In the corner of the page is a skinny little carrot. I wanted to draw something with a little color. I like carrots. Like’em cooked, like’em raw, like’em roasted, like’em glazed. A surprising thing began to happen with these drawings, this EAW. As I sat down each day to draw foods that I wanted to eat, I found myself drawing healthy foods. Healthy foods that I like. A complete surprise. And for that reason, especially fun. Reminding myself, not in a scolding way, but in an almost self-indulgent way, that there are foods like carrots that are completely satisfying. Carrots lead me to a short list of other sweet, juicy, crunchy things, like fennel and jicama. I forget how much I enjoy them. If buying candy, chocolate, cookies or other baked goods is something I do without thinking, perhaps by remembering how much I enjoy fennel, jicama and carrots, I’ll begin to buy them, reflexively.
Yes, they require a tiny bit of prep, which candy and baked goods do not. But here’s another surprise. The task of peeling and slicing is a pleasant one. I like the sensations: sight and touch and smell and sound. They really crunch, with distinctive sounds when I use a good sharp knife. It’s amazing really, to begin to explore and understand the layers of pleasure involved in eating. I don’t mindlessly eat fennel or jicama (carrots, maybe a little) the way I generally eat chocolate mindlessly. I appreciate the taste and crunch. That is so weird. They are as pleasurable and satisfying as chocolate candy? Yikes. Seems impossible.
Nearby there is a wavy line which has a list on each side. The first list invokes the baked carbs that delight me: toast, scones, english muffins, biscuits, croissant, bagels, donuts, matzo, french bread, muffins, coffeecake, tortillas and naan. The list covers a lot of cultures and their staple, bready carb. Makes me hungry. Good thing it’s almost time for breakfast. On the other side of the wavy line is a list of things to schmear on the bready carbs: butter and more butter, peanut butter, honey, jam, butter, cream cheese, almond butter, ginger spread, apple butter.
That’s a lot of food items to talk to. I don’t have donuts or coffeecake very often at all. Especially donuts. They are unsatisfying, actually, especially the DD ones. I still imagine they’ll be tasty, but one bite reminds me they are more like cardboard. A glazed chocolate cruller was my standard for a long time, but the DD ‘stick’ (since they don’t hand-make them, they can’t twist them) donut doesn’t really taste like chocolate at all; so it’s just a vehicle for the glaze, which is sweet, but a bit chemically. A good coffeecake, with lots of crumb topping, now that’s a different story. The best one is the one that I make, which I have not made for years. But I could, any time, I suppose.
Bagels are very satisfying, if they are good. I do prefer BUTTER on my bagel. Cream cheese, not so much. Cream cheese belongs in cheesecake. Or rugelah. Almost any bread makes good toast. Sometimes I crave white bread, when I am feeling most needily child-like. But there is plenty of adult satisfaction in toasting some whole grain, seeded bread, ‘cause then I’m getting nutrients and comfort. Nod.
Scones can be tricky. There are a lot of bad ones, too heavy or dry. The cream scones at Nashoba Brook Bakery set a high standard, but there are other good ones to be had. It’s eating the lousy ones that is sad. English muffins are rarely exciting, but they toast up nicely and keep well in the fridge, so they are a back-up bready carb.
Biscuits. Nothing beats BB’s Tallahassee biscuits. Mine are pretty good, but I’m skittish about grating the frozen butter the way he taught me, since I took a couple of chunks out of my thumb knuckle on the grater. But a hot biscuit is divine. Actually tops toast, I think, just more work to make and good ones are not easy to find up here in New England. But the flaky, soft inside, hot with melted butter and maybe honey or ginger jam. Oh yes!