Rob and I took my grandmother out to eat today--to Golden Corral, a pig-out buffet, one of the three last places she will agree to (the other two are Wendy's and Chuck-A-Rama). You could say it isn't a favorite of mine; in fact, once in a while I even feel close to tears of despair when I go there packing a serious appetite. I want to like it; really, I do. It's "home cooking", right? And therefore good? I've got a short story in the works right now about such an all-you-can-eat buffet, and thanks to my gram, I have a lot of experience from which to draw.
But today it was almost worth going because after three unsuccessful trips to various food kiosks, I spied a giant plastic bowl filled with ripe strawberries on the fruit bar. Enormous, swooningly red strawberries, so lovely that I would have been happy just to stand there and look at them. Knowing that my impulse was contrary to buffet culture, I brought a few back to the table on my plate next to several scoops of assorted dreary brown stuff. When Rob remarked with surprise about my berries, I tried to describe to him how gorgeous they were piled up that way by the dozens, but I got choked up and tears filled my eyes. "Just . . . so . . . beautiful!" Maybe it was the gratitude of the gastromically destitute that I experienced. It's bad enough I can't eat any grains at present--I'm the potato queen and generally content with my title--but sometimes so many restrictions get to me. When I eat out and pay good money for something different, for a break, for a treat, I want it to be an actual pleasure, you know? Discounting that, maybe it's sleep deprivation and/or hormones at work. I've been emotional all day. Maybe it was just that exquisite blood red of the strawberries. What a color! My favorite! After my first berry run I made another, and this time nearly filled my plate. I would have eaten them all. Death by strawberries. I went after them like the 12 and under crowd goes for the gooey orange mac & cheese (also a nice color, but nothing to weep with rapture about).
I have an original recipe to share that's quick and tasty, and weird diet-friendly. I made it yesterday and Rob and I ate it with lots of different raw vegie sticks: celery ("Nature's broom"), turnip, red bell pepper, cucumber. Spoons and fingers are also good dipped in.
1 15-ounce can of organic black beans, juice and all
3 decent spoonfuls of Adam's Natural Peanut Butter (no other kind will do, sorry)
all the fresh garlic you can take
a drizzle of olive oil
a good dousing of lemon juice
a scant teaspoon salt
several springs of fresh cilantro
Blenderize all of these ingredients, then throw in a couple spoonfuls of flax meal if you want to thicken the mixture up at all, or if you just love flax (like I do). Make sticks of vegies, cheese, bread, and what-have-you to dunk into the beans and enjoy with a friend.
Your breath will now be strong enough to bring tears to the eyes of the uninitiated, but don't worry about them. If this concoction makes you cry, it will only be for joy.