Friday, April 18, 2008

It's All Good

Earlier this week, at work, I took the elevator down to the lobby with a co-worker. Someone had obviously just taken their breakfast up with them seconds before, because there was a strong bacon smell lingering in the elevator (which was a nice change from the smell of second-hand cigarette smoke, but that's a post for another day). I commented about how great it smelled.

"How can you like the smell of bacon? You're vegetarian!"

Ugh. Just because I won't eat something doesn't mean I can't appreciate its smell. I like the smell of gasoline but I never feel the urge to drink any.

Truthfully, I find these little moments funnier than I do frustrating. It's really just a matter of people speaking without thinking first. I can at least see the reasoning behind that comment, unlike those by folks who seem to assume that I eat nothing but pasta and lettuce.

Now I don't know if it's a spring thing or what, but I'm becoming more interested in learning how to cook. We've just bought a new BBQ (being delivered Monday) and the farmer's markets are going to be opening soon, so I'm getting the bug.

But man, am I ever brutal in a kitchen. I actually get stressed out, especially if I have to wait for something to cook. I become a wreck. It's just strange.

The problem with wanting to learn how to cook is that many books assume you already know the basics. But I don't. It's all I can do to make toast. Heaven help me if the butter's hard!

Here's an example from a meal I botched once; The recipe said to cook on "medium heat". Fine, off I go.

Before long I'm running around trying (and mostly failing) to prevent half my meal from being charred all to hell. Mrs THIT later tells me that I had the heat on too high.

Well, let's see...The twisty thing on the stove goes all the way to ten. Medium then, to me, would be, oh, about five. But no, apparently, that's too hot for "medium". Who the hell came up with this Klingon math??

Luckily, we may have found a nice little meal which will help me in both counts. It appears to be easy to prepare and if I bring it to work for lunch, it may help kill the perception that I live off carrot shavings.

Listen to these preparation instructions (or better yet, read them):

Add pouch to boiling water and boil for five minutes. Remove from water, carefully cut the package open and serve.

That sounds...manageable. It can also be prepared in the microwave in about two minutes. Three grams of fat, 26 grams of protein, 170 calories but look out; 20% of your sodium intake.

These are made from a product called gardein, which I didn't know existed until the first time we bought one. And wouldn't you know it, the package is apparently labelled with vegetable-based inks!

Is it identical to chicken? No. I always make it a point to state that because I would hate for someone to try it expecting no difference and being immediately turned off. It's a substitute and in my opinion, a pretty good one. If you're looking to reduce your meat consumption (for whatever reason motivates you) and/or seeking a quick meal option, you could do worse.

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