Thursday, April 25, 2019

P is for...


as per my cultural norm, I'm not really choosing to get into the religious aspects of the holiday, more at the tradition, and passing it on, in my way.  I thought I'd put together a Seder plate (because we do actually own one, though it looks like something that belongs in a Hebrew school kindergarten class), and what I think of as a Seder:  the preparation & planning, the ritual story, the meal, the day to day of the actual 'holiday', & the switch back to 'regular' foods.  I'm on the prep & plan stage at the moment, but I'm going to do an abridged ritual, and 'my kind' of meal:  matzah balls & soup, soup nuts (couldn't find any), gefilte fish (we skipped it because he won't eat it, and I didn't need a whole jar just for me), salad, chicken skewers, roasted veggies, some kind of chocolaty dessert, and baglach.  I have my great-grandma's baglach, and my Sapta's (grandmother's) matzah ball recipes.  gonna marinate the chicken, and make tzadziki for dipping - which is mixing dairy and meat, and breaking the number one rule in kosher food practice...but I suppose I could think of something else before the meal needs to take place.

see?  doesn't this look like the kiddie version of a Seder plate?  one day I'll get a real grown-up one.

so the prep/plan wasn't really all that much, to be honest, because in my head, I see my mother beginning her preparations two weeks out, as we used to switch out the whole kitchen for a entirely different set of dishes/cookware/utensils, and have 40 people at the table, which is A LOT of work!  since in my house, it's just the two of us (the teen and I), and I had no intentions (no ability, really) to go 'full on' the way my mom did, we just pulled everything we would need from the cabinets - a pitcher for hand washing, the Seder plate, the recipes, my trusty Haggadah (that had to be stolen from my family's coffers of Passover items several years ago, because I am not allowed access to my ancestral heirlooms), candles and holders, kiddish cups for the wine.  as far as the meal/foods, I needed a horseradish root, fresh parsley, matzah meal, matzah, a cucumber for the tzadziki, a bottle of Manishevitz (the Kosher wine I grew up with), a shank bone, some soup nuts, and some kind of dessert, which simply required me to make a list, and go to the store.  easy.

I had leftover chicken soup in the freezer from the week before (technically Not kosher for Passover, but I work within my parameters) which I thawed; and made matzah balls in some of my veggie scrap soup so they were both delicious AND nutritious!  made a salad, marinated the chicken before skewering it and broiling in the oven, made the tzadziki (I couldn't come up with anything else.  I would normally do a satay/peanut sauce but peanuts are not kosher for Passover, and I didn't have sunflower/almond/cashew butter with which to substitute...I also considered making a pseudo-pesto, since I Did have parsley and walnuts and could substitute nutritional yeast for parmesan, But...also Not kosher for Passover, so unkosher yogurt dip for the chicken it was).  I even found my once-beloved chocolate 'lollycones' (and a few other dark chocolate/coconut delights) for dessert, and got the teen the horrible 'fruit slices' which are pure sugar, that I won't eat, but he enjoys.

'baglach' - which I like to call 'the dinner rolls of affliction', even though they taste like good memories to me.

so - with everything cooking, cooked, prepared, the table set and us as ready as we would ever be to 'do this thing', we began.  we did not do a 'chametz hunt' the night before, because I didn't even bother to remove all the bread and 'leavened' food items from my house, mostly because we'd be needing it after the two nights of Seders I planned on conducting, and there's simply no way I'm prepared to do the full week of the holiday the way my family did when I was a kid, carrying matzah sandwiches to school in my Star Wars lunchbox (there's a story I wrote about it once, maybe I'll post it here eventually).  we went through the Haggadah pretty quickly, skipping over the more verbose and less relevant parts, stopping for the prayers, to sing the songs, and enact the rituals.  then we ate our delicious foods, finished the Seder, had dessert, and sang some more!  as always, we made it fun.

matzah balls!  yum...

in the midst of preparing for all this good Jewishness, I suddenly remembered that my father died right before Passover, and that this year was the 20th anniversary of that sad occasion.  in our tradition, when a person dies, we sit 'shiva', which is a mourning practice where we all come together at the home of the bereaved, and say prayers for and remember the deceased over the course of 7 days.  since my pops died right before a major holiday, this ritual is not observed, which I found very...'like' my dad, as he wasn't fond of sitting shiva in general, and would have laughed at the idea of the rest of us doing so for him.  but we didn't have to, and that seemed fitting.  his death kind of ruined the holiday for me for awhile, as it was always one of my favorites, and for years I couldn't sit through a Seder without becoming seriously emotional.  I think it was just about 5 years ago that I re-engaged with it, when my son decided he wanted a Bar Mitzvah, and started attending Hebrew school.  so - here we are.  full circle.  I truly enjoyed the Passover Seder we made together as a family - just the two of us, as we are.  it felt good and right, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year!

the only thing I couldn't find in the stores for my table were these 'soup nuts' or 'mandlen' that I LOVED as a kid - sometimes eating a whole box of them for a snack!  ah, year I'll just order them online in advance.  ; )

I found I needed some guidance in remembering what was Kosher for Passover, and what wasn't.  this is the resource I used for help:

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

O is for...


I have one brief memory of being in a health food co-op way far in my childhood, that my mom was thinking about joining or something, but sensing her seething hatred of the woman behind the counter, I knew it wouldn't happen.  so I knew there was such a thing as 'healthier food', but not what it was or how to access it, and that it smelled weird.  I discovered the local health food store in that brief period between my going away to college, and moving out on my own - it was a few towns over, as were the other cool stores and the reason I was shopping there to begin with, while visiting a friend who lived nearby.  I think I went in there because my mother's dog had bitten me, and I was on antibiotics, and looking to get...something, I can't remember, and came out with yogurt, acidophilus pills, and an American version of a falafel.  

random internet image of a 1970's food co-op - I think this one was in Belfast.

I don't remember paying too much attention to local organics unless I was around other hippies who did - certainly not through my shoestring traveling days that were punctuated by Ramen noodle meals and rice and vegetable feasts after visits to the food bank, and celebratory pizza delivery when there was ready money to spend, and an address.  it must have been when I got to Vermont, really, that the choice to pay more attention to the quality of my food took hold.  there was that guy who lived across the hall from me who was following a macrobiotic diet, and wanted rides into town to visit the tiny little Montpelier co-op that quickly grew into the local grocery store, where I ended up shopping for years, worked at several times, and got spoiled on the fresh local produce and quality ingredients at fair prices.  also, I settled down more; I still moved around, but Vermont is a small community, and I started getting things like dishes, and proper pots and pans in place of my camping gear.

when I got pregnant, I didn't have access to a lot of things, like good healthy food on a regular basis (though I took care of myself the best I could), and even after the baby was born, it took me awhile to get it together with cooking and eating better than I had been.  there are things I insist on buying organic, or bio-degradable, or in bulk to save on packaging waste - I prefer non-GMO products, and non-high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, palm oil, soy anything, now.  glyphosates, endocrine disruptors, whatever unholy concoction of chemical compounds can be sprayed on our life giving foods these days, there's so much to avoid!  so growing things to eat has also been an ongoing goal in my life - to get closer and closer to my food sources, and pay attention to my relationship with the planet in that specific a way.  I can't always afford the luxury of that dream these days, but as always, I do the best I can.  when I am able, I will do more, and figure out a way to share the abundance I create.

how much do you think about your food and body care sources?  is it of major or minor concern to you?  why do you think that is?

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

N is for...


I've posted plenty of times about my weight and food issues, but this week it's on my mind again in a big way, as my 'doctor' suggested I begin what's called a 'very low calorie diet', which is to say she wants me eating no more than 850 calories a day.  did you just think, "only 850 calories a day?!"?  if you did, you would be among the group of Every Single Person I mentioned this to, including my 15 year old, who said they learned in 7th grade health class that anything under 1000 was Not recommended, as you'd be depriving your body of the necessary nutrients to function properly.  I spoke with two other health professionals this week (I don't usually spend that much time around health professionals, it was just that kind of week) who were both shocked to hear I had been given what they considered Very Bad advice, and suggested I not only Don't stick to the plan, but that I find a new doctor.

here's what I'm going to do, though...I'm Not going to fire her. I'm going to explain to her that I struggled with anorexia a way long time ago, and that her choice of 'treatment' for my 'obesity' has been extremely triggering and problematic. I'm going to tell her that everyone else I talked to thinks her choice is misguided. I'm still eating under 1000 calories a day, and for sure I'm probably losing some weight, but I don't like where my head is at. frankly, I'm also concerned about having loose and hanging skin if I lose a lot of weight too quickly, after having been so fat for so long. I've been doing what I can in terms of strength training (not much, really) to rebuild some of the muscle I've lost over the years as a way to counteract that, but my back and my knees are having a bit of a hard time with it. yoga has been helping me get moving in a gentle way, and I have definitely regained some flexibility and balance (though flexibility was never my problem). my blood sugar hasn't seemed to change much, but I'm still over 200 lbs., so...we'll see. in any case, I'm going to give my doctor the chance to hear my concerns, and see how she chooses to move forward. she's young. she deserves a chance to hear open and honest feedback, and work with it accordingly.

time passing...

well, I went to the doctor today, only to find that I've been starving and depriving myself for two weeks now, against the better judgement of everyone including my own kid, and while I lost 9 pounds last week, I didn't lose Any weight this week, even though I'm running at a 3500 calorie deficit (approx. 850 calories in, 4500 calories out).  now I have to wonder how much damage listening to my stupid doctor has done to my metabolism, and how I'm going to fix it.  she didn't even seem to care - even tried to take my list of questions and complaints out of my hand while I was reading them to her!  looking at my food journal, she asked, "is this all you've been eating?"  like, YES...that's what you said to do!  then she said 'thanks for trying' and walked out of the room!  now I just want to eat everything in the house, but I also never want to eat again, since 'anorexia brain' took over (thanks a lot, doc), and I am ONCE AGAIN out to sea, without a life raft, and I just want to cry and scream, and give up.  I'm so angry and upset - just when I thought I was doing so much better with taking proper care of myself...I'm So Hungry right now, and I don't even want to deal with eating.  in fact, it's 4pm, and I haven't eaten today at all!  because that's so good for me, right?!  ugh.  I feel totally lost and alone in this.  I don't even know why I bother.

blah blah link

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

M is for...

Marvelous Martha!

anyone who grew up in the 70's and watched an American tv show called Sesame Street will recognize this one!  for some reason, my mom used to say it all the time, ostensibly because My name starts with an M, and she would substitute my name for Martha's so I was the one who was marvelous...though it's been quite some time since she held that sentiment for me, or anything I've done, or do.

while looking for a link to the Sesame Street video on youtube, I came across this shocking little ditty of the same title, by a band called The Accused, featuring a sample of the Sesame Street version before slamming into a death-metal frenzy that Blogger must consider abhorrent as it won't even pull it up for me to share with you - but I'm sharing the link, in case any of you are into that (or the freedom to make your own decisions, regardless of what your blog site decides for you).  😉

check out all the other M's here!