I like to eat things. Lots of things all the time. And when food is your hobby and your work it can be hard to maintain any sort of diet. But I need a diet. Because I hate exercise.
Here's something I'd like to eat.
SPAM is either contemporary and trendy or only for those who don't know any better - or are possibly destitute. Roy Choi and David Chang have admitted to enjoying SPAM. And yet in my banal North American life serving SPAM produces some controversy. Some people will try it, some wont. Considering it's on the shelf at every supermarket, gas station, or convenience store it is both incredibly mundane and contentious at once. Which makes it possibly the most interesting thing to serve at a dinner party.
Would you come to my SPAM party?
*The image above is SPAM in the hole, with a side of SPAM and potato hash. It's a recipe I wrote for Seriouseats that was never published. It was delicious.
For the past year I've done a bit of travel, developed and written recipes, and made some products I'm really proud of at Taza Chocolate. And although the past few years living in and around Boston have been wonderful for me, meeting many new friends, achieving many of my career goals, and finally adopting the dog I've been talking about for years, I'm feeling restless. The question of what to do now is on my mind more often than not.
Working with food has been my passion, and I've been lucky enough to work for and with many great people and companies. And while I still love food, and want to stay in the industry I've been in my whole career I'm not sure where to go next.
It seems like the future of food lies more in agriculture and sourcing ingredients than it does with working with those ingredients. What we eat and where it comes from, and looking to new and alternative sources of food that have not been embraced by the average consumer.
My first food passion was offal. I love using ingredients that are unusual, but ordinary at the same time. Discovering Fergus Henderson in my undergraduate days made me feel empowered to use those ingredients with a sense of enthusiasm but also with a sense of pride. I felt proud that I could coax a delicious supper out of a trotter, but also because I was using an ingredient that many others shied away from. I wasn't scared.
After almost 5 years of writing about cooking offal and other off cuts, I may not be scared but the enthusiasm has started to wane. And that bums me out.
What I'm looking for is something that takes the enthusiasm and passion I have for unusual, yet ordinary foods and takes it somewhere different. Ideally somewhere that can make a positive contribution to how we eat, and what we eat.
This weekend I got myself down to two starters, and made some pretty successful bread. I make my sourdough bread by mixing my starter with salt and flour until I get something that resembles a bread dough, I don't measure or weigh anything. True bakers out there will wringing their hands at that admission, but after I've spent a day lovingly feeding the little yeasties I just can't manage to break out my scale.
Thanks to a coworker I have started doing a double rise, which helped volumes.
Not measuring seems to have worked fairly well for this bread, and I have some dough made with the other starter sitting on the counter. I'm hoping that it will work just as well for a skillet focaccia tonight with some shrimp and salad for supper.
Recently I have been experimenting with making my own peameal bacon. Been getting some positive results with that as well. Hoping my bacon will take me places. Places with plenty of mustard and kaiser rolls.
For the last few months we've been eating primarily CSA's (fish and meat) and while we're doing the CSF again and sharing it with friends, I think I'm going to take a break from the meat CSA. The meat is phenomenal, and the cuts have been decent. Although I've had enough pork chops for the next little while. But between the meat piling up in my freezer, and writing my new Sunday Supper column I never get to experiment with new recipes. Or frankly just cook what I want to eat that night.
I'm excited to get back into the veg CSA this summer though. Especially with this whole weekday daytime vegan thing I've been into.
A month later, and I'm having some issues with upholding my vegan during the day standards. This week was my American birthday, so I was taken to my favorite oyster bar for lunch, that's one day down. And both the day before and after I was recipe writing for SeriousEats - and it's very hard to write a good recipe without tasting what you're cooking.
Basically, I'm not sure how I can really keep doing this in a strict way and do any/all of my jobs with any degree of competency.
I'm going to keep trying and see how it works out.
I'm still really liking eating vegan during the day, but I'm eating the same things over and over. And when I'm not being a vegan in the evening I go a little nuts with the non-veganness and end up eating really unhealthy food.
I'm going to try and get better this week.
This is week 3 of my vegan during the weekdays experiment, I've got to say it's going very well. I've gotten used to the constant hunger, and the eating everything I can get my hands on (outside of meat, dairy, refined sugar and flour) which means mostly vegetables.
I'm feeling really good. And I'm cooking things that I normally wouldn't. This week I ate quite a few veg/tofu temaki (handrolls) and really loved them. Although making them with brown rice is a little challenging, but worth the effort. Avocado is making a regular appearance in my fridge for the first time in a long while. Lots of spinach. And tofu. I really, really like tofu. The time I spent in Japan taught me to approach tofu as an ingredient, not merely a meat substitute. It's delicious.
Outside of the temaki I ate cold peanut sesame noodles twice this week, and I think I'm really getting that dish down. I've been using whole wheat spaghetti, tofu, cucumbers, red peppers and cooked and drained spinach. The dressing is a tablespoon of natural peanut butter mixed with some soy sauce, hoisin, sriracha, toasted sesame oil and a pinch of salt with some water to loosed the whole thing up.
It's amazing just how good I feel, and how in the evenings when I eat meat, dairy and white flour I find myself eating a lot more vegetables too. The ingredient that I've been really focusing on is the white flour - really good crusty bread has been all I want.
I'll finalize the cold peanut sesame noodle recipe next week and post it.