Love what is.
I have long labored under the fantastical misconception that, notwithstanding the 500 articles to the contrary, I could Make it Big with this blog if I kept at it. One day, someone would stumble upon my rapier-sharp wit, my delicious turn of phrase, my uncommon modesty, etc., and (with a decorous smack to the forehead) say “Eureka! I have found the next_________ (author, editor, columnist, XM host).” In April I wrote every single day, based on some vague combination of Puritanism and motivational sales propaganda, thinking that maybe, just maybe, that would bring in the millions of readers and the big bucks. Not so much.
If you were here before May 9th (at which time Forest Street Kitchen disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle) you may recall that I wrote about food. Cooking food, eating food, reading about food, and generally immersing myself in everything from bad food TV to fantastic recipe discoveries. I cooked and ate with gay abandon, as did my family, throwing in lots of fruits and vegetables, but scoffing (in writing) at the suggestion that people might be healthier if they consumed less, and were more careful about what they consumed. I baked (beautiful, white) bread every day, I went on a cupcake jag, I planned my two annual carrot cake bonanzas…
…and then my husband Rob, who had been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes several years ago and been controlled fairly well with oral medications blew an astonishingly, terrifyingly high blood sugar reading in preparation for fairly routine eye surgery. This is not going to turn into the Our Sad Story Blog (although it would have ample and stiff competition) so the essential news is that the doctor said “insulin,” I said “give me a month,” and everything changed. No more carrot cake, beautiful, crusty loaves of white bread fresh from the oven, or outrageously flavored and decorated cupcakes. No more bowls of pasta, no more curries on a bed of Basmati.
I studied diabetic diets and recipes, and we now eat very few carbs, none of which involve refined anything. I eat what Rob eats, because it’s easier that way, but we do have some Reese’s Puffs, Pop-Tarts and fresh strawberries in the house for the Perfectly Healthy Kid. We walk 2.5-3 miles six days a week. At the end of the “one month” Rob’s blood sugar was perfectly normal, and our doctor was overjoyed and impressed. [And I could not be prouder that this man who used to be able to eat a bag of potato chips without blinking is now a willing and eager participant in improving his health, from monitoring his carb consumption on his own to getting enthused about his daily walk/run].
That’s the good news, and it is very good, indeed. The bad news is that this was not like passing a drug test by getting a friend to give us a bottle of clean urine. (Not that I have any first-hand knowledge of that; I just watch a lot of TV). This is a life change, and although we can make exceptions and have a bowl of carbonara or Pad Thai, mostly we can’t. That’s changed the way I cook, the way I buy groceries, and has necessitated a melancholy pruning of my recipe files – I don’t really need 500 recipes for pasta dishes anymore, and I’m probably never going to make the coconut cake with lemon curd between the layers. We feel better, and we look better, and it’s a damned good thing that I can cook, because otherwise we would be doomed to nightly plates of plain meat, steamed vegetables and salad.
I noticed, looking around the interworld, that many sites devoted to diabetes or diabetic recipes proposed the preparation of food that I would not eat if it was the only food on earth. If you know the rules, you can make all kinds of interesting things with low carb content, that are spicy, interesting, and prevent that feeling that one is dietetically “damned for all time.” I am breathing the life back into Forest Street Kitchen, but it will be different – I hope the recipes will still be good enough for those of you who are on unrestricted diets, and that if you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or just concerned about healthy eating, that you will find things here that you can use to make your life better in the kitchen and at the table.
Things change, and we can either fight them or work with them. I never thought that we would have to choose between a piece of ripe fruit and a slice of whole grain bread, but it beats the hell out of staring down the barrel of diabetic complications in order to assert our right to eat whatever we choose.
And Now, for Something Completely Different…..