Valuable Food

Vegetables.
You should eat them.

There, world saved (yet again) by your favorite pastry-based blogger. Cocktails anyone? Just kidding. These cocktails are all for me. Don’t look at me like that. As if you’ve never seen someone put a crazy straw in a bottle of Hendrick’s before. Hmph.

This is kind of a touchy subject for me because in the Library of Alexandria-size archives of Things I Hate, the Food Police is right on up there with genocide and drop waists after 1937 except for Hubert Givenchy.

I hate moralizing about food inasmuch as when you eat “good” foods and/or deprive yourself you are “being good” and when you eat “bad” foods you’re “being bad.” There’s no such thing as BAD food. There’s Valuable Food and food that’s not as valuable. If you get good nutritional stuff out of it, it’s valuable. See? World fixed twice in one day and I haven’t even put my bra on yet.

Part of the whole Not Treating Yourself Like Crap master plan is giving your body what it needs and your body needs Valuable Food because malnutrition –much like the Wu Tang Clan– ain’t nothin’ to, uh, have intimate genital-based relations with.

It so easy, SO easy as big girls to ignore the whole concept of malnutrition because look at us, we’re not exactly wasting away, but let me tell you something gang I was malnourished for almost a decade and it sucked.

I actually didn’t KNOW I was malnourished, I was taking in vitamins and minerals and although not everything that passed through my ruby lips could be whole-heartedly considered Good For Me (and that goes for food, too) I was doing pretty well at getting near that five a day, and that’s not even counting Bloody Marys.

I was taking in vitamins and minerals, but for some at-that-point-undetected reason, I wasn’t absorbing them. I didn’t feel especially sick or lethargic, and except for that one time when I was 26 and ate nothing but Halloween Candy for an entire weekend, I’m pretty sure I’ve never given myself scurvy.

I’m young and strong and have a hearty constitution so I didn’t realize my insides were going to pot, but when I started actually absorbing all the valuable stuff that was passing through my immaculately-appointed gullet, it was like a whole new ball game.

I’m still not where the docs want me to be on a few things –I have to take rx vitamin D, I heartily suggest everyone getting their D levels checked– but the difference is huge. Thus, I experienced first hand the importance of Valuable Food.

What gets me is this idea that to get good nutrition, it has to be grim and joyless. It’s not virtuous unless it’s miserable. What sort of screwed up Calvinist crazy talk is that (Just kidding Presbyterians! I heart you! Institutio Christianae Religionis 1536 por vida, my predestined homies!)?

I don’t care about virtue when it comes to food, I care about making sure my body has all the power it needs to be the All Singing All Dancing Miss Plumcake Ass Kicking Revue. I also care whether it tastes good, because if I don’t like it, I’m not going to do it and Brussels sprouts with bacon on it (broiled into delicious, delicious crispness) have a one-zillion percent chance of actually making it into my stomach while steamed penitential Sprouts of Grimness will absolutely not.

Just like your closet, you can supplement all you want with cheap and cheerful throwaway pieces, but at the core, your wardrobe (digestive or otherwise) should consist of good, strong, quality pieces that you love more than a boyfriend. Put what you want in addition to that in your body or on your hangers, but don’t neglect those core pieces.

And put bacon on it. It tastes better.

20 Responses to “Valuable Food”

  1. Phyllis May 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Mmm, bacon.

  2. txbunny May 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Amen sister Amen.

  3. Sharon May 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    I agree. Food is not about morals.
    However, steamed Brussels sprouts with a butter/lemon/mustard sauce are delicious – really :-)

  4. ChaChaheels May 27, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    It’s surprising how often that pesky link between serious malnutrition and “obesity” comes up. It would be so good if the (almost ubiquitous phenomenon) were noticed by people other than those affected by it, but hey, you can’t have it all.

    Personally, once you start learning to cook (usually motivated by tasting amazing foods that are prepared by people who do know how to cook) good nutrition becomes delicious to the point of obscenity (so take that, ascetics). As far as cooking brussels sprouts, collards, and all those other greens–if you’re not cooking them with bacon, you’re not making them right, and that’s just wasteful.

  5. class factotum May 27, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    s far as cooking brussels sprouts, collards, and all those other greens–if you’re not cooking them with bacon, you’re not making them right, and that’s just wasteful.

    I didn’t realize there was any other way to cook veg. But I have to admit I have been shocked to find that there are people who DISCARD THEIR BACON GREASE instead of saving it in a jar in the fridge. Bacon grease even makes a nice smoky substitute for butter on toast and it spreads a lot easier when it’s cold.

  6. Jezebella May 27, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    As usual, I dissent: it is entirely possible to make delicious vegetable dishes without the addition of hunks of dead animal.

  7. lizb May 27, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Definitely put bacon on it! Or butter, or olive oil, or the fatty substance of your choice: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20040727/fat-helps-vegetables-go-down
    http://nourishedkitchen.com/butter-your-vegetables-the-role-of-fruits-vegetables-dietary-fat-in-health/
    http://www.positivearticles.com/Article/Dont-Lose-the-Fat-Why-Some-Diet-Gurus-May-Have-Steered-You-Wrong/6653

    Plus this way they are way tastier, and food should taste good (whose pr slogan am I ripping off? I can’t remember) as well as fuel you well.

  8. La Petite Acadienne May 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Mmm….dead animal.

    The idea of bacon grease on toast DOES leave me a little queasy, however.

    And I agree with Plummy that a lot of us bigger (or even average-sized) girls never think about whether they might be malnourished, simply because they do not LOOK like the stereotypical image of a malnourished individual.

    So yes, it’s v. important for all of us, big, small and in between, to ensure that we are giving our bodies the basic fuel that it needs, and then supplementing with the yummy treats.

    Oh, and the key to making 99% of veggies taste good? Roasting, with olive oil and some sea salt. Roasted asparagus is a pure delight.

  9. Miss Plumcake May 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    @Jezebella: What about self-righteous smugness? Can you make delicious vegetable dishes without self-righteous smugness?

  10. Liz May 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    You’re right.

    I think this message gets poisoned by the Body and Food Police. There seems to be an idea that the only reason to eat well and exercise is to become and/or remain slim. A lot of fat people seem to associate advice to eat good foods with being berated to take up less space, and they miss out on some great advice.

  11. Cat May 28, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Word. For years I thought I hated vegetables. When I was a kid, my parents had to force me to eat them. Many a night I would sit at the dinner table until bedtime, as I was not allowed to get up until I’d eaten my veggies, and there was no way I was gonna eat that crap. For breakfast the next morning, I’d be served the veggies I didn’t eat the night before.

    When I was 17 and decided to become a vegetarian, my diet consisted almost entirely of starches. I subsisted on little but grilled cheese and baked potatoes for a couple of years. Then one day I discovered that I didn’t actually hate vegetables. I just hated the way my mom prepared them. She’d buy frozen veggies and boil them into tasteless mush. I actually LOVE fresh vegetables. And now that I regularly eat delicious, fresh, well-prepared veggies almost every day, I feel so much better all around. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

  12. Kimks May 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Veggies= yummieness, but they have to be prepared well. My husband always swore he hated green beans, mostly because his mom would boil them to high heaven- when I flash steamed them and added a bit of garlic butter, he changed his tune. Eating right at any size is key- figuring out that quality calories are the core of a good diet is sometimes hard…

    Also- laughed so hard my bourbon almost sloshed out of my nose and glass at the following.
    “What gets me is this idea that to get good nutrition, it has to be grim and joyless. It’s not virtuous unless it’s miserable. What sort of screwed up Calvinist crazy talk is that (Just kidding Presbyterians! I heart you! Institutio Christianae Religionis 1536 por vida, my predestined homies!)?”

    My husband is an ordained Presbyterian minister…this sentiment may explain his Mother’s cooking…

  13. mel May 29, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I totally agree with the gal who said olive oil and sea salt. And for me a little squeeze of lemon juice goes a long way as well. This works beautifully on asparagus, spinach, swiss chard, green beans… just about anything green. The older I get the more I notice my eating habits changing. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still kill everyone in the room for a perfect cheese burger, but now I find myself craving something green and crisp and bright.

  14. Astra May 30, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    The reason we all think we hate veggies is because of the nasty way they’ve been stored and prepared for us all these years. And then you make your first trip to Italy or France and realize that there is a whole wonderful veggie universe out there that tastes good when it’s fresh and yes, prepared with some added fat. (Those of us who came of age in the 1980s have to work to unlearn the low-fat programming.)

    I grow some of my own veggies but mostly I rely on farmer’s markets.

  15. Jezebella May 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I don’t know, I found the comments about bacon and the impossibility of vegetarian vegetables rather smug and offensive. YMMV.

    I was merely stating the obvious. I’ll never understand why omnivores get their panties in a twist whenever I call meat “dead animal.” It’s just the facts, ma’am.

  16. Jezebella May 31, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Like, for example, this: “I didn’t realize there was any other way to cook veg.”

    Really? *I’m* smug and self-righteous? oookay.

  17. wildflower May 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Calling meat “dead animal” may indeed be a fact, but it carries more meaning than its actual words do.

    Part of the beauty of the English language is that we have a word for almost anything. If you look at an English bit of writing side by side with its foreign translations (for example, on product labels that are exported all over the world), you’ll notice that the English version is almost always the shortest. For example, we have “sheep” instead of “cotton goat” (which is what it’s called in Chinese). We have “jalapeno” instead of “little spicy pepper”.

    “Meat” is the word that we use for “part of a dead animal that is intended to be consumed by another animal”. “Meat” is concise, descriptive, and conveys all the meaning you need in four letters. It’s the most obvious word choice for speakers of English.

    If you bend over backwards to choose other words, then your motives show. Like calling fetuses “unborn babies” or like referring to President Obama by all three of his names or calling fish “sea kittens”.

  18. Ananas June 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    About vitamins: one size does not fit all. Sometimes a different brand (with a different filler or different source of the vitamin) will absorb better for you. I, after I became a Delicate Fainting Flower (also known as that one time I got anemic in college), found that I don’t absorb iron well from most vitamins and had to end up taking the super special liquid iron supplement that tasted like flowers and blood, rather then the pills.

    Also, Plumcake, I found the comment about Presbyterians pretty darn funny, esp. as my uber-Calvinist father is a huge fan of cooking elaborate, beautifully plated culinary delights.

  19. JeninCanada June 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post and am wondering why I haven’t been reading your blog, Twistie! Thanks for commenting on mine.

  20. Twistie June 5, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    I love your blog, JeninCanada, so I’m happy to comment!

    I cannot, however, take credit for this post, as it was written my by esteemed colleague, Plumcake. She is awesome, isn’t she?