Saturday, May 03, 2008
Dealing with Rocketing Food Prices
As a practical, therapeutic, and spiritual matter, my yoga teacher's admonition to "eat less, eat fresh, and eat clean" makes sense at every level. The practical aspect is especially serendipitous and well timed; eating a predominantly vegetable, fruits, legume, and whole grain diet is the easiest way to deal with the current wave of inflation at supermarkets, in addition to providing optimum nourishment for the body and the soul.
With that in mind, I resolved yesterday that I needed to devote more of myself to cooking, for the best cooking is always labor intensive, but to bend my efforts to the humblest sorts of ingredients. I decided to make lentil soup, and made it like this:
I heated one tablespoon of olive oil in a three-quart saucepan, then filled up a one-cup measuring cup with half a cup of finely diced onion and a quarter cup each of finely diced carrot and celery, and added to them to the hot oil, sauteeing lightly until the onion was transparent. Then I added half a pound of carefully-washed lentils, and a quart, more or less, of chicken broth. Homemade broth is best, of course, but canned stuff will work. And if you've got a little less than a quart you can cut it with water.
Cover that up and let it simmer for half an hour or so. Add a 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes, a teaspoon of sea salt, and a quarter teaspoon each of curry and cumin. Let it simmer for 15 minutes more, and after that it'll be ready when you are.
It tasted fantastic. In fact, I almost couldn't believe that such unremarkable ingredients could be combined to produce something that good. But the physiological effect was even more dramatic.
I don't wish to go into detail concerning the vicissitudes of intestinal negotiation, so I'll just tell you that after an uncomfortable night, during which my 63-year-old body generated enormous (even for me) clouds of gas and experienced major cramping, the morning saw an end result of the kind that people spend thousands of dollars to get at the We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, where they subject themselves to juice fasts for one or two weeks in hopes of leaving the place with immaculate new plumbing and a load off their minds.