Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cooking, health and cognitive therapy for both

For now: This is a quickie "fieldstone" for a general Quality / gumption matter. Food can be very uninspiring if you let it be. And when you eat easy-to-find prepared food products what you see when you look in the mirror can be a real gumption drain too.

A lot of people, many of them guys, grew up without really getting cooking. A lot of non-guys might have, too, I can't speak with authority about that.

There's a Zappa song called The Dangerous Kitchen [lyrics here] which sort of sums up some of the concerns (warning: lyrics are not entirely polite). Frank himself is reported to have generally limited his own cooking to jabbing a fork into a hot dog right out of the 'fridge and then cooking it over a stovetop gas burner until it blackened -- the eponymous Burnt Weenie Sandwich.

Bob Scher wrote a nifty little book (out of print, dammit) called The Fear of Cooking, which I dearly love [short review here].

Comes now further news of a website called Cooking for Engineers -- well, actually, I'd heard about it a while ago.

The point of all that is that a lot of people are developmentally limited when it comes to cooking. And by the time they're adult it can be really easy to either lose gumption entirely or lose zest and just fuel the meat machine mechanically--and either way, wind up eating fast food and high-calorie low-quality foods like peanut butter straight off a spoon.

We can do better than that. I'm living proof. Or I hope to be, soon. :)

The last time I was close to "fightin' weight", I was so broke I managed to be on a sort of caloric restriction. Well, now I've got a high-quality pedometer -- a Yamax DIGI-WALKER SW200, thank you very much, with a precision pendulum movement, not the cheapass $12 clicky-ball P.o.S. from Big 5 -- and I'm deliberately parking at the wrong end of parking lots so I can put in at least one extra mile of walking, every day. But I still have the tendency to procrastinate and loll in bed until I have to rush to work, and then I can't do some of the walking-- no time!

My personal goal is to fill my mornings with morsels: low-glycemic-index, tiny wonderful tasting treats (there is a ginger mango CHEESE out there in the world; can you IMAGINE such a thing?); and use that as leverage to (a) get my ass out of bed with a spring in my step and (b) get me more concerned with the experience of gustatory Quality and less with stuffing my maw until the mass-market container of Food Court / Franchise {x} Bad Food is empty.

There's a wonderful story I want to relate about M. F. K. Fisher (it concerns her father, too), but that will have to wait.

I bet I lose weight and have fun too. Let's see if I'm right.