Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defending the lentil

(look, look - lovely, lovely lentils)


Diet is a horrible word. It sort of conjures up images of desperate, chocolate deprived women busy calculating the calorific content of a baked bean. I hate the word, and the thought of depriving myself of anything sends me on a raid of the fridge that would outdo the SAS.

However, I do have to stick to a diet. It requires that no meat shall pass my lips or dreadful things will start to happen in my gut. War breaks out, there is pain and suffering for days on end and this has simply been eliminated by the removal of dead flesh from my eating habits.

In a house that is divided by 'eyed' and 'eyeless' food I am a reluctant vegetarian, and one who often loiters over the frying pan when a piece of bacon is sizzling. Having said that, I do believe that not only is a mostly vegetarian diet better for you ( I am the right weight for my height, if there is such a thing) but that it makes you more creative in the kitchen.
It is very easy to throw a slab of meat on the plate and tuck it in with vegetables and a plop of gravy. Meat is convenience food, mostly pre-packaged and pre-ordained to become just like the one in the recipe book. I think society has become obsessed with fast food for our fast lives and we have forgotten the art of cooking from scratch.

To be vegetarian you must have a diet that is varied and balanced. I often think that humans survived this far because we can eat everything and I believe that a little meat in the diet is good for you - moderation with all things. Don't get me wrong, I am not adverse to a nut roast or the odd bit of quorn, but I am not a bleeding heart bean eater.



And lentils? I bloody hate them!

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Other newsy things....

Shameless has posted a new communal writing project and please pop over to Wordcarving to see John's interpretation of the true story of Charles Tombe, his 'wife' and a rather good meaty meal. The plastic bag theme continues......


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30 comments:

gregra&gar said...

Obviously, you haven't found the proper recipe for lentils. Food is the subject of most conversations I have with my cells and often shuck any plans I may have for a meal in deference to their more direct dealings with results of our diet should they object or show preference otherwise.

Minx said...

I think it is the concept of the poor lentil that puts me off, G&G. Lentil burgers or lentil stew seem like food boring enough to stop the pulse.

(wanders off laughing at own pun...)

Debi said...

But dahling - have you never enjoyed a yummy spicy dahl?

Verilion said...

You need to try red lentils, easy to cook and you can shove all sorts of tasty goodness into it. And look at this, you have shocked the person who cooks everything in five minutes to respond about lentils!

Minx said...

No, Debi, I don't like dahl because it is made from LENTILS! Like thick curried water - yerk.

You can shove what you like into them, V, as long as you're the one eating them!

Give me a nice dollop of sweet potato on a bed of rocket, top it off with roasted peppers, courgette, aubergine, sun dried tomatoes and a good goats cheese with fresh basil and you're talking my language.
What are you having for supper|?

john.g. said...

Diet........Did....I.....Eat....That.

Roberta said...

I don't believe I have ever eaten lentils. They sound a bit dreary.

Now split peas or pinto beans and I'll eat my weight...

Husband is on the road tonight. I'm having a thick juicy ribeye steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and a crisp salad.

I gotta have meat. Just gotta.

Jan said...

I eat less meat as I get older but when I do, I enjoy it.I like steal very much with crispy chips.
( That sounds like a 6yr old writing in its diary at school!)

Minx said...

You might have, John G, depends what diet you bean on I suppose.

'Fingerling' that sounds nice, Roberta, please explain?

I like to steal food as well, Jan!

leslie said...

Love the pulse reference, Minx. Hardy har har.
I do like lentils. Most people cook them 'til they're mush. Shouldn't.
But what you're having sounds yummy...should I bring the wine?

Roberta said...

LOL! Not what you would imagine, Minx.

Fingerling potatoes come in a nice variety from purple, red and yellow potatoes the size of fingers. Pour a little olive oil on them, some fresh chopped garlic, salt and pepper and roast them in a 450 degree oven for half an hour. Top with fresh parsley.

Dinner was delicious, btw. I gave the dog the fat.

Minx said...

You can bring wine, Leslie, and welcome. I am drinking Baileys at the moment and supper was lovely but I scoffed the lot. I have a nice piece of cheese and some fab Laos coffee.

They sound lovely, Roberta, I loves potato's but I don't understand the degrees bit. I have a gas oven - it does what it wants (note - must blog about possessed kitchen appliances at some point).

pee ess poor dog, poor arteries.

concerned citizen said...

L>T here
Did i already say this? I thought I'd stuck a comment on this post already..oh well.

I've recently converted to a vegetarian diet but, occasionally, I fall off the wagon & eat a steak or a piece of venison...but I never eat like I used to when I had to cook for my soon to be ex-husband, meat, potatoes, gravey & bread.

Speaking of...I'm still in my same situation because the house isn't selling in this present kaput housing market. It's a big house though so it's not so bad.

I'm amusing myself with local politics & activism...until things change.

If split peas are lentils, I like them fine. Split pea soup with ham hocks & cornbread, yummm!

Roberta said...

OH YEAH! Split pea soup with ham hock and corn bread. My favorite!!!

You must be near my neck of the woods!

Vesper said...

Small aubergines, stuffed with sauteed onion, green peppers, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, and some garlic - in the oven, with tomato sauce...

Grilled mushrooms with cheese...

Mmmmm... you don't need meet, Minx! :-)

Vesper said...

To "meet" you need... obviously I meant "meat"...

red dirt girl said...

well ..... i have nothing intelligent to add to the culinary commentaries stewing about here ... (ha ha ha - laughing at her own wit, maniacally)

as i am on the not eating anything diet of divorce (well, except for sugar - lots of sugar) ... i have now been placed on a protein shake diet and a handful of vitamins (sans sugar - all sugar) by my health care provider. Yes, it does sound dreadful ... i keep finding reasons not to start it today.

i think i hear some oatmeal cookies calling out my name ...

Minx said...

CC - found a couple of my comments have been eaten by the ether lately - glad you came back and I wish you all good luck. I think the housing market is just slumping here as well.
Split peas are peas and taste pea-like - lentils do not!

Roberta, I think Tarty is on the other side of your country (what am I - a map service?) but pea and ham soup translates anywhere.

Merry meet, Vesper! Yummy, sounds good and no, I don't need it. It is nice that being veggie is widely accepted these days and you aren't regarded as some kind of hippy freak.

Try and eat when you can, Red Dirt. I am fully aware that the state of high, or low, emotion can affect our eating habits. Luckily we don't usually starve ourselves on purpose but you do need calorific strength to face such a turmoil.

John said...

Without lentils, we would not have the "grierson."

To "grierson" is to cause rapid evacuation of a room or other confined space by floating a particularly nasty fart or air biscuit. Most commonly, a grierson requires the assistance of a dish of curried lentils for maximal effect. The word is derived from the name of a rotund large-eared red-headed gentleman scholar of an unathletic nature, who claimed to be able to clear the audience of a 300-seat lecture theatre in 10 seconds.

e.g., From the Philadelphia Enquirer, 23rd March 2004: "Mass panic ensued after shouts of 'grierson, grierson' were heard in the darkened room. Firemen with breathing apparatus recovered the bodies of 18 of the deceased several hours later."

Just thought you should know...

Minx said...

Thank you, John, as if I needed reminding of the power packed inside those mean little bastards.
Do you see how they give vegetarians a bad name?

I am interested, however, to know whether having large ears produces a more lethal brand of personal wind. Being a small-eared type and genetically disposed towards brunette, does this mean that I shall only emit a whiff akin to Chanel No5?

John said...

Yes.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I've only been on a diet once; it did wonders for my shape and my health, but I never touch them otherwise or since.

And I quite agree with you Minx, everything in moderation. Everything.

Chocolate is a necessity of life.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Minx said...

I thought so.

Minx said...

Eating is for life, Scarlett. If you eat too much you put on weight - simple.
Society puts too many unreal expectations on what a body should look like. Women are supposed to be curvy - we should just learn to love them.

mutleythedog said...

Oh I give up...

Taffiny said...

those lentils are so pretty.

I like beans, it is just the fear of unlady like consequences that keep me from partaking. (I do think there may be some sort of lentils, in some of the Indian food I eat)

It is not nice to tease those who can't cook, by parading about good things, she wont be eating.

I find that interesting about your stomach Minx, I have had some troubles this year, from Feb. to April, I was eating fruit, eggplant with pasta sauce, avocados, salsa, other veg, some specific Indian dish (forget name at moment), and these spinach feta things, over and over, if I tried to eat other things, I had the most violent pains in my gut. ( I never found the cause). Shockingly, I didn't lose weight, must have been all the avocados.

Yes women should have curves, but sadly mine have no interest in being in my chest.

Minx said...

Don't give up, Muts. If we try hard, together, I am sure we can learn to love the lentil.

Taffiny, I have a weird liver thing called Gilberts Syndrome along with it comes IBS (Itchy Bollocks Syndrome otherwise known as Irate Bowel Syndrome). Without going into gory details I am just better off without trying to digest dead flesh.

Art Durkee said...

Spending my early childhood as I did in a relic of the former British Empire, namely India, I grew up eating lots of rice, and lots of spicy dishes. We ate meat when we coul get it, but it wasn't every day. I do like meat, but I like lighter meals with it; who said eating meat meant always doing a number on your biochemistry? Even steak can be done lightly, if you do it right.

But I really came to say was: a lot of Asian cuisines are based on the principle of "we'll put a little meat into the dish if we have any, but we'll also stretch it out" which means you get mostly rice and veggies in a lot of dishes. Protein from other sources, like tofu.

Tofu, when prepare properly is perfectly marvelous.

The truth is—and this might be an unpopular comment here, but it's the truth of my own experience—there is an ideological, even Puritanical aspect to veg cooking that seems to believe that "if it's good for you it must be tasteless and unpleasant!" One visualizes Calvinists in the kitchen making entirely white and bland food.

In fact, I hate lentils, too: too white, too bland. I've had lentils too many times in the past when they were NOT tasty, to want to go out of my way to try them again. Not even a yummy spicy dahl, sorry.

My basic non-Puritanical viewpoint is that food should be one of the great pleasures in life. There's absolutely no reason that healthy, non-meat food should be boring or bland—except that many seem to think it has to be, and so they market it that way. Maybe that's an American thing—after all, they were thrown out of Europe, and ended up here, where they've messed things up to the present day.

Food should be a damn good hedonistic pleasure in life. Kinda like sex. Or combined with sex. No wait, I'm veering off again.

Anyway, when I cook, whether it be meat or non-meat, you can damn bet it's been well-prepared and is very tasty. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Minx said...

That's exactly it, Art, I think we were designed to eat a little of this and a little of that.
Vegetarian food is widely sold here and most people are well educated in the repulsive additives that lace meaty products.
And I agree, good food can be very sexy and feeds the soul as well. Not sure you could say that about burger and chips but dinner with good friends and good wine is one of life's great pleasures.

trollop23 said...

I suffer from Icky Belly Symptoms as well.
Are you anti-chickpea? Hummous is really good and chock full of protein. Fish is easier on my digestive tract than red meat, but I'm not a fan of the taste. Sometimes I'll wrap a thin fillet around a slice of apple and green onion - it disguises the fish-ness and makes it really tender.
I like the sound of the Vesperian menu too!