“Among your other resolutions — do more good? make more money? — you’ve probably made the annual pledge to eat better, although this concept may be more often reduced simply to “lose some weight.” The weight-loss obsession is both a national need and a neurotic urge (those last five pounds really don’t matter, either cosmetically or medically). But most of us do need to eat “better.”
If defining this betterness has become increasingly more difficult (half the diet books that spilled over my desk in December focused on going gluten-free), the core of the answer is known to everyone: eat more plants. And if the diet that most starkly represents this — veganism — is no longer considered bizarre or unreasonably spartan, neither is it exactly mainstream. (For the record, vegans don’t simply avoid meat; they eschew all animal products, including dairy, eggs and even honey.)
Many vegan dishes, however, are already beloved: we eat fruit salad, peanut butter and jelly, beans and rice, eggplant in garlic sauce. The problem faced by many of us — brought up as we were with plates whose center was filled with a piece of an animal — is in imagining less-traditional vegan dishes that are creative, filling, interesting and not especially challenging to either put together or enjoy.
My point here is to make semi-veganism work for you. Once a week, let bean burgers stand in for hamburgers, leave the meat out of your pasta sauce, make a risotto the likes of which you’ve probably never had — and you may just find yourself eating “better.”
These recipes serve about four, and in all, the addition of salt and pepper is taken for granted. This is not a gimmick or even a diet. It’s a path, and the smart resolution might be to get on it.
This video won a competition on the blog from which I usually get these weekly videos.
This video makes me feel like the little kid who developed a crush on the babysitter and is mad to see that the babysitter has a boyfriend.
Is that a good analogy? No.
Am I a professional analogist? No, lay off.
Watch the video, and lay off.
Five, ante meridian
The tools of the trade.
Buttery, buttery kolaches
Need to knead, kneading, kneaded.
The bakery was the only place with its lights on, and it was warmer than my car.
They didn’t forget that I was coming in this morning, or at least they played it off well.
I got there at 5:50, and I counted myself as one of the hardcore guys because the bakers show up early, and then the rest of the staff comes in around seven.
Little did I know, the real bakers had been hard at it since 4:00 that morning. And today is one of their slowest days of the year.
I introduced myself to everyone working, and I discovered that most of them are right around my age. I was the youngest, but the oldest worker was just thirty, and most everyone else was a senior in college.
I knew one of the workers, Bobby Korom, and immediately was glad of that because it meant that no one treated me like an stranger.
Or,they just treat strangers very well.
I started out with grunt tasks: transferring muffins, icing cinnamon rolls, cutting brownies and pecan bars, grating carrots, cracking eggs, and assembling boxes.
Then, when it was time to knead the bread, I got my chance to help. I was definitely bad, but I knew more than they expected me to and ended up making myself useful, which surprised everybody.
I got to pretty much eat as I went, and any mistakes are just put as samples for us or customers to eat.
I made a lot of mistakes on the cinnamon rolls.
Customers started rolling in around seven.
Who does that?
People who know how good it smells.
There are muffins, scones, cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and a lot of bread.
Bread is their specialty.
I got paid in a loaf of bread.
I talked to a lot of the other employees about cooking and baking, and got some good feedback about the profession.
Many people said they didn’t really like baking, which makes no sense to me.
I didn’t get why you would be a baker if you didn’t like it, because baking isn’t like a normal job. It changes your life.
If you’re a baker, you go to bed around seven o’clock and you’re at work by three or four. You work till noon, and then have seven hours left in your day. It changes relationships, schedules, lives–everything.
Why would you submit yourself to that sacrifice if you don’t love it?
No one had a good answer.
I don’t know, but I sure liked it.
Tomorrow morning at six a.m. I have my first trial day at Broadway Daily Bread, a local San Antonio bakery.
I hadn’t baked seriously in awhile, at least not anything difficult, so I knew I needed some practice.
I made this Butternut Squash and Onion Galette, despite my brain reminding me that they don’t make anything like this at Broadway.
Or else it would be called Broadway Daily Galettes.
I probably won’t be able to take any pictures tomorrow for two reasons.
One: I’ll be drunk off sleeplessness.
Two: I’ll be baking, seriously, and therefore not taking copious photos.
Ah who I am kidding? I’ll take photos. They’re not paying me anyway.
Stop on by tomorrow if you want to see me completely out of element while being simultaneously very happy.
Hopefully this is that day I look back on and cite as “when it all began.”