I love good food. I love good food so much that I put good food on good food.
The array dazzles me dizzy.
How does one sauce up a plate when sugar, gluten, and soy are off the table. Well, here is what’s shaken on my kitchen shelf.
1) Salt: Not just salt. Infused salt. Plain white salt is for prison cafeteria, I am overwhelmed by the amount intriguing and delicious salt variations I come across. I will only touch on one. It is a celtic sea salt imbued with dried mushroom.
When I use it tiny crystal pyramids dissolve slowly on the tongue, flooding my brain with slow release umami mania. Any food I put it on trespasses deep into personally unknown realms of flavor country.
Salt, push its limits. Shake it liberally.
2) Hot Sauce: I worry about the additives packaged food, so I use hot sauce.
Options galore, with ingredients lists that satisfy even the most scrupulous clean eater. Burn Baby Burn (Disco Inferno!) Brand is currently bring the Hell to my plate.
Proceeds go to support the Black Panther Party’s philanthropic efforts. Groovy
3) Sprouted Stuff: What makes a salad great, crunchy bits. No wonder old stale chunks of bread (croutons) accompany greens in the poshest of restaurants.
Nuts to your croutons! Nuts instead of croutons for that matter. A jar some sort of nut or seed is usually on my table. Being a nutrition nerd, I often go the extra mile and sprout and dehydrate them as well. This is great fun and rather easy.
Still, we are busy folks. For care free Cruching just put a jar pumpkin seeds/almonds/cashews on the table
4) Mustard: Wonderful for the same reason as hot sauce. The ingredients are friendly (quite healthy in fact) and the varieties seem to be endless.
5) Pepper: Flavor bomb. No explanation necessary.
Five fun finishers for you healthful palate. Heap em’ on with out a care.
When it comes to spice the Thai do not play nice. Each meal I ate was the spiciest meal I has ever eaten. For examples, my last day in Thailand I ate the spiciest meal I have ever eaten.
Pat Krapao Moo Sap (spicy pork and basil salad.) prepared by this women.
By bite three face was beet red, bite five my lips went numb, ten bites in and my nose was running like a Niagara Falls on a rainy day.
I cried. I am not afraid to admit it.
Thailand, your climate is hot. Why the desire to eat pure (though often delicious) fire?
Simple answer, spoilage.
As an animal attempting to eat ancestrally, I consume a good deal of other animals. I make a respectful effort to ensure that is kept fresh and chilly, not wasted. In the tropics heat and humidity make this endeavour more challenging.
Hence the spice.
Chillie, curries, peppers, they all boast impressive antimicrobial properties that protect eaters from rapidly fermenting flesh.
Thus, the more my mouth melts the less food born baddies with burn up my belly. Good news to me as my travellers diet is comprised of 90% street cart food.
Central America, Central Africa, India, and of course Thailand, they all have long histories of hot dishes.
the arguement could be made that modern refrigeration has undone a lot of the need for such spicy measures.
But I’m sitting at my new favorite BBQ stand, watching a chef cut papaya and crack crabs in to a mixing bowl. O, I be grateful for chillie powder.
Helpful Thai phrases:
Lek lek pec kap khon kap = just a little spicy thank you
and for the daring,
Mak mak pec kap khon kap = spice it up
Found an epically haphazard gym in Cambodia’s capital apptly named King Kong fitness. It has been a while since I encounter barbells; the work out was a grueling one.
That night I was up till 4 am celebrating a birthday with some friends and had the good sense to end the evening with a late night plate of deep fried pork ribs.
Got up at 8 am the next morning and, after three cups of strong coffee, decided a little crossfit exercise would be just fine.
Well, by 6 pm guess was sick with a fever. Yup, my throat felt like I had swollowed an inner tube coated in chilli sauce. 12 hours sleep later I woke up still feeling like crap.
Valuable lesson learned. When I push my body to hard my immune system plummets. Thank the Buddha I am at a friends house and not some cheap and mold ridden backpackers hostel. I can even cook my own food. Just got to hop down the block to the Cambodian super market.
Soup is a cold gold standard. I’ll just head on down to the market and get some super foods
Mint, basil, chicken, banana blossom, and blood tofu. A chicken soup for the Cambodian soul. Everyone herd of the healing power of herbs so I will skip to the two odder ingredients.
A Banana blossom is the giant purple flower at the center of a banana tree. Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, it is a tried and true nourishment. It can even treat excessive menstrual bleeding, which is thankfully not one of my symptoms.
Blood tofu, tofu’s black metal soy free cousin. Basically congealed pig or chicken, texture and flavor wise it is very similar to tofu. When it comes to mineral content though, it leaves soy in the dust. I am pretty much eating pure protein dense iron.
Well that was yesterday’s lunch and today I am on the mend. Good news because at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning I gots a 12 hour bus Bangkok.
On Cambodia’s only road. Oi.
My throat thanks the kind soul who invented these.
As I sit here, enjoying my drum
stick on a stick, I am not all that surprised as to why these Thai seem so much more healthful and at ease then my American countrymen. Don’t get me wrong, processed food are prolificprolific here, 7-11’s abound and soda is as cheap as water but.
They eat organs every day.
Unless you want to sit down for a full meal, the cheap eater has two common street options.
1) fruit on sticks (banana, papaya, pineapple, pear, a bunch I can not even name
2) meat on sticks (sausage, liver, squid, gizzardsgizzards, pork belly, fish, etc.)
I go to great extents to respect the animals I eat, so eating the less desirables parts appeals to me. Organ meat, offal, the nasty bits, call it what you want. I see it as a tragic forgotten cornerstone of the human diet. I am not alone.
Anadote Time. I did the workout at CrossfitBK yesterday. I was jet lagged and aclimating to a Bangkok climate 1/2 sauna and 1/2 traffic jam.
“What the Hell am I thinking” was all I could tell myself.
Killed it and got the best time of the day. That kettle bell might as well have been full of feathers for how fas it was flying.
That does not happen to me in California, but California I do not eat chicken liver/heart/gizzard for lunch. I do not drink fresh coconuts for breakfast or flag down carts rattling down the alley piled high with roasted sweet potatoes and bananas. In California my post work out meals are not intestine and cuddled blood soup topped with fermented cabbage (did I mention I am not the least bit sore today).
I do eat organ meats ocationally, but that just changed. I am no longer going to be afraid of that lonely pastured pig pancreus, cold and shunned in butcher cooler. They are a quite a lot cheaper than tenderloin anyway.
It is the powders and the supplements that strike me as strange now. Liver pate is my new forte.
No guts, no glory… HA literally.
So I know all are fridges brimming with whole fresh foods we painstakingly sourced from local farms, right?
In a perfect America maybe, but regardless of what is in your fridge lets keep fresh and far from death.
I read this infograph, I learned quite a bit. Hope you do to.
Click thepic to travel to the large version.
Recently, a tinkerist/herbalist/chemist/chef/friend has begun to play with gelatin. Her creations are pure alchemy, delicious alchemy.
Gelatin = A translucent, colorless, flavorless, solid substance, derived from the collagen obtained from various animal by-products (joints, marrow, connective tissue).
As a vegan, low quality gelatin had been the bain of my existence, barring me from the treats of youth.
As a whole foods omnivore not much has changed.
How I do miss a good marshmallow.
Child don’t you dare mock me.
Gelatin has re-entered my life and diet these day. It is sneaking into my stocks, broths, curries, and moles with each beautiful bone-in cut of beast.
Gelatin can improve digestion, naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track. Something I, well, struggle with.
The specific amino acids proteins in gelatin (glycine and proline) are the type needed to build muscle, repair tissue, and lessen inflammation. Recovery jelly; what I need after an intimate encounter with one of these.
So Florentina Craft, a sweet tooth can be medicinal huh?
Into the dark coco they go.
S’more to come yall.
When I find myself holding a food or foodish type item, wondering “Is this thing heathful… or just edible?,” I mentally refer to this map courtesy of Summer Tomato.
I don’t agree with everything Summer Tomato recommends. I think food logs increase food anxiety in a ratio disproportionate with there helpfulness. I have tried calorie tracking, when you are eating whole food with out labels it is a headache. I am not going invest in a kitchen scale just yet. When eating foods without posted calories, calories appear to become less important (provided one is not washing down there macadamia nuts with almond butter or lard thrice per week).
I do like this mental map. With it in mind it is easy to navigate to a snack fit for human consumption.