It seems lately every time I turn on the TV I see an over forty star with enough Botox pumping up her lips to provide buoyancy for a crew of sailors lost at sea. Either that or their skin is pulled back so tightly it gives the impression they’ve recently stepped out of a centrifuge. Truthfully, there is no way to stop the hands of time from moving in a forward direction. After seeing what happens when plastic surgery turns ugly, I think I’ll let nature have her way with me. Proper exercise, healthy eating (with a little chocolate, and a glass of wine thrown in to keep the balance) and laughter and love are how I’m going to approach the aging process. If a few wrinkles or sags are thrown in for good measure, then so be it, I say.
We have become a nation obsessed with youth. Even men are jumping on the bandwagon. Brows are smoothed, eyelids lifted, and adipose tissue siphoned out of overripe stomachs. Behinds are realigned, tans spray painted on, cheeks enhanced (both north and south), and eyebrows and eyeliner permanently applied. Personally, I’m still holding out for Plan 2. I say we begin old and as we gain wisdom progressively appear younger. I like that scenario. By the time we are imbued with enough intelligence to appreciate our world and be comfortable in our own skins, they’ll fit tightly around our bodies. It may be a write in, but it has my vote.
Last night I was watching a program on the history channel about composers. It struck me how young many were when they died. Mozart, Chopin, Bellini, Schubert, Mendelssohn plus others I’m sure, were all under forty, several just past thirty. People today are living longer and longer, with a proposed age down the road of one hundred and fifty. Now, if I can be vital and moving around without having to be oiled regularly like the Tin Man I’m all for it. Food could become a serious concern if more of us were hanging around longer I would think. Eventually, world watchers are saying, we will turn to insects for sustenance. Many cultures already have. Perhaps my posts will include delicious recipes for earthworm quiche, or la cucaracha linguine. Ewwww. The thought of eating something I would normally squish if I spied it crawling up my leg, I don’t find palatable in any way. Once I did try an offered chocolate covered ant. There was no ant after taste, if you will, but not being an ant gourmand, I might not have recognized if there was.
In many areas of the world foods appear at the table we would not dream of eating in the States. In Cambodia I understand fried tarantulas are quite the delicacy. Tourists travel there specifically to sample the hairy arachnids, served complete with fangs. Yum. What do you serve as a side with tarantula, fried lice (sorry sometimes I can’t help myself)? Not of the insect family, but in Sweden (Viveka will speak to this I bet) they eat surstomminghe, or fermented Baltic herring. It is sold in cans in the markets there. Often once canned, the cans swell as the fermentation process continues on the shelf. In Russia they have a traditional soup called Okroshka. The base of the soup is a carbonated wheat soft drink called “Kvas” which is incorporated with potatoes, cucumbers, milk sausage and eggs. I had a friend from the Philipines when I lived in the Bay Area who told me his family ate Balot. Balot is a fertilized duck egg with a nearly developed embryo inside. The embryo is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. Hungry yet?
Grasshoppers are not uncommon in Japan. Stewed, I believe is the preferred cooking method. It is also the condition I would need to be in to indulge in a meal with grasshoppers as the featured entrée. It must take some effort to corral a group of grasshoppers. From my observation getting just one under control takes the cat some time out in the yard. Grasshoppers not your thing? You could increase your protein intake with some maggoty bee larvae. Yum.
South Africa offers up Mopani worms, actually the are caterpillars. Three times the protein value of beef, they are thankfully served buried in a mixture of onions and tomatoes. I would prefer them simply buried. Scorpions are eaten in some regions of the globe, grubs and larvae common in others. I even found recipes for banana worm bread and chocolate cricket chip cookies. Delish. So, if you’re sitting by the hearth and hear the familiar sound of a cricket rubbing its legs together don’t reach for the fly swatter or newspaper to toss him outside. Grab that mason jar, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, break out the chocolate chips and pour yourself a tall glass of cold milk.
As our population grows, the need for creative food resources will grow with it. Boo the Cat is sitting on the chair behind me as I type this. I’ve noticed her looking over her shoulder uneasily on several occasions. No doubt somebody has put cat in the pot with a couple of carrots out of necessity somewhere down the line. Whoops, Boo has left the building.
On my journey through the odd and mysterious foods currently popular, guinea pigs appeared unexpectedly. Middle class foodies are apparently developing a taste for the endearing little squealers. I’m sorry, but I used to own a guinea pig, Tilly. I also had a hamster, Henrietta by name. Henrietta suffered from an eating disorder, mainly she never stopped. Actually once she became wedged upside down in her Habitrail. We had to break the tube and remove her with pliers to set her free. Very plump, she would have provided a serving for two. This brings to mind the movie “Never Cry Wolf” , one of my favorites. A true story, based on the experiences of Farley Mowat, a government researcher sent to the Canadian tundra area to study effect of wolves in the region on the caribou population. In his efforts to understand the thinking of the wolves, he decided to subsist on their diet, mainly field mice. The wee rodents appeared on his plate cooked in every manner but “Mouse Wellington”. Truly disgusting.
So, I guess we may face a change in our dietary habits somewhere in the future. Most likely I will not be here to document it by the time you’re ready to pull those cricket chip cookies out of the oven. Ah well. Being a vegetarian is always a possibility, although the other day I read somewhere trees scream and plants make sounds when cut. What’s left??
How I began with plastic surgery and ended with barbecued piggy I have no idea but here we are.
Chicken Taco Salad
4 large flour tortillas
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup of olive oil
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 4 oz. can green chiles with juice
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. chunky salsa, drained
1 head of lettuce, shredded
1 16 oz. can pinquitos or pinto beans, drained
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
4 campari tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup ripe olives
2 avocados, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
Squeeze of fresh lime
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Pace Picante Sauce
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp. chunky salsa (med or hot)
1 Tbsp. ranch dressing
1-5 drops of hot sauce depending on heat desired or omit
Whisk together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In large mixing bowl combine cooked chicken, chilies with juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and chunky salsa. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Take large sheet of heavy-duty tin foil and form over the bottom of a bowl. Remove from bowl and shape as desired. Place mold on cookie sheet open side down.
Mix water and oil together in large bowl. Quickly dip one tortilla in oil/water mixture. Allow excess liquid to drain. Fold tortilla over mold. Place in oven and allow to get golden brown, about 6-8 mins. Repeat with other three tortillas. You can make two molds and do these two at a time if desired.
Heat beans in small saucepan over med. heat. Keep warm. Slice avocados and squeeze lime juice over top. Set aside.
Place 1/4 chopped lettuce in the bottom of each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the beans. Follow with 1/2 cup of chicken mixture. Layer on top of chicken as follows in each bowl: cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, and black olives. Garnish with avocado slices. Serve with dressing.