Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Food to the Rescue


In general, I think about food a lot. From what complicated recipe do I want to try this weekend, to what food and health trends would make good topics for a magazine article. All this thinking about food, and of course cooking it, tends to provide plenty of material for this blog.

In the past, I've had backlogs of recipes to post, but not now. Some reasons for that are summer travel and recipe development work for magazines that can't yet be shared with the world. But, one of the biggest reasons for the lack of blog material is that I've been really busy thinking about non-food related things lately. With presidential campaign mania and Wall Street insanity, how could I not be fretting about other things?

I've taken to spending my web-surfing time reading the New York Times - but the Politics and Opinion sections, rather than Dining & Wine. What the heck?! I've even been spending less times reading food blogs, and seeing all the numbers of unread posts on my feed reader going up each day makes me feel like I'll never catch up.

So, today I thought of a small, but possibly useful exercise to get food back on the brain. Here are the main things that have been consuming me lately and a corresponding food-related solution:

1) The national financial crisis - Cash is king so save money with budget-friendly meals like Smoky Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Black-Eyed Pea Stew.

2) Splenda might be the antichrist (if a Sugar Association-funded study is to be believed) - Seriously, although actually food-related, this is not what I needed to see in the Times today. I love Splenda. Luuuuve it. It's not so hot for baking, but I've been dumping it in coffee, tea and oatmeal for years now. It can't be evil. But I am slightly more motivated to check out some of those supposedly more natural sweeteners I've heard about recently, like Sweet Leaf.

3) The Mediterranean diet is becoming obsolete in the Mediterranean - And according to the Times article, kids in Greece are eating mac n' cheese for dinner instead of grilled veggies and whole grain bread dripping with olive oil. Save one of the world's healthiest diets by serving Whole Wheat Spagetti with Swiss Chard, Red Onion and Pine Nuts.

4) Not doing enough blog care-taking - namely about keeping my recipe index up to date. It's so easy to do but I'm behind. You remember the recipe search feature, right? You can plug in a key work and/or search by course. Mike built it for me, and it's awesome! Solution: by the time you read this, it will be totally up to the minute!

4) And finally, The Big One - Who will win the smackdown on November 4 (you're registered, right?)? Will the next president fix health care, the economy and the housing market? Will moose replace turkey as the game meat of choice for a cherished American holiday? To remedy these fears, I won't wait till the holiday to support the Thanksgiving bird. I can make Turkey Lasagna with Eggplant and Spinach (seen above) or my Favorite Smoky Turkey Chili. And I'll be sure to enjoy them with a nice cold Sam Adams, one of favorite domestic beers, to dull my senses to the constant election media coverage.

So, are any other foodies out there finding it hard to focus lately? Has CNN replaced the food network as your must-see TV? And, like me, do you often turn to old favorites instead of trying new recipes when life gets crazy?

14 comments:

abby said...

um . . . yes to everything!!! this is the longest campaign ever and i've been way too busy otherwise to cook anything substantial. thanks for the suggestions and information. i plan on mining your site more to find additional inspiration.

Julie said...

Too true! I too am spending way more time on the opinion page than on the food page lately. The finance meltdown and presidential politics have made for dramatic reading. Hard to tear myself away.

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels said...

Clever, thoughtful, and very relatable post. I'm either in front of the set watching the market and election news or it's humming along in the background seeping into my semi-consciousness. I don't remember when I've had the food channel on lately.
...however, it doesn't keep out of the kitchen. In fact, it's the only comfort I have these days!

Gail said...

Julie, try agave instead of splenda as a sweetner. It tastes a bit like maple syrup and it doesn't spike your blood sugar (it's recommended for diabetics). I love it in coffee and oatmeal.

Christie's Corner said...

I'm with Abby on the longest campaign ever -- and I'm Canadian. I admit, I've shut off a lot of the news because I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Fortunately, where I live experiences seasonal changes, so I'm focusing on autumn harvest dishes. My biggest issue now is keeping up with the vegetables.

Dana said...

I cover business and financial news for a living -- in Washington. Hence, my life has been in-frickin-sane lately. But let me tell you, even now, food is a wonderful diversion to remind you of the good things in life.

Mark Scarbrough said...

For once in my life, I'm thankful that I have a partner who doesn't obsess about politics the way I do. Frankly, I've got a frickin' cookbook manuscript due--and I'm out on all the political blogs, not even the food blogs! But then I come to the table and my partner's got dinner on the ready. For once, thank goodness for someone who's a little detached from the obsessions swirling around me

Anna said...

One nice thing about having a blog almost solely devoted to cookies is it makes it a little easier to focus.....but I'm still having a hard time. Not sure if it's the economy, upcoming election or changing of seasons, but I feel out of sorts too.

On the other hand, I'm really enjoying Twitter. It took me a long time to sign on, but it's really helping me keep on top of issues (and recipes).

sally kerr-dineen said...

Hi Julie...

I've moved from my office to the kitchen counter so I CNN-write-blog in sync...Your last line in the post got me! Comfort, "go to" meals have been a norm lately with experiments saved for the weekend (when the news loops are running). Lovely read!

Shalimar said...

HI saw your site at food buzz.... yeah the Greek eating habits have changed a bit but still good traditional food is still being served at most homes.
I was just "home" in Athens last week now back in Ft Laud....

Julie said...

Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is both distracted by and worn out from the long campaign season. You guys make me feel less weird, for lack of a better word!

Gail: agave is a great alternative, and do recommend it for baking or as a simple syrup substitute in cocktails. But I love my calorie free all purpose splenda!

Anna: I've been wanting to start Twittering for awhile now. I'll follow you for sure!

Matt said...

I agree. I have been distracted and have been falling behind in reading and commenting on blogs. I've been making meals for posts but grazing out of the fridge on days I don't. I'm always watching CNN and have started forcing myself to turn it off.

Both of your turkey recipes look delicious. I made your adaptation of Deborah Madison's fideos recipe. It was wonderful!

Julie said...

Matt--I'm so glad you tried the fideos! That's one of my fave dishes. A totally satisfying vegetarian meal too. For anyone looking for the link, here it is: http://www.aminglingoftastes.com/2006/07/creative-vegetarian-cooking-from-meat.html

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