Paula Deen’s announcement of having Type 2 diabetes sort of set me back on my heels this morning. There is a running joke among family and friends that I, like Paula, start all my recipes with a cube of butter. Actually, it’s not far from the truth. The recipes I make actually do start with a cube of butter. I just don’t cook like that every day.
Paula is a few years older than I am, and I have a hunch she is under a lot more stress than I am in a normal day. I say NORMAL because that has not been my life for the last couple of months. I am trying to regain my equilibrium, though, and live more calmly with less frenetic activity. Also, my blood sugar levels are always very good–60 to 80. Cholesterol too. Which is kind of funny, considering all that butter! One year, the number came back just over 200, and my doctor, who was used to seeing numbers like 170, told me she hoped I was “just camping there.” I had to admit that I had been excessive with the butter. I backed off and the level backed down, too.
I am trying harder to eat a plant based diet with less and less meat as I believe we don’t need as much meat as we seem to consume. Terry and I can make a three pound roast last all week; two chicken breasts can do the same. We have quit eating any cured meats with nitrates and nitrites. All fruits and veggies are organic as are other foods. We stay away from most processed foods which means very little restaurant eating. However, this past week was a bad one in this area as we were out of town and trying new places.
Last Tuesday we finished off a roast I had cooked the previous week. Wednesday I had lunch with a friend and ordered a shish kebob sandwich (lamb). Thursday Terry and I shared a Rueben sandwich at Max’s made with pastrami (!) and sauerkraut. Friday we had carnitas tacos at a new place in San Francisco. Saturday I picked up a ham sandwich at Whole Foods. At least it was nitrite and nitrate free.
Yesterday I met the Ladies Who Lunch at a new Mexican restaurant in town. I ordered the short rib burrito but they were out of that. Saved! Instead I got the veggie tacos. My meat binge has ended.
It is a running joke with all my friends and family that every recipe I have starts with a cube of butter. Well, it’s not really a joke but pretty much the truth. When I saw one of my favorite pie places in San Francisco had a browned butter sweet potato pie on its menu, I had to find out to make my own, and so googled the recipe. I changed things around a little and made this version:
It was really good, but a whole pie is a bit much for Terry and me to consume on our own. My wonderful mail carrier delivered a box to my door on Saturday, and as a reward, I cut a slice for her and tucked it into a wax paper bag. Bless her heart, she left this note for me yesterday:
Since we have finished off the pie, I decided to make another banana pudding.
I made it with cream and a little bit of butter, not a whole cube. See? I can make something without starting with a cube of butter!
Today, upon realizing the pumpkin pie was all gone, I decided we needed another pie. Looking around at what I had with which to make one, I found a bunch of apples we have received in our produce boxes the past couple of weeks. No, I know apples don’t come in bunches (I also have some grapes that came in the Thanksgiving week box, now that’s a bunch), but these aren’t apples of one variety, they are a diverse bunch. Sort of like the kids I teach.
I peeled, cored, and pared them; tossed in a bunch (there’s that word again) of sugar and spices and a little butter (everything I make has to have butter) and put it all in a crust from Whole Foods. It’s baking in the oven as I write.
Although cake is my favorite, I find myself making a lot of pies. Probably because I like pie too, and my hubby especially likes pie, and they are easy to make. I was taking a pie to work to share when I would make them but have stopped. The last two pies were hardly touched and I ended up throwing them away. I think I’ve figured out the problem there–no one in our department wants to be seen eating sweets. If someone brings cookies or candy, those disappear almost instantly because people can grab and run. But pie? Pie takes a plate and a fork, and a knife to cut the pie. Too much work and then someone will see you eating it. So now I bake one pie and we eat it here at home or I take a slice to work in my lunch bag. Then everyone looks and says, “yum, pie.”
No, not the kind you drink!
My mother was born and raised in Arkansas and came to California with the other Grapes of Wrath refugees, bringing along with her all of her southern cooking. Or hillbilly cooking. I grew up on fried foods, and I’m sure you can tell by looking at any pictures of me, I still love that kind of cooking. There is also the fact that all my recipes that aren’t fried start with a cube of butter.
During summer months when I was growing up, my mother would fry okra, and it seemed like she usually had it for Sunday suppers. Or, that’s what I remember. This week we got a bag of okra in our produce box so I breaded it and fried it today. Mmmm, tasted like a summer Sunday to me. For my husband, born and raised in California by a health freak mother, not so good. He is not fond of my fried food diet, thereby keeping his slender, youthful figure. Although there was no fried chicken, we did have watermelon for dessert. More southern deliciousness.