The perils of food fixation

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My family doctor recently informed me that my cholesterol was a bit above the normal. I've never had an issue with that so I was nearly in denial: rather resorting to blaming the incompetence of the lab workers who obviously need to go back to blood-work school. After reluctantly accepting this negative diagnosis that may well affect this somewhat healthy (and somewhat sagging) body I resolved to cut down on my intake of certain "treats".   Treats: One man's dessert is another man's death sentence, I'd say. I dislike milk, so ice cream seemed a perfect substitute, right? Nope. Ice cream is out. I like to think chocolate is a gift from the gods. Don't we all need a little chunk of that dark, creamy richness each and every day? Ok, a couple a week: that’s the best I can do for now.   During the week, I aim to eat as healthy as possible. You know the drill: Yogurt and dried or fresh fruit for breakfast, steamed soybeans or almonds for snack, rainbow on my dinner plate...But when the weekend rolls around it’s time for a semi-splurge and breakfast is my target of opportunity.   Lots of restaurants offer a plethora of unhealthy choices and one of my favorites is a national chain where I can order a dozen different fat-laden, sugar-coated items if I so choose. And I do. Not only do I munch down on bacon (soft - or I'll send it back) and eggs (with cheese please), I add on a waffle with extra butter (and hot syrup) and maybe even a side of hash browns (with onions, jalapenos and cheese). And lets not forget the details: A steaming cup of Joe with chocolate sauce and whipped topping (I bring my own...just in case).   I later regret this egregious lapse in common sense (which remarkably resembles gluttony). And this past Saturday it took me till 3 p.m. to get over my latest gastronomical adventure. Usually I reserve enough common sense to ingest one gargantuan meal such as that but this time I went to far.   I decided to experience Kimchi on the same day.   Being a lover of foods from around the globe, I shared with an Asian friend my desire to try authentic Kimchi. To my surprise, a week later her husband dropped off a sample of their homemade version of the traditional Korean side dish made with white radish and Napa cabbage. That was so sweet and thoughtful of them!   I've heard all the warnings about Kimchi such as don't open the container in the company of friends - unless they are willing participants in the feast; your body will permeate the unique fragrance for days after ingesting, etc. But being one to never turn down something new, I had to taste. It was great - until I swallowed. Fish sauce, which is a principal ingredient (Vietnam’s signature condiment), tends to become, ah, more pronounced as you chew. Whew -weeeee!!!!   I'm ok. The dish is fabulous. I'll just have to get used to the pungent, ocean-kissed perfume of lignified fish. I'm also grateful I didn't have to hang out with friends that evening.   Now it's my turn. But what could equal such a byzantine delicacy? I'll return their thoughtful gesture with a libation equal only in its definition of health an antibiotic free, hormone free, package of homegrown venison. Unique, yes but I'm afraid it can't compete in the unique flavor category!

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