Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What's Up?

I am 'off' food, specifically, eating. I still have shimmers of interest in reading and writing about it. However, preparing it/watching it being prepared (on one of my usually beloved T.V shows) and eating it? Not so much.

When I go off my food it is usually symptomatic of something more sinister than simply not being hungry. I use the word sinister because I enjoy drama, not because there is something seriously wrong (maybe). However, I am wondering where my food lust has I said to a friend the other day: 'I feel hunger, yet have no desire to sate it'.


Through the mass media we now all know about emotions and the link they have to food and our 'relationship' with it. You no longer need to be a psychiatrist to say that someone who eats when they are sad is 'filling the emotional void with food' or that someone who starves them self is 'looking for control amidst feelings of chaos'. You just need to pick up a copy of Cosmo. or Marie Claire for that kind of psycho-analysis these days.

I do have a history of controlling 'chaos' via my diet so can definitely identify with that. If you can't fix your life then don't fix yourself some supper - at least you had a say in the latter. It can be comforting. So I guess there must be some kind of power struggle afoot between myself and my seems the latter controls me - more so than me 'it' - at the moment due to University and work. This could go some way to explaining the lack of interest in eating.

I think, for me, it is because I see food as sensual escapism, a transporter. Not 'mere fuel' as I once raged in a blog-gone-by. At this point in my life, however, I need to avoid basking in food's light and instead plonk myself in one of three places: the library, in front of my laptop or the office. It's as if I know food will want to whisk me away somewhere romantic and whimsical but I cannot accept it's offer and so I am residing myself to 'boring' food for sustenance rather than stimulation.

And so I have no recipes to post, except maybe:

200g dried spaghetti
1 x jar of tomato sauce

Boil pasta until al dente. Stir in sauce.


2 slices of bread
2 tsp of butter
1 can of beans

If I need to tell you what to do with these then I'd worry if I were you.

This does not mean that I do not want to 'talk' to you; no, no. I still want to interact with food mentally, it's my 'thing', what makes me tick; hence me still posting despite my apparent hunger strike.

On the topic of food, I am completing a Literature Review on the link between food and sex by checking out what other academics are saying about it. So far? Stuff we are acutely aware of anyway: food is used a metaphor for sexual organs/food is an aphrodisiac /food as 'sin'...I like the last one, makes me think of dark chocolate and ruby wine next to a trance inducing fire. That previous sentence, in a nutshell, is why I am not eating anything that may arouse anything more than an 'urge to study' (sexy, huh?). I ALMOST 'carried' myself to Montpellier to drink wine with something handsome - in my mind, of course. Clearly I need to exercise restraint when it comes to my food/word dynamic, until the end of the Semester anyway.

And so, I am off to complete yet another essay and eat 'something'...roll on summer.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Take me away

A friend and I have been discussing the finer qualities of European living. So much so that I am aching to pack up and head off tomorrow. There is, however, a catch in my romantic notion. Now I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, I am financially bereft at this particular point in my life so indulging such dreams is not something I'm afforded.

And so, food shall rescue me once again, not only as nourishment but my passport to other worlds that are shamefully out of my reach.

Italian food is a common feature in my repertoire in the form of pastas, soups and homemade pizzas and so I am packing up and heading to France.

The best of France? Beef bourguignon, charcuterie, offal...this is somewhat problematic given my dietary persuasion unless (shudder) I consider a meat substitute. I could enjoy a feast of desserts but I want to prepare and eat something that transports me to a quaint, romantic bistro in Provence where I can linger over supper with a glass of wine next to someone special. All accompanied by music of love and torment, by candlelight...

Here's a recipe stolen from Ina Garten's appropriately named 'memory lane' collection of recipes. This recipe transports Ina and her beloved Jeffrey to the streets of Paris following a trip around Europe as poor youngsters rich in love.

Eggplant (aubergine) Gratin

  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (a good vegetarian hard cheese will be fine here)
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels todrain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

This post is your plane ticket and it's on me.