Let’s Talk Food
Why Talk Food?
After all, there is really nothing else. Water and sex are closely related, but the major parts of our lives are spent pursuing, in one way or another, food.
Not even tasting it but outsmarting other animals to provide sustenance for our own dependence by securing land, power, riches. Think about that for a while and understand that for the most part of our present lives, we are in pursuit of ensuring our survival — and it boils down to food.
The history of the human race indicates that we have evolved from hunter-gatherers, to hunter-domesticators and are still at it with the competition very high for the richest, the rarest, the juiciest, most tender morsels out there. From all this effort of “making a living,” we celebrate our victories or aspire to victories of having well-fed families who no longer need to hunt animals or plants to keep themselves together.
So, when did this start and how? When did food become appealing? When did we learn to cook?
According to Charles Lamb’s “Dissertation on Roast Lamb,” the story goes that a young Chinese boy was playing with fire in his seedy shack when some of the ashes leaped into the straw and twigs, which characterized the materials composing the shack.
The straw and twigs quickly caught fire, and the boy began to panic and tried to save the nine piglets that had recently been born in the shack. The boy grabbed one piglet and immediately scorched his fingers.
And as all of us do when we burn our fingers, he put them into his mouth to cool down. And guess what?
HOT DIGGETY! His fingers tasted delicious!
The little boy began to eat the piglet as fast as possible. When his father arrived, his young son induced him to try the new treat. The father loved the taste, and henceforth, there were frequent fires at the shack.
Neighbors began talking and complaining (you know how neighbors can be) and finally took this man and his son to court for polluting the environment and being a general pain to the community. The father, however, was prepared. He went before the judge and presented him with a leaf-wrapped package.
“Try it, try it, please, your Honor,” the man encouraged the judge. The judge did just that and proclaimed the burnt food delicious and the poor farmer and his son innocent.
After that, there were frequent fires in the neighborhood until someone found a way to isolate the fire and roast the piglets outside the homes … And a good time and delicious meals were had by all.
Now, as far as I can figure, the next great culinary discovery came when someone invented the wok, many thousands of years later. Quite a technical advancement: simple carbon steel, flat or round bottom conical shape, multipurpose, able to withstand high heat, requires very little fat, versatile and easy to clean. THE WOK!
If you don’t own a wok, you should, but these days a stir-fry skillet or even a fry pan will do.
I am going to propose an interesting dish that will honor the summer season, be a snap to fix and delight your palate. It is healthy and nourishing, and you can stir it up in a few minutes — without burning the house down!
I am going to ask you to use pre-prepared food to help you carry out this simple stir-fry recipe, which will be adaptable and delicious and not present any problems of preparation or availability. You will not need a diploma from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) or a new kitchen stove. It will be nutritious and yummy, fun to prepare and versatile.
Till next time,
The Healthy Foodie
Stir-fry Chicken with Cantaloupe
Choose a Protein
- 1 cup of protein
Look in your refrigerator for some leftover protein (chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu).
- 16 ounces of chopped cantaloupe chunks
When you go to the supermarket, look for the section in the produce department with chunks of peeled, cut cantaloupe. It is a little pricier than the whole melon, but think for a minute: it’s peeled, no waste, cut into manageable pieces. Worth a buck more? To me, with fragile hands and limited energy, the answer is yes, yes, yes!
Choose a Vegetable
- 12 ounces of a vegetable, fresh or frozen
You may want to add more variety as you go along, but this will basically be it.
Let’s see what we can do with these three items: the melon, the vegetables and the protein we have selected.
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp. orange marmalade
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
- Dash of hot sauce (Sriracha is good)
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil (not olive oil)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3 green onions, sliced on the bias
- Heat the oil in a wok or stir-fry pan until very hot.
- Add and stir protein: chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu cut in slices or cubes
- Stir-fry until warmed through and a bit crusty. Remove to a bowl.
- Add canola or other vegetable oil (not olive). to wok.
- Heat to sizzling and add:
- Cut-up cantaloupe chunks
- 12 ounces of frozen sugar snap peas
- Stir-fry until heated through.
- Add your cooked protein.
- In a small saucepan pour and stir over medium heat:
- Orange juice
- Balsamic vinegar
- Orange marmalade
- Garlic powder
- Dash of hot sauce if desired (sriracha is so good)
- Stir all together
- When protein and veggies are heated through, pour sauce over all and toss until thickened. Garnish with green onions. Serve over steamed rice or noodles.
Basically, that’s it, but now comes the fun part. Open your fridge. What have you got?