

Another thing a lot of dietitians need to be aware of is the culture of the people you deal with.  Foods that are acceptable and palatable in one environment might not even be feasible in another.  An example we had in class was with an Asian woman and a dietitian.  She was seeing the dietitian after being diagnosed with diabetes.  Her meal was very rice heavy, and she had sodas with dinner.  In the “bad” scenario, the dietitian was unrelenting with recommending brown rice instead of white rice, despite her resisting every step of the way.  She was not in charge of making food, only eating it.  He was not aware of her culture, and that caused her to be uncomfortable.

Now, when I made bread, I posted about it online for my friends and family to see.  I was getting notifications left and right from my relatives and friends.  It’s cool that my friends and family appreciate my love of food, but I was NOT expecting to have as wide of a response as I did.

At least with the older generation of people in my family, homemade bread is a big thing.  My grandma used to make homemade bread.  My mother even told me that she had fond memories of breaking into the fresh loaves of bread and eating the end slices with her mother-in-law and eating them with butter.

To wrap things up, I think that medical personnel need to understand that discussing health is not enough.  Sometimes one’s culture makes it difficult to change food behaviors, and sometimes it’s the patient’s own mentality that prevents the change.

What do you guys think?  Any cool food stories?  Any stories about the foods served in your family?  Feel free to comment them below.

Sliced ‘n Spiced: An Applesauce Recipe

A recipe I adapted from a class to add my own personal touch to it.

img_20161021_124558783One great thing about living in the Pacific Northwest during autumn is the apples.  Fucking apples all over the place.  Normally, they are crisp and crunchy, unless if they have been climate controlled (and thus became mealy).  Either way, throw them in the motherfucking pot and boil them down until there is only mush left.

Here’s what I used (the recipe is adapted from my food laboratory notebook for a science of foods class):

  • 4 Apples: I used Jonagold and Granny Smith because of their flavors
  • 1 C. water
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger: In the picture I used crystalized ginger, which is basically large chunks of ginger root cooked in a syrup.  Be sure to cut it up into smaller pieces
  1. Wash the apples. This step is important because food borne illness is a bitch.
  2. Peel, cut, and core apples. Feel free to eat the peels.  I did.
  3. Put the apples in a slow cooker. Use a liner if you want, I really do not give a fuck.  You do you.
  4. Pour the water over top of apples. Season the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to taste.  I like mine spicy and brown, you might like it more appley.
  5. Turn the slow cooker onto high, and cover. The applesauce will be done in about 4-5 hours.
  6. I let applesauce cool on the countertop, and then transferred into the fridge to help it cool and form a slightly thicker sauce.

 

The way I made it, the sauce is a bit sweet, a bit tangy, and somewhat bitter or earthy.  If a sweeter sauce is desired, you can use sweeter apples, less spices than I did (that is why it is dark brown, I really like my spices), or add 1-3 Tbsp table sugar if desired.  Personally, I do not like a whole lot of sugar in my applesauce, as I wanted the natural sweetness of the apples and flavor of the spices to be the “stars” of the flavor profile.

Chop Cut-Me by Kitchen Ups and Downs: Some of my Kitchen Horror Stories

Everyone makes mistakes with cooking. Here are some of mine

Decided to change around my theme on my blog, hopefully people like it, if not, if anyone has any advice, please let me know.

I think on hurdle many face when it comes to cooking meals at home is the idea that it is difficult.  We live in a society where celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay can chop some random ingredients up and toss it in a pot and that is a challenge for amateur chefs on Master Chef or watch over a group of competent chefs fuck up things like risotto and scallops.  This can make the kitchen intimidating.  I don’t know when I am going to open up the fridge and Chef Ramsay is going to come out and yell at me for being a stupid donkey for accidentally burning something or using sub-par ingredients due to my meager college budget.  That being said, I want to talk about some of my kitchen fuck-ups to show that you get better with time, and the kitchen isn’t a scary place to be.

Confession:  I am absolutely dreadful at making cookies.  I remember one time I was going to make chocolate chip cookies.  Now, every package of chocolate chips has a convenient little recipe for simple cookies on the back.  It is very helpful to actually READ the damn thing, because like the idiot I am, I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl, and almost burned out my mom’s mixer’s motor.  Needless to say, I had to have her bail me out and fix that problem.  Another time in my cooking class in high school, we were tasked with making cookies.  Working alongside on of my friends (who has become a chef) we mixed up the ingredients, but we must have reduced the numbers wrong, because the result was flat, partially baked goo after the baking time.  That was not a good day, and I went home feeling embarrassed and like I let my friends down.

Another time I tried to make a reduction like I learned in another class (hmm, notice how I can’t cook desserts?) and wound up going from a thin sugar sauce, to something akin to gasoline.  I made my sister try it.  I don’t think she forgave me for that stunt.  Another time, as a graded assignment, my group was tasked with making a pudding pie.  We followed the recipe exactly, and set the pie in the fridge for the set amount of time.  The next day when it came to presenting, we presented soup.  Somehow the pudding did not set after several hours.

Most recently, my biggest battle came from shallow frying some tofu for a stir fry.  I set everything up, and prepared to start cooking.  I checked the oil to see if it was too hot, or cold.  It was just right.  So I start frying up the little fuckers, and what do they do but pop and spatter oil all over me.  It’s interesting what you call cooking food as it gives you several minor burns on your hands and forearms.  Later on, I noticed that my t-shirt had oil marks all over it, indicating that I am glad that I did not decide to try and be sexy (to who I would be sexy to, I do not know, I was home alone at the time) and cook shirtless.

So who all out there has horror stories about cooking?  Anything memorable and funny you are willing to share?

Image from State Farm on Flickr, with no changes made.