“One of the stupidest things in an earnest but stupid school of culinary thought is that each of the three daily meals should be ‘balanced.’ [This still goes on in big-magazine advertising, but there seems less and less insistence on it in real life: baby-doctors and even gynecologists admit that most human bodies choose their own satisfactions, dietetically and otherwise.]”
~ MFK Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf
Is there anyone who actually eats a balanced diet? Or one that’s completely consistent? Maybe PETA members, Buddhist monks, and Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, but, for the rest of us, eating is less about following rigid rules than it is about choosing our “own satisfactions.”
Or, it should be. As a woman who’s struggled with her weight all her life, food is usually fraught with guilt and trepidation for me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve dragged my partner into coffee shops just to get a cookie and then decided, at the last minute, that, no, I will be virtuous instead. But the virtuousness usually evaporates in an extra glass of wine, or two, which brings me full circle to wanting that cookie. Now. The body wants what it wants. I’ve started to make peace with it and am trying to listen to my body rather than fight with it all the time (read Susan Bordo’s Unbearable Weight to understand the cultural pressures that women feel around controlling their bodies).
So rather than rigid, I try to be flexible. These days, that means I’m mostly a pescaterian who eats meat at restaurants and my mother’s table (because god help you if you don’t) but not dairy because of lactose intolerance. I’ve made vegan sausages from scratch and have also fried whole fish Chinese style. My favorite lunch, and sometimes lazy dinner, is a fried egg sandwich that makes no sense, so I call it the Confused Diet Egg Sandwich.
Confused Diet Egg Sandwich
(inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s crispy egg)
- 1 egg, preferably cage free because, oh, those poor chickens.
- 3 slices vegan bacon
- 2 slices good bread (I prefer rye, but it’s up to you) or a portuguese roll. If you live near Newark, NJ, go to Pao de Terra on Ferry St.)
- 1/4 ripe avocado
- smoked salmon (optional, but so good)
- olive oil
- hot sauce, Tabasco or your choice (not whether you use hot sauce, but what kind)
Saute vegan bacon in a little oil according to package directions till crispy. Set aside. Melt some butter in pan and swirl it around. Toast bread on both sides in it till it’s as brown as you like. Remove from pan. Let the pan get nice and hot, adding more butter or oil if necessary. Crack in the egg and let it get good and dark underneath. I can’t stand runny whites, so I spread the white around, but do what you like. As it’s cooking, mash the avocado on one slice of bread, layer the vegan bacon over it (and the smoked salmon, if using). When the egg is done, slide it onto the bread, cover it and slice in half. Watch that golden ooze spread around. Douse liberally with hot sauce. Eat. Swoon. A vegan bacon egg sandwich with salmon may make no sense, but your body will love you for it.