Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Food Commandments

Every person has their own food commandments and rules: foods that must be avoided, the number of sides (if any) that must be made, a cuisine that is adhered to the most, how often dessert is offered, and so on.  Obviously, my own food rules play heavily into this blog.  Some of my rules you might have already noticed or suspected. Or maybe you've just been wondering why I never use a certain ingredient.  If you know me in real life, then you probably are already aware of most of my "rules".  But for those of you who don't know me, here is a list of my food rules and commandments:

1. Bananas are evil and must be avoided.  I really wish I loved bananas. There are so many low-calorie, healthy recipes featuring bananas lately! However, I despise every single thing about bananas: from their putrid smell to their mushy texture.  This isn't your average food dislike; this is utter hatred.  It's rooted deep in my genes; several of my family members experience the same rage towards this awful fruit.  However, I'm aware of bananas' nutritional benefits, so I do try to make banana recipes for my toddler on occasion (but I usually have to get my husband to serve them to her).

2. Artificial Sweeteners taste like crap and are probably giving us all cancer.  Okay, I'm aware that research hasn't completely proven that artificial sweeteners are bad for your health.  Yet I'm convinced that twenty years down the road it will be.  Besides, I despise the taste of fake sugar and it gives me headaches. So I avoid recipes that call for them, even though it would provide more reduced calorie meals.  I'd rather use real sugar or honey, but in moderation.  I also avoid using high fructose corn syrup; I'm an avid food label reader because it is often in foods you wouldn't suspect.  However, every now and then, it'll get past me and into my cupboard. It's sneaky like that.

3. Onions should be sauteed until soft; never served raw and crunchy.  Other than bananas, the only food I dislike is raw onions.  When it's in its crunchy form, it makes me gag.  I literally cannot eat it: I've actually been known to throw it up if accidentally ingested.  It's one of those things that my mom kept saying I would grow out of, but I just never did. I have, however, learned to eat them if they are sauteed until soft.  In fact, I'm kind of fond of them that way!

4. Sandwiches are the best thing ever. Ever!  Seriously, everything tastes better between two slices of bread or wrapped in a tortilla. I wish I could eat all my meals this way! 

5. Mexican food is our go-to cuisine.  I lived in Mexico for two years as a child, and fell in love with the food.  We make more Mexican food than any other type of cuisine in our house. In fact, there was a period where we made it so much, that Kroger actually started sending us our coupons in Spanish!I love making it and I love eating it.  I even love shopping for it! There is a great little store in Athens next to Agua Linda called Los Compadres that sells everything from freshly made chorizo to chili pepper shampoo. If you live in Athens, you should definitely check it out. 

6. Whenever possible, make in bulk.  I like to make big batches of food.  Making dinner every single night is a lot of work; especially when you have a high-needs child that takes up all of your time.  So I try to make dishes big enough to eat on for two nights or more.  I'll then serve it up for several days, or freeze the leftovers to have on hand for a quick thaw-and-reheat dinner later on.  Plus, making big batches of food is almost always cost effective.

7. I rarely follow a recipe exactly.  It's like a compulsion:  I have to change something in every recipe. Often this plays out in the next rule...

8.  If the recipe has garlic as an ingredient, double or triple the amount called for.  Our family loves garlic, so I always increase the amount called for in a recipe. It's just never enough!  I also like to add it in later than called for, so the flavor is stronger.

9. Food and meals should always have contrasts.  I like to pair the sweet with the salty, and spicy with the creamy. If I'm serving a smooth textured main dish, I try to provide a crunchy side dish.  It makes the meal more exciting, and helps you focus on your food--which helps you to eat less and yet savor it more.

10. Meals should always end on a sweet note.  I follow my breakfast with coffee mixed with sweet creamer.  I always have a small piece of chocolate after I eat my lunch.  And dessert is always served after dinner.  I couldn't imagine not having dessert.  It would be like removing the last chapter out of a book, or turning off a movie thirty minutes before the end. Dessert is the conclusion of the meal!  In our house the dessert is rarely elaborate, and it's often small, but it's always served and appreciated.  And sweet. :)

So what are your food rules and commandments?

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