One of the ways I lost more than 40 pounds over the last few years is sticking to a pretty regulated eating schedule: breakfast (sometime around 8 AM), lunch (sometime around Noon), afternoon snack (sometime around 4PM) and dinner (sometime around 7-9PM). And that’s IT! No other munching or snacking or eating unconsciously.
I know from experience that even two weeks of travel does not disrupt the works. But this summer has been different. For going on six weeks we’ve been hitting the roads and skies and rails with a trip to New York City, a trip to Montana and a trip to Montreal. There is no freaking way to keep a meal schedule tight when you have to attend timed exhibitions, weddings and parties, and a batch of music concerts.
So, I was worried when I stepped on the scale this morning.
I had gained only one pound.
Even better news is that I am having no trouble falling back into my routine with the clock. Doesn’t feel like a struggle or unsatisfactory. But I’m not going to make one of my old mistakes and decide I can throw things on autopilot. Must. Consciously. Stick. With. The. Plan.
An innate quality of being brainwashed is that you don’t know you are. I gave up sodas in my mid-20s because my taste buds had developed enough I could sense how much they were mere liquid candy. But I remained convinced that 100% fruit juice was healthful and drank it every day when I was thirsty until about four years ago. I seriously needed to lose weight and a nutritionist clued me in that a key way to do that was stop drinking the juice-based equivalent of sodas.
Fruit juice is a scam. Been reported more and more often, but can’t be emphasized enough.
I’ve mentioned how much we enjoy cooking on our Big Green Egg and what we put on it. (Trust me — do a search.) But out of sheer laziness and mindlessness, I’d bought into the sometimes-floated-around notion that Eggs more or less manage themselves so long as you scrape the small amounts of ash out of the bottom. Yeah, sure.
Esp. this past winter I noticed the Egg was taking much longer than usual to get up to full cooking temp, would not go higher than 350 degrees (which was enough for almost everything, anyway). So I resolved that when it got warm this year I would take out all the leftover wood-chunks in the bottom and see what was up.
What was up was that The Blob had gone and died in the bottom of our Egg — if The Blob was made of a gunky mix of grease and ash. Incredibly hard to remove. Then I ran across several sites that had the same (not easy but effective) routine for thorough cleaning. It does take two days but I’m here to say it works well and I’m a-gonna do it annually. My only concern is that the first time we use it after this, stuff might taste weird.
(I know — what is this guy doing? turning into Bourdain?) The finest Italian food I have ever tasted in Cambridge is now at Sulmona Restaurant .
D had porchetta presented as a steak, with lovely roasted vegetables and the creamiest polenta imaginable. The Traditional Lamb Skewers were neither fatty nor dry and I believe US stock — you get six of them and it’s a fine deal. (They are pictured on the “About Us” page — that yummy roasted lemon!) Last week I had a fine Tricolori salad at another new joint, but the one at Sulmona made it look chintzy and clumsy: proper small chunks of Gorgonzola (not mere crumbles) and a very fresh mix of greens and onions (how do they get veggies like this at this time of year?). Knowledgeable, utterly sensitive staff. Even the booth seats were delightful. Sulmona is gonna be mobbed, but you have to squeeze in somehow. The area has needed exactly this for a long time.
Since David moved back to Boston, I most regularly encountered him at the Farmers’ Market (a classy one) that happened about a block from his place. We ran into each other once, maybe twice, a season ( he was able to come earlier than I was). But it would always be a highlight of all my visits because David would aesthetically evaluate the displays, the offerings, the sellers, the crowd, and whatever art he had seen recently, with an emphasis on plugs for what was out there. David was by far the finest part of the harvest those days, never to happen again.
Sad to say, the best part of the catfish meal was serving a good cause. The fish itself, cooked NOLA style by D, an ace chef in all styles and every time, was an utter bust: tanky, muddy flavor and squish texture. Once again, I think canny catfish have outsmarted humans by being unpalatable.
I love native Striped Bass from around here, but I feel a tinge of guilt eating it because its season is purposely short as hell to make sure some hang around. Tonight, however, D is cooking up invasive Blue Catfish from Chesapeake Bay. Good to eat ’em back for all the good things they snarf up themselves. Here’s the scoop on the situation.