Introducing the Impatient Cook: Food as an Easy-Yum Meditation
One of the joys of mid-life is getting clear on what you’re sick of — and then getting rid of it.
I used to be chained to the psychic energy and self-battering of the “shoulds” of cooking — sifting through recipes, creating menus of main dishes each night, all balanced with sides and salads. Game over, thanks!
Are you with me on this? If so, consider a new, light-as-a-feather mindset around food.
Principle one: Reduce food to its simplest and most whole, then dress it up as little as possible.
Principle two: Cooking of any kind must be easy, fast and involving no more than a few ingredients.
Principle three: Expand your thinking so that every food can be eaten in multiple ways over multiple days.
Let’s start small: Rethinking Corn on the Cob
Corn makes everything a party, doesn't it? But in the last few years, it’s gotten a bad rap, accused of being a carb-sugar-laden no-no. Look: Happily false!
Also happily false? The notion that corn belongs only at barbecues and big dinners, puckered and soaked in butter. Imagine, instead, corn as one of your skinny, new best friends, an ideal snack whenever you want something hot, sweet, crunchy, low-calorie and super filling. (After making this for the photo, I was forced to eat two ears for breakfast.)
So here we go:
Step One: Make it
Use one of two little-used cooking methods to make corn a regular part of your life:
Microwave — Quick Snack/Breakfast/Lunch Side
1. Take a cob of corn. No need to husk. Just run it under your faucet for a few seconds so that the vapor helps cook it. Bought it already husked? Wrap it in a wet paper towel.
2. Toss in the microwave for two minutes.
3. Look: It’s perfect!
Oven — For the Family or For the Week
1. Throw five or six ears of corn — again, no need to husk, but no need to run under water this time — on a cookie sheet and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes to cook through.
2. Look: Also perfect!
Step Two: Eat it like this
Don’t just shove it down your gullet while looking at your phone. Instead, pay attention. Forget butter and try eating it in its natural state. Savor its sweet, earthy taste. On your second cob, pour a nickel size of olive oil in your hand, just enough to coat the corn so that a little grated parmesan and pepper sticks to it, or curry powder or cumin and lime.
Step Three: Make it last like this
If you're needing portion-control for yourself, use the microwave method of cooking one cob at a time. Otherwise, start thinking in terms of opportunity costs, meaning that if you’ve already got the oven on and are directing your energy towards making corn, why not make enough to yummify a bunch of meals later? Eat an ear now and throw the rest into a ziplock to use for a few days. You can reheat and eat whole or cut kernels into scrambles, roasted veggies, soups and salads all week.
Finally, join me in my new corn mindset: you can eat it all by itself, any time of day or night, because it’s one of the best, healthiest snacks ever.
I’m waiting breathlessly for your meditations, reports and photos.
Next Up: When Tragedy Strikes Your Community
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