18 April 2006

Food to cry for

Are you a member of the All-You-Can-Eat Society?

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.

Hummus Negras

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.


Jamie said...

you had me at black beans....

it sounds delicious!!! this pregnancy, all sorts of things taste good to me that i have never liked eating before. like carrots dipped in salsa. and celery--plain, stick after stick (i even ate them in sunday school sunday--not very reverent snacks). this dip sounds fabulous, although i might have to cut down the garlic and skip the cucumbers--two things that have been rejected by the tummy lately. shucks.

congratulations on finding the strawberries! my father inlaw is a buffet maniac, too, and usually the salad and fruit bar are my only saviors there!

Geo said...

Hey, that's right--you're the black bean queen, aren't you, James? I bet cumin would be good in this dip (dunk) too. I think it would still be tasty without the garlic, but it wouldn't help you weed out your true friends from the ones who only love you for your Altoids breath.

AzĂșcar said...

We have been in high strawberry heaven at our place for a couple weeks. El Guille can't get enough--breakfast, snacks, part of dinner.

What can I say? I'm raising a fruit bat.

Geo said...

Carina: We happen to be very fond of bats at our house. Rob's even talking about building a bat house. I'd rather have an outdoor sauna, but hey, it's not the only way to scare the neighbors.