Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On hobbies and addiction

After my promise last time, I've spent the past couple weeks thinking about what to post on. Sure, I've cooked. I've continued with my clean eating habits, meaning that my meals (especially those I pack for work) have consisted of grains. Wheatberries with greek salad toppings. Quinoa - topped with julienned root vegetables and herbs, with a bright lemony dressing (a la My New Roots again)

which became this:

Someday perhaps I will really commit to this and get a real camera.

I also made a few soba noodle salads, again with julienne vegetables. For some reason I love the look of these types of noodle/grain dishes, with the different coloured vegetables all organized into neat little sections (perhaps I'm just showing off my knife skills to our chef, hoping to get a back of house job - She did ask me "did you cut that by hand" "yes" "do you want a job?" !!!!). I used Heidi (as usual) for inspiration, but my dressing was recipe-free: some miso, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and homemade roasted chili oil. Last week I was craving dumplings so I thought "dumplings from scratch! So much better" - and I made this dumpling filling...then never got around to the dough, so I just ate it straight up the other day. Topped with scallions, garlic chili sauce, sesame oil and a touch of soy. Delicious!

So, I cooked. And I spent a lot of my free time discovering new food blogs (shocking!) A particular favourite right now is Damaris @
Kitchen Corners

I swear this is all bringing me to a point. Hopefully. The other day I read this post from Food blogga and had to laugh, while also feeling better that there are others out there like me! People who buy way too much produce and then spend their free hours trying to "deal with it". I was reminded of this today when my friend Stephen invited me over for dinner, and I had to say - "sorry I have to eat the leftover Indian food I slaved over last night." Oh! And "I have to actually make homemade naan to go with it this time! Also, I should probably make some kind of wrap with that naan to use some of the black beans I cooked the other day...maybe with some carmelized onions and sauteed kale???
And how about I make some quinoa so I can try this salad for lunch on my Friday double??" (Yes I read through all 31 salads). "I did buy too many avocadoes and too many grape tomatoes for one person yesterday!"

And thus a post topic was born.

Ok. My name is Sarah and I'm an addict. A food addict.

That sounds a little wrong. Sure I have my issues with food. But I don't have a food addiction necessarily, where I use food for the wrong reasons and have a compulsion to eat. My hobby has just become all consuming. Well, really it has been this way for awhile - perhaps since studying Food Politics for my Masters. But back then, I loved cooking, yet I saw food more as a forum and a universal theme for social change. I certainly still believe that to be the case, yet my daily life revolves around what new recipes I want to research and try, what ingredients and techniques have I not yet explored, and what is in my fridge that needs to be used. In some ways I have lost touch with the change I used to want to create. In some ways, perhaps, my hands are in it deeper than ever. I am inspired by something I recently read from Umami Girl

"I love the way it feels to live a daily life full of small, edible victories"

[I could expound on this greatly, to make this post even more lengthy - I'll keep it at this: the basic point of my thesis was that in order to create true lasting
changes, it is important to build viable alternatives, while also opposing the dominant systems. To me, this alternative building is the essence of Umami girl's quote. As Gandhi said "we must build the shell of the new inside of the shell of the old."]

One thing all this food blog reading does is inspire and motivate me. How much would I love to be one of these women, who have made their food obsessions into income-generating careers. However, it also reminds me of my graduate thesis, and the doubts I had about continuing to a phd - what is the point, of writing MORE articles to sit in a library (or an online database now) that .00001% of the population will ever read, and may or most likely will not have any impact on the world. Navel gazing? What is the point of me writing this blog?? For now, I'll say the point is for myself, to keep a record of things I have cooked, in one place, instead of multiple recipe journals scattered around.

At the same time, I admire these women who have turned their food "obsessions" (passions???) into viable careers. I mentioned this to my friend Dan the other day:

"Hey Dan, I've been reading a lot (read - perhaps even more than usual) of food blogs lately. I wonder if there's any way I can turn my hobby/love (read - obsession) for food into something financially rewarding""
Dan: "Oh REALLY?!?! I've only been telling you this for HOW LONG?!!!! Make a business plan for fucks sake already!!!"

Oh ya, this is what I made last night:

Bhindi Masala with Paneer and Gobi Mutter. With mint, cucumber, cilantro raita.
And the naan bread balls are on their second proof.

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