I enjoy working in my kitchen (notice the sincere SMILE).
There was a time when my meals involved lots of planning, researching the inventories of local supermarkets, gourmet shops and specialty food stores.
Today I live alone and entertain less. Food is still the theme around which social activities revolve, though menus are simpler, ingredients fewer. Changing palettes and a greater knowledge of nutrition guides me in my selections as does my awareness of the thicker torsos and roomier derrieres which though once was a sign of old age, today is placing the youngest members of my family in harm’s way.
Scouring the aisles of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods is not enough; the requirement of a constantly changing awareness of food sources has led me to newer ideas, noodling on the Internet, scouring the stacks in community libraries and bookstores, discovering in this process, a whole world of information that even at my advanced age is tempting me to learn still more.
The result of these changing awarenesses in my own life has helped me to eliminate the symptoms of IBS, lowered my glucose level and brought me back to the a thinner waistline; the devilish gift of vanity is gradually being replaced by a goal of improved health and a greater lifespan, as the prevailing motive, which guides me down the produce aisle and instills me with gratitude. And, on most Saturday mornings at &:30 AM, I fill two large, book bags with locally grown produce from the food co-op of Bountiful Basket.
My number one restriction is animal products; if it doesn’t have roots when growing it is not to be allowed in my digestive track. I do cheat a little; I occasionally add a few crumbs of bleu cheese or its cousins and always within arm’s reach, broken bits of walnut. I eat squash and root veggies and I make some truly unbelievable salads. The only prepared food that I use is a line of salsas, which carry the Safeway label; I use them as bases for soups and occasionally add them to other dishes. Their greatest gift is that the containers are made of glass. I own several dozen of these wonderful containers; they hold basic food stores and are great for leftovers.
But that’s enough about the food part of this article. The title identifies a subject which is nutritionally attractive to no one except perhaps goats. I share with you now, my enthusiasm for paper plates:
Paper plates are the bane of good cooks everywhere. What better way to insult guests than by placing the results of two hours of carefully prepared ingredients on a white disk of shaped and dried squirts of trashy wood pulp?
But use them I do. On an average day of food preparation for one individual, I estimate that my paper plate consumption exceeds a dozen, though never do I allow a finished product to touch their surface.
I noticed one day that the dishes from which I ate, occupied a mere third of a full dishwasher the rest was from the messy chores of food preparation. And then it struck me that the paper plate was a natural for preparing food.
When using a knife I protect the cutting block with a paper plate. When in need of a funnel I make a cone from a paper plate; with kitchen scissors I cut of a portion of the plate to the desired size. Being right-handed, I curl what’s left of the circus blanca with my left hand and with the right, pour whatever ingredients go into whatever container. On those rare occasions when I use the microwave, perhaps to soften a dab of butter or a crust of bread, I reach for a paper plate. And, when I spill crumbs on the kitchen floor, half a paper plate becomes a dustpan.
When preparations are complete and the tension gathers among my guests, I make another paper plate cone and bring the small end to my lips and announce “Dinner is served.”
(I also do this when no one is around.)