Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The World's Pickiest Eater

Here I am. The woman who could and would eat nearly anything, reduced to searching for something, anything, that will taste good or at least good to me. How is it that one of life's greatest pleasures has turned into a chore? No longer can I effortlessly sample anything of my choosing. No. Instead I need to carefully envision what will appeal in hopes that it actually will.

On one recent occasion, I demand smoked oysters with a dab of mayo and A. brings me a platter. Perfection. I gobble them all, artfully arranged with a caper and spinach leaves on toast.

Today I envisioned corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes. I thought it would come thickly sliced, from a nearby restaurant. Instead, my dad brought me 2 platters from a pub near his home. It was not at all what I had in mind, as it was presented, cold on a plate. So I asked that he try an order from the restaurant near my house. It was only marginally better, maybe because it was hot. It too, was not thickly sliced or at all what I had imagined. I ended up with an awful tummy ache.

Friends go out of their way to bring me elaborate meals, some quite over the top and inventive. All kinds of extremely healthful meals have come my way. I certainly do appreciate all of the effort that goes into these dishes but I now must confess that simple might be best. I cannot tolerate too many flavors at once. Comfort food tends to be less multi-dimensional and easier for me to tolerate. Ordinarily we are a family of adventurous eaters but in these trying times I think some comfort food might be in order.

Of course comfort food varies according to one's background. For me it conjures up visions of my grandmother's food. If she were here I would be asking for Matzoh Ball Soup, Stuffed Cabbage, Blintzes, and Noodle Kugel.

But I don't only entertain cravings for Jewish foods. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, a plain roast chicken, macaroni and cheese would please. Roasted vegetables with one herb and a sprinkling of salt. Salads with a simple vinaigrette. Pasta, pierogi, tuna-noodle casserole, potato gratin and chocolate or vanilla pudding, are foods which also tempt my palate, at least for today.

Odd but my cravings match my doctor's latest instructions. Yes. The good news is that I am no longer restricted to a low fat diet, nor am I adhering to all of the Anti-Cancer principles. Instead I have been instructed to eat as much butter, cream, ice cream, sour cream and the like, as I can.
And as long as it is organic, grass-fed, local etc., I will do my best to follow the doctor's orders!

Here's looking forward to eating some fine, fatty foods...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tonight's Feast: Indian Comfort Food

Late this afternoon, N. stopped by with her littlest boy to drop off this delightful meal. She stayed for a short visit and it cheered me to see her happy child.

This time, N. wowed us with a super-healthy Indian dinner. There was a Dal/Rice mix, Chana Masala, Cabbage Salad and some Paratha bread. There was even warm banana bread for dessert. How N. managed to cook all that for us with a five month old and two other young ones about amazes me. I didn't think I would be able to stomach the meal as I have been having quite a difficult time lately but she toned down the spice enough for me so that it was entirely palatable.

Izzy, A. and I all dined in the bedroom so I could stay warm and cozy in bed. We were all thankful for our dinner and as always, so grateful for the kindness of others.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Ant-Cancer Dinner: An outrageously healthy dinner from M!

My friend M. outdid herself, yet again. Greeting me after the first day of my second cycle of chemo, she arrived with tonight's delivery which included a Three Mushroom Soup, a gorgeous Beet and Citrus Salad with Greens, and a side of Israeli couscous with Baby Garbanzo beans.

It seems that she based chose her recipes based upon items I highlighted as being part of the Anti-Cancer diet I am trying to adhere to. It is important for me (and everyone for that matter) to eat as many vegetables as possible. I have been craving salads and I am thrilled that friends have been providing them.

More on cravings soon...4 days done, 14 to go. Have to rest up for tomorrow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Moose Bolognese

A few months ago, I received the unlikely gift of a box of moose meat from B., a reader in Wasilla. Little did she know it would sustain me for such a very long while. As I hadn't been feeling that well at the time it arrived, I kept saving the moose for just the right occasion. After all, how often does one receive moose meat, right?!

It wasn't until a few days prior to my surgery that I finally had to have the moose burgers. I least I wouldn't have died on the operating table without having tasted what B. considers one of the best burgers around. The sliders I made were rather tasty so I was glad I did.

After surgery I had very little appetite for much of anything, let alone moose. When I began chemo in February, eating became even more of a challenge as perpetual nausea kept me from eating most things and my taste buds became hyper-sensitive. Flavors that I once loved became repellent and all I wanted was meat. Following chemo treatments, odd and very precise cravings hit me. One of the first things I asked for was crumbled moose meat in a frying pan, with salt. As all we had was a hunk of frozen chopped moose, A. took it out into the backyard and hacked it into chunks with an ax. He took out one chunk and prepared it for me as requested, accompanied by toast points and garnished with spinach. It hit the spot at the time but I will never eat or want that preparation again. So back to the freezer went a all of the hacked moose meat.

I knew that I had to use that moose meat before it suffered freezer burn and the other day I had a hankering for some pasta Bolognese, hence my idea for Moose Bolognese. I even had the energy to make it myself, using Marcella Hazan's already tried and true recipe. With moose meat, or without, give it a try for a comforting meal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friends Fatten Me Up: Surprise Dinnners Brighten My Day

My friends have gotten together to insure that I have a steady supply of dinners throughout my 5 months of treatment. Three nights a week, different friends will be dropping off dinner. The meals started coming two weeks ago and so far I have been enjoying the mystery of it all. I have no idea what I will be getting or who will be cooking so each meal is a surprise.

I have been terribly remiss in not recounting the meals I have received thus far. Tonight I will make amends because I cannot contain myself any longer. This evening my friend M. dropped off a meal worthy of much note and praise. The lady must have cooked all day and she arrived near three o'clock p.m., toting a Whole Foods bag filled with a vegetarian feast. There was a French Lentil soup with butternut squash and sweet potatoes, along with a red quinoa salad and steamed broccoli with a lemon vinaigrette. There was plenty of dinner to share, even with my brother who stopped by to help put Izzy to bed. Not only that but there was an extra-special healthy dessert, a Frozen Blueberry,Banana,Avocado and Date pie atop a granola crust, something I would never consider making myself but I'm glad to have eaten it as it was both healthy and fattening.

My very first delivery was a health, hearty chicken soup from C., my wonderful Pilates instructor. It came packed so prettily in a beribboned glass jar and was accompanied by some uber-healthy bread and fruit. My stomach was most fragile that evening so I never even managed to have a taste.

Next came some Indian victuals from my friend G., followed by an organic Friday night dinner from J., Spaghetti Squash casserole made with a delightfully herby ricotta cheese. This was accompanied by a wonderful Italian salad with artichokes and cucumber.

Monday brought us a Minestrone soup, whole wheat rolls and a Zucchini Bread warm from the oven, prepared by N... Not a morsel was left.

To get me completely up to date (I started this post last Wednesday), Friday's dinner came delivered by my friend A., who stayed for a short visit while dropping off a tureen of some Greek Lemon-Egg Soup.

All of these meals have helped me attain my goal of staying above 100 lbs., to fortify myself for the next round of treatments, after which I have will most likely have some difficulty eating, lose the weight and then try to regain it with some more food!

Am so grateful for food from friends, feeding me and my family. Keep it coming!