Random food-related personal trivia ahoy!

Have you ever been curious about other people’s food idiosyncrasies? Here are a dozen of mine:

1). I enjoy monosodium glutamate (MSG). Growing up in a Japanese-American household, we always had MSG in our spice cabinet. We refer to it by its brand name: Aji-no-moto. I never knew it was “horrible” for you until MSG started blowing up the health news circuits. I’m not afraid of it. I still eat it. I don’t buy the full spectrum of negative hype surrounding it any more than I buy the full spectrum of negative hype surrounding soy (i.e. tofu), another common Japanese food I grew up eating. Japanese cuisine is generally healthier than standard American fare. We get our Ajinomoto from the mom & pop Japanese market down the street. You can get it from Amazon dot com.

2). My brain does not know how to tell my body that I’m full when I’m eating pasta. I could eat an entire box in one sitting, so when I make pasta at home, I measure out the exact serving size and make just that amount. In restaurants, I almost never take home leftover pasta, no matter how large the serving size. I eat it all and wish there was more.

3). Along with several other kids on our street, my brother and I used to climb a neighbor’s front-yard almond tree. We ate the almonds while they were still green. We didn’t realize that we were vandalizing, trespassing, and stealing. Because of our unfortunate past-time,  I came to crave the raw, sweet green almonds, and I didn’t understand why they weren’t available in the store. I still enjoy raw almonds, and I still wish they were green.

4). I don’t go around pontificating about vegetarianism or veganism, but if I find a veggie-pride shirt I like, I’ll get it and wear it. And take selfies in it.

 

No Meat Athlete workout apparel

No Meat Athlete workout apparel

“It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war”

Powered by plants

Powered by plants

 

5). If I could only take one food with me to a deserted island, it would be Chipotle Tabasco Sauce. It would make anything on the island edible.

6). I’m a shameless breadaholic. I eat bread of some type or another at both lunch and dinner (unless dinner is something like sushi). My favorite toast is sourdough.

7). My favorite sushi is brown rice with avocado and cucumber, and Callaghan makes the best.

8). When I was in army basic training at Ft. Jackson, our drill sergeant threatened we city recruits with chitlins. I wasn’t afraid. But then I witnessed a particularly strange punishment involving orange soda, and I haven’t wanted orange soda since.

9). I always thought that beets were the most hilarious food on the planet, I have no idea why, and I still can’t eat them.

10). Nutritional yeast powder is one of my favorite foods, and I consume at least a handful of it every week. We get it in a huge can (from Whole Foods… their brand).

11). I’m hooked on cold water stirred up with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s raw unfiltered, always); I drink it after both lunch and dinner.

12). I don’t understand poi. No amount of sugar in the world can persuade me to understand it.

Costco is my Kryptonite, and other tales of things I want to have in my life, but can’t, because they’d kill me.

The other day, I was watching a video, and I had a reaction to it that prompted this brief list of popular trains I can’t board:

1). Costco.

 

Nooooo...

Nooooo…

 

Costco is amazing, but I just… no. I have a panic attack every time I go into a Costco. I mean, every time no matter what.

Your guess is as good as mine. Nothing awful has ever happened to me in a Costco. This makes no sense at all. Costco is my only consistent panic “trigger,” and I have no idea why.

It’s just a huge warehouse with people milling and mingling haphazardly, and everything is towering and disorganized, and the products are piled so high, and you don’t know who or what is coming around the corner, and you don’t know where anything is, and the layout of the place doesn’t seem to make sense, and the noises echo and bounce off the walls, and, and, and, et cetera, ad nauseum.

I could launch into some anecdotes about my panic episodes in Costco in both Arizona and California, but that would result in a complete essay, and how boring would that be? My Ridiculous Panic Attacks in Costco, by Kristi Garboushian. I’ll refrain. (You’re welcome.)

Suffice it to say that the other day (here’s the event that spawned this blog post), I had a panic attack while I was watching a vlog of some people shopping in a Costco. I seriously can’t even see the inside of a Costco on video without having this reaction.

Is there a name for this? Costcophobia?

 

2). Game of Thrones.

 

Game-of-Thrones-Season-3-1788115

 

I watched most of the first season, and I tried hard to get into it. I plunged in with great expectations because of the series’ high ratings, immense popularity and sheer aesthetic appeal, but my interest waned progressively with each episode. While I could recognize and appreciate the excellence of the writing, acting, cinematography, costumes and basically the entire production, I couldn’t sit the season through to the end.

The reason is simply that fantasy isn’t a genre I enjoy enough to make the mental effort it takes to keep track of everybody running around in that series.

I couldn’t keep up with who was related to whom, and all the interconnections between individuals and groups of characters, and all the intimate liaisons, and who died/got killed (and for what reason), and who was going where, and why, and so on. First it interested me, then it tired me, then it bored me, and that was the end.

(Like most of the rest of humanity, Callaghan enjoyed it, so he’s still watching. I’m glad for him.)

My general disinterest in fantasy (there have been exceptions, like Harry Potter, which I love) contradicts my deep fascination with the paranormal and my affection for most science fiction –especially super high-octane sci-fi with lots of action and cheesy comic book panache, like Tank Girl, Serenity, Transformers and Pacific Rim.

It’s human nature to be contradictory, I guess.

On Callaghan’s part, there’s a highly rated and extremely popular Netflix series that he can’t watch, and that’s Orange is the New Black. Actually, it’s even worse than that… Orange is the New Black is to Callaghan what Costco is to me. He just can’t deal with it at all; it agitates and angers him.

I liked it, though. Maybe one day I’ll continue watching it.

 

3). Beets.

 

328px-Beets

 

Beets are nutritional superstars, and I wish I could eat them with enjoyment. As it is, I can barely tolerate them. I love food and I want to love everything that I eat. For me, barely tolerating a food equals zero enjoyment in the whole food experience.

I’m not sure why I don’t like beets. I guess I find something suspicious (unpleasantly incongruous?) about their particular type of sweetness, and the metallic aftertaste in my mouth after I eat them nauseates me a little. I don’t know. On one occasion, I went to a restaurant and the roasted vegetables I ordered included small, whole roasted beets. They were of the yellow variety, and they were more palatable to me than the standard purplish-red ones.

Beets don’t make me sick-sick, though… I could eat them if I wanted to, but I don’t bother. When they arrive on my salad, I pass them over to Callaghan, who accepts them with alacrity. Good for him!

That wraps it up. Have a great Friday and weekend, everyone!

My Experience with Juicing, or, What the Sea Witch Gave the Little Mermaid to Drink in Order to Grow Legs

Recently, we decided that it would be reasonable to invest in a juicer, so we conducted the obligatory consumer research and ordered one from Sears. Free shipping!

 

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

 

Once, in my thirties, I did the Master Cleanse for ten days, and I had no problem with it. Based on that experience, I figure I can easily do a fresh veggie juice fast four times a month; it’s a practice I wish to cultivate for detoxifying purposes (not for weight-loss). I invited Callaghan to do it with me, and he said yes, count him in! Okay, then… LET’S DO THIS.

The first time we used the juicer – last week – we double-checked to ensure that all the right parts of the machine were locked down into the right places. Despite our diligence, we somehow forgot to place a receptacle beneath the juice spout. Details! In a matter of seconds, we found ourselves in the middle of what looked like a violent crime scene, because the first thing we fed into the juicer was, of course, fresh BEETS. Also, the machine was facing backwards (which was why we forgot to check the spout), so we didn’t notice the error until the beet juice hemorrhage was well out of control.

We had to act fast. Our kitchen was the site of an unholy beet massacre; it looked like someone’s throat had been slit in the grand finale of a knife-wielding lunatic’s homicidal rampage. The beet juice spread quickly, pooling under and around things on the white kitchen counter. It splattered on the wall. It dribbled onto the floor. It went everywhere.

In a panic, we grabbed whatever we saw lying around to mop up the mess. The beet juice transferred from one thing to another, and all over us. Yikes! I thought. What if the cops happened to knock on the door at that very second for some random reason? We would have been caught literally red-handed, standing in our slasher flick movie set of a kitchen with gobs of bloody… er, beety… paper towels, a stained sponge and a smeared counter. It looked very bad. Also, somehow, there was a dirty coffee mug half-way filled with the stuff, adding to the macabre effect. I was wearing my skull t-shirt, too. We should have taken a picture.

Callaghan held up the remaining chunks of beets, and I said, “At least we have some left!”

That was Juicing, Part 1.

Juicing, Part 2 was about juicing the rest of the veggies once we worked the kinks out of our methodology.

Juicing, Part 3 was about drinking the juice.

The horror of Part 3 surpassed the horror of Part 1. The juice tasted like it came from a stagnant bog from the Pleistocene epoch, with an aftertaste of sweaty feet.

Coincidentally, my friend Beau wrote on his Facebook that day:

I juiced almost 2 pounds of kale and got a whopping 8 ounces of liquid. Due to its enticing, beautiful green color, I tried it out before mixing with my other fruits and veggies.

It tasted like a mouthful of the Gulf of Mexico……and not in a good way.

Wow, I thought as I commiserated with him in a comment on his post. What a coincidence! We’re both juicing kale today and concluding that it tastes like ass.

Later, Beau wrote:

Juice update: Mixed this…liquid…with the rest of the stuff the girl set aside for juicing. By adding several bell peppers, oranges, grapes, cucumber, lemons and a metric shitload of celery, I managed to get the taste boosted to “peppery sewage.” …….I will be revamping the recipe.

Yeah, I think the celery was one thing that killed it for me. That, and the garlic. And the cucumbers. Instead of melding into a harmonious brew, each of these flavors defiantly held their own shape and competed with each other with obnoxious force, bulldozing my tongue until it became a whimpering, limp rag in my mouth. Traumatized into oblivion, my poor taste buds spent the rest of the day engaged in a feeble battle to develop amnesia.

The juice is vile. As Beau put it, it tastes like how an exorcism feels.

But I choked down another glass for lunch.

In the middle of the afternoon, Callaghan and I stuffed organic apples into the juicer and gulped the juice like it was the elixir of the Gods. Ah! Fruit. Simple, sweet fruit.

Then I brushed my teeth and felt a little bit better, even though I still had an apocalyptic caffeine-withdrawal headache and my whole body felt hijacked from the inside out. It was like my blood had suddenly become claustrophobic and gathered itself into a frenzy to exit my pores in the most dramatic way possible, clashing against the insides of my veins like waves pounding the rocks on a stormy beach. Agitated toxins all riled up, I thought. I wasn’t hungry at all, but I felt sick. Also, I felt oddly cold and just very out-of-sorts in a particularly disconcerting way. I did not like being in my body. I fantasized about unzipping my skin and stepping out of it, leaving my miserable, toxin-riddled flesh suit in a heap on the floor.

I couldn’t understand it… since returning to the States, I’ve eaten pretty “clean” (which, for me, personally, means vegan and sans simple sugars/refined carbs, as well as nothing fried) 98% of the time, and the last time I consumed an alcoholic beverage was sometime in June, so it’s not like my body’s composed of junk and had a tidal wave of HEALTHY to reckon with upon introduction of the veggie juice. My habits are already very healthy. How could the juice be that great of a shock to my system? Nor did I remember feeling this way when I did the Master Cleanse, not even after ten days. My body doesn’t even react like this if I don’t consume anything at all for a day, for whatever reason. Also, I’d juice-fasted once or twice while we were in France, for several days at a time, and I’d felt just fine. The problem is THIS juice.

That evening, I still wasn’t hungry, but I opened the refrigerator and eyed the juice remaining in the glass pitcher. The day is almost over, I thought. I can do this. I love vegetables! How can drinking them be so different than eating them? I poured out a glass for each of us, but when I lifted mine to my mouth, my nose reacted first. The hairs in my nostrils withered, as though singed by an invisible flame. My throat tightened, and my gag reflex convulsed. My stomach curled into a ball and tried to hide. My mouth watered the way it does right before you vomit. I set the glass down.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m done,” I said to Callaghan, who was happily drinking his second glass of juice in one sitting. (What the hell? How can he…?)

“I’m French,” he informed me, reading my mind. “So I can eat the most terrible-tasting stuff.”

I drank some water, brushed my teeth again and went to bed.

The next day, my body looked like a million bucks.