And now, for something completely different

The new drugs I’m on kill my appetite.

Kill.  I have no sense of fullness until– boom– I’m suddenly nauseous– and if I eat something too sweet, it gets my gag on something fierce.

There’s a post I’ve been working on– badly– forever, it seems, about food and control and issues of fatness and thinness and all of that jive.  It’s not getting too far.  Suffice it to say I’m not hungry.  I feel that as a loss, not just because I get no signal betwixt my brain and my stomach.

Cooking’s creative for me– meditative for me– relaxation, alone-time, a sensory, sensual process for someone who lives in her head and spends much time talking and thinking.  To be instead tasting and feeling and smelling and feeding– it’s hard to encompass all the reward that can bring.

And yet– I’m not hungry.  And I don’t know I’m not hungry, except when my head is all buzzy and I’m feeling confused.  I don’t think about food, dream of menus to cook, peruse cookbooks in pursuit of large dinners to cook for family and friends in expressions of love, because saying such things aloud?

Not genteel.  Not genteel at all, don’t you know.

And in the meantime, my poor husband’s eating peanut butter and jelly, I’m nearly passing out at my job, and I’m losing even more weight than I ought, all because I’m not hungry nor thinking about food.  (To the tune of thirty pounds since I started my bookstore job, all in all.  Yeah.  I really don’t need to lose any more weight.  Not the kind of thing most people complain about, and yet, still…)

I’m not yet back to dreaming up menus.  Nor am I up to the spontaneous creation of meals.  But I can dogear my food magazines and bring them to the market and do my shopping that way– and then I can cook them and take photos– and I can share them with you, at least virtually.

The following things– my, they were tasty.

Slow-Braised Halibut with Shaved Fennel and Asparagus Salad from April’s Bon Appetit– served with Louis Jadot’s Macon-Villages.  Lovely, piquant, different, the fish was rich without being heavy, and the salad, while kind of a pain in the butt with the shaving and peeling (next time, I am just putting the whole clump of asparagus spears butt-down on the mandoline and slicing them into little rounds, be damned with the elegant strips, since I’d already used the thing to shave all the fennel) was really lovely and fresh.  The salad alone is well worth the repeat, maybe on its own as an entree with some hard-boiled eggs, some sliced radishes, that kind of thing.  But the fish, and the buttery crumbs.  It was delicious.  The recipe wasn’t clear what to do with the asparagus tips, so I tossed them in with the fish to roast.  They were a bit al dente, but I like them a little bit crunchy, so it was all good.

Five-Spice Ground Pork with Chinese Egg Noodles from (these are all the most recent) Fine Cooking, served with Coppola Black-Label Claret (2007)– I would increase the amount of red pepper and have more lime wedges at table as a personal preference.  I might also serve it with beer instead of red wine.  (Also, peanut alert.  This would be equally awesome with cashews.)

Rice Noodles with Chicken and Cilantro from Fine Cooking (subbed for Shrimp), served with Il Prosecco.  I would serve red hot sauce as a condiment to add at the table, along with some soy sauce, for extra wet-tening/salt-ening purposes.  I might also up the ginger and jalapeno quotient by half again, but I’ve become quite the fan of hotter foods in the last year or two.  Note that I made this with already-cooked chicken, and so skipped some of the steps in the recipe about cooking the shrimp– I just cubed the grilled chicken and added it right at the end to warm through with the sauce before adding the noodles and sauce to blend all the flavors.

Creamy Braised Onions and Garlic with Spaghetti from Fine Cooking– the sausage was an add-in for more protein, and I used onions instead of leeks, and creme fraiche instead of heavy cream because that’s what I had.  I used vermouth as my staple white wine.

I can’t tell you how NOM this last one was with the creme fraiche and the long-simmered onions.  It was kind of like french onion soup, except better.  It really was comfort food, and while not gluten free (something I need to keep better watch of, except calories are something I’m more concerned about at this point, quite frankly), it was really delicious.

So.  Happy cooking.  May your magazines be dogeared as you float through the aisles at the market, and may your husbands and wives and significant doggies and kitties and hamsters look at you funny and say “Why don’t you just make out a list?” and you can just look at them over your glasses and say “Shut up, at least I am cooking,” and damnit, you will eat very well.

Especially the one with the fish and the one with the creme fraiche.  Not that I have any favorites.  I LOVE ALL MY CHILDREN.


3 thoughts on “And now, for something completely different

  1. alejna

    Oh, I’m sorry about the appetite. That sounds no fun. As someone who really loves food, I can see how that would be really unsettling.

    But thank you for the recipes and the photos. I have no problem with appetite, and now my stomach is growling. Yummm….
    .-= alejna´s last blog ..The March Just Posts =-.


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