Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Trying to make bland food tasty is quite tricky. Actually, sometimes it's easy, but then it's also quite painful. And that means that the recipe needs to be either revised or thrown out.

Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals (Hardcover)Last night I made Bacon-Wrapped Orange Roughy, a take off of a Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution recipe with cod. Orange Roughy was the only fish I had on hand, although I discovered yesterday that Orange Roughy is not a sustainable fish and was farmed in China. This instantly made the fish unappealing. But I hate to waste food, so I prepared the fish anyway. 
I chopped fresh and dried rosemary on a cutting board, added olive oil, a little bit of black pepper, and salt. I rubbed the rosemary and oil on the fish and then wrapped it in bacon slices. The original recipe also calls for lemon juice, but that's sadly off limits. So I baked the fish for about 17 minutes and then ate it. It tasted quite good, but anything wrapped in bacon tastes good. Afterward, however, my stomach felt queasy and upset, and I knew that this recipe needed to change. It might simply have been that this fish was frozen and past its prime, or knowing that it wasn't good to eat made it too unappetizing, or there was too much bacon.

The Food of ItalyThe night before, I made an attempt at Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes. I've been making Rosemary Potatoes for years. The original recipe comes from the cookbook The Food of Italy, but I usually add more rosemary than it calls for and sprinkle Garlic Pepper on it. Sadly, we're out of Garlic Pepper and I'm pretty sure (now that I've tasted it) that the rosemary I used was old and bad. Once again I was trying not to waste food, but the aftertaste was almost metallic. I baked the chicken with some rosemary, olive oil, salt, and little black pepper. I had my dad taste it, and his immediate response was, "It's not too bad, it's just bland."

This is probably the hardest part. Getting past bland food is just difficult for me. Three years ago I decided to go an extreme diet where I only consumed 1,00 calories a day. I realized that one way models stay so skinny is that they simply forget what really good food tastes like. Kate Moss (who many designers believe is a huge model icon, although I'm not a fan) has said that nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels. I think that with that mentality, you miss out on so many great dishes and experiences.

I could see this as a chance to lose weight, but after launching a blog that pursues flavor first and foremost, that's impossible at this point. I love taste too much. But there's a fine line with this stomach condition, and riding that line either gives me pain or leaves me unsatisfied. It's frustrating and disheartening, but eating this way is worth not being in serious pain.

I've tried searching for gastritis cookbooks, but there aren't any. I guess it's not that much of a problem, and people in my predicament are left with little to work with beyond the basic guidelines from their doctors. Working within limitations can yield surprising results, but it's discouraging when the dishes you try leave you with a bland taste in your mouth but a content stomach or a great taste and an unhappy stomach.

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