April 17, 2020
I will never go hungry because I have not cooked for myself.
Back in the day when I was young and during the first 20 years of my marriage, one only went to restaurants for special celebrations as they were scarce and expensive. I cooked. We all cooked. And as my mother grew up in a farm community, gathering food, cooking, and eating were important and fun parts of each day. Frequently, during one meal, the adults would discuss and plan the next one! Food and eating tasks were shared and enjoyed by all members of the family as the men often were the prime food gatherers and instigators of special meals. The men were definitely in charge if outdoor cooking was involved.
OK, I’ll confess. These days I HAVE to cook with my Histamine Intolerance issues. Restaurant food has too many unknown ingredients that could trigger a reaction. Ditto any food someone else cooks for me. And the smells in restaurants don’t work for me either—food particles in the air are a problem. And the smells that reside on other people (personal body products, laundry products, etc.) are serious triggers for me. But I come to this issue well prepared.
And I don’t let this situation hold me back. I just take my own “safe” food with me. And in good weather, I especially like to take a picnic somewhere scenic—or to my own back deck with a good book.
Here are some recent meals I’ve enjoyed. I try to cook for more than one meal at a time, but not too many as “old” food acquires too much histamine and sets me to itching. If I make a big soup or stew, I freeze about half of it. Then, yeah!!, I have a “free” meal to enjoy.
There is nothing for breakfast that I can eat without tempting fate. My breakfast is a big cup of coffee loaded with our local raw heavy cream and a bit of our local honey. By lunch, I am hungry.
Lunch is, most often, a BIG salad with lots of raw veggies and a meat protein. I use herbs, salt, and a drizzle of EVOO olive oil since I cannot do vinegar. The taste of the veggies comes through loud and crunchy and, often, very sweet. I don’t miss the vinegar because once I got away from it, or lemon, my tastes changed. Suddenly I could really taste the vegetables, and they were delicious.
This salad has a bed of mixed lettuce, some diced roasted chicken, a bit of organic cottage cheese (which I seem to be able to eat even though it has a bit of vinegar to make it…cottage cheese), some cooked snow peas and broccoli, and raw red onion, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumbers, some dried dill, sea salt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of EVOO olive oil. My garden is emerging, so soon I’ll have fresh herbs galore.
Look at this pretty beef stew. Some of this one is frozen, and I could eat it for lunch or dinner.
Any stew is easy peasy. Saute the meat (1 1/2 or 2 pounds of stew meat or lamb shanks or short ribs). in some beef tallow or chicken fat until it starts to brown—in a really oven-proof HEAVY pot. Add some liquid, enough to cover the meat, herbs, garlic, onion, and stick it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. Add chunks of potato and carrots for another 30 minutes. If you want chunks of cabbage, add that so it cooks 15 to 20 minutes and call it a day. Make sure you don’t let the liquid run dry. You could add some rice flour or wheat flour if you want a heartier gravy when you add the vegetables. Only 2 tablespoons or so. Those of you who can eat tomato could add them. Or spices you like.
Here’s the start of a stirfry that might get some meat added at the end or might just be a side dish. For fat use, chicken fat, beef tallow, REAL pork lard, or coconut oil. Add salt and spices/herbs you like and cook on fairly high heat. Turn often so the veggies don’t burn. If the pan gets too hot, add a little water and cut it out. That can make the veggies limp though—just so you know. Adding meat cools the pan too and adds enough liquid to stop the overheating. You can use ground meat, thinly sliced raw chicken, or cooked meat. For the cooked meat, you won’t get liquid, so add a little.
Here’s a meatloaf dinner with thawed frozen berries for dessert (with some maple syrup or special honey from DIL Tami).
Here’s how this meatloaf started out:
Two pounds of ground meat (this one was local grass-fed hamburger and lamb), a handful of oats, two duck eggs because I can get duck eggs locally and do better with them, grated carrots and zucchini, some red onion, some grated mozzarella cheese, some herbs, some salt, and a bit of milk to help combine it all. The grated veggies and cheese keep the meatloaf moist.
Here it is ready to cook—with some tomato ketchup drizzled over. I can’t always do the ketchup, but today I could:
Half of this meatloaf is in the freezer. I started to really freeze seriously in case I did get a bad case of the virus. So I will not hurry to eat this saved food quite yet.
My food is simple—and filled with herbs. (Yes, I miss spices.). Because the ingredients are local and fresh and clean, they taste really good. But, I have to say that my food does not need a lot of spices to jazz it up because it has not lost its own “good.”
PS: Look for the upcoming post on roast chicken—it’s the backbone of many meals.