Food Without Morals

March 30, 2010

Trying to Eat with an Eating Disorder

Filed under: everyone has problems,Food is hard! — by Katie @ 10:01 am

This is going to get a little intimate, but it’s something I need to get out there.

I’m bulimic.

Phew, it’s out there. I’ve been bulimic “officially” for about a year now, although I’ve had an eating disorder off and on for about seven years; my last relapse was a year ago, and it was pretty bad. I lost twenty pounds, I cut my calories, I threw up over and over again, I abused laxatives. I made my body the enemy, and I was determined to win.

My goal was to hurt myself, and it was easy to achieve. I had chest pains, stomach cramps, acid reflux, diarrhea. I had them during the day, but they woke me up at night, too. I became potassium deficient, which gave me leg cramps so bad that they pulled my muscles. When I binged, I ate so much that I could physically not fit any more food in my body. I purged enough that I started to lose my gag reflex, and consequently my ability to throw up. If I couldn’t throw up, I would have panic attacks. I started to schedule my binge/purge sessions so that my gag reflex would have time to recover. I would binge and purge twice a day, three to four times a week. I took laxatives at least four times a week.

And then, last Thursday, I stopped.

I don’t know if it’s for good, but I stopped.

I was tired. I was sick, and I was exhausted. I have spent the last year thinking about how wasteful I am, how much money I have spent on food, money that I can’t afford to waste. I have spent the last year wondering why I spend so much of my time, energy, money, and resources on killing myself.

And then I woke up on Thursday, and I thought, “I could stop.”

And I stopped.

Recovery is going to be a lot harder than having an eating disorder ever is. An eating disorder is easy. Don’t listen to all that talk about willpower, because that’s bullshit. There is nothing easier than giving in to that voice that says, “Who told you that you deserve adequate nutrition, you stupid, fat fuck?”

And you know what? I did. I finally said that seven years of self-loathing is enough to last me a lifetime. I said that it is stupid to spend the rest of my life starving myself to death. I said that I can eat.


March 24, 2010

An apology + An unapologetic recipe

Filed under: Dessert,everyone has problems,Food — by Katie @ 11:34 am

Now THAT’S what I call an absence! Don’t let it be said that I half-ass things around here!

But seriously, sorry about that. See, I had good excuses, and when I ran out of good excuses, I just had shame. I won’t let it happen again, promise.

Now, let me tell you about this mystery dessert. See, I went home for a few days last week for spring break (SPRING BREAK, WOOOO), only to have it rain, which meant that I wore my pyjamas the entire time I was home (to be honest, I rarely change out of my pyjamas when I am home, so the rain was to my advantage).

This led to me surfing through my mother’s recipe box, which is unlike most Mothers’ Recipe Boxes in that my MRB consists mostly of recipes cut out from the paper, or handed down from some relative who cooked (some DISTANT relative, knowing my close ones as I do), or, very rarely, written on an actual recipe card.

This was written down as “Lazy Baklava  – Albanian Gjalpanik”. Since I have no ethnicity, I was so stoked to get to pretend to be Albanian, until I searched the internets, and learned this dessert does not exist.

I also like things that don’t exist. LET’S MAKE IT

Start with one pound of walnuts almonds. The recipe said to use walnuts, but I don’t like walnuts as much as I like almonds.

Grind those nuts! Grind them finer than I did! You want them chunky, far from nut paste or nut flour, but fairly broken down. You should grind them finer than I did; I had to stop early because I was afraid of waking my brother. It was eleven in the morning and he hadn’t gone to bed until four.

Add your nuts to a bowl, along with four cups of flour and one tablespoon of baking powder. This dough is so short that the baking powder does not make as terrifyingly huge of a difference as it might seem it would. Also, use a bigger bowl than I did. Because holy Flour Mountain.

Now, melt one pound of butter. Don’t even give me that look. Also, check out that tiny yellow flowerpot! When my mom is using her multiple pill boxes, we use that instead to weigh down our “DISHES ARE CLEAN” paper chunk.

Add the butter to the dry goods. It might be kind of hard to stir at first, but it comes together pretty easily. Note that I switched to a larger bowl, for ease in stirring.

Add the mixture to a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. This is slightly smaller than that (maybe one inch smaller, not that much), but it all fit. Flatten out the top with a spatula or a spoon. Try not to notice that there is butter pooling on top.

Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for about forty minutes. It is done when it is firm and golden brown on top.

Now, this is important. Make sure that you let this cool completely. Then cut it into squares, or triangles, or half, whatever you’d like. It is important to cut it now, because we are about to add some syrup.

Bring half a cup of honey, one and a half cups of water, and two and a quarter cups of sugar to a boil. Add in the shaved zest of half of a lemon, and let boil for twenty minutes.

While the syrup is boiling lava hot, and the gjalpanik is cooled completely, pour the syrup all over the top. You may not end up using all the syrup, I had about half a cup left at the end. What is important is to cover the entire top of the gjalpanik with the syrup while you pour, because the edges can get dry otherwise.

Let this sit for several hours. You need to allow all the syrup to soak into the gjalpanik.

This was amazing. I am not going to lie to you- it is not a baked good that can be eaten with one’s hands (however, it is awesome in a bowl with a spoon, in front of Gossip Girl, or whatever classy television show you watch). Another truth: the syrup will pool on the bottom when you remove slices. If you think this is a bad thing, then we can’t be friends.

Speaking as someone who has made baklava from scratch, only to feel murderous after three hours had gone by, I am a fan.

Lazy Baklava

For Baklava:
1 pound walnuts (almonds also work)
1 pound butter
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

For Syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
zest of one lemon

Grind the nuts well. Add to a bowl with the flour and the baking powder. Melt the pound of butter and add it to the dry goods; mix to combine. Pour into an ungreased 9x13x2 inch baking dish, and bake at 350 for about forty minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before adding syrup. Cut into whatever shape you like.

In a medium saucepan, add all the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for twenty minutes. Fish out the spent lemon peel and pour the boiling syrup all over the baklava, making sure to coat every surface with it (you may not use all the syrup). Let sit out for several hours, overnight is even better.

For Baklava:
One pound walnuts (almonds also work)
One pound butter
Four cups flour
One tablespoon baking powder

For Syrup:

March 5, 2010

Spice Cake

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Katie @ 4:39 pm

A couple of weeks ago I went home for my mom’s birthday. Well, okay. I went home the weekend before her birthday because she asked me to go to a flower show with her, but I maneuvered out of that one by not feeeeeeling like it on that day.

So I made this cake instead! It was a win-win, because I got to get a full twelve hours of sleep, which is the exact amount I need to not do murders on anyone near me. I think in the time it took me to get out of bed, my mom woke up, fed the cats, went to the gym, ran errands, picked up some extra groceries, solved global warming, and performed liposuction on the fattest of our two cats.

My mom, when I asked her what cake she wanted for her unbirthday, said she wanted a spice cake, which is the ugliest cake ever. You cannot make it attractive. But my mom does things like mail me cans of soup that I like, even though I am an adult and can buy my own soup, and so I owed it to her.

This recipe is from the Bentley Farm Cookbook by Virginia Williams Bentley. She wrote the gripping self-help book LET HERBS DO IT. Haven’t heard of it? Yeah, me neither. But she seems like a nice lady. Note at the bottom how pissed she is that people use box mixes. Guilty as charged, ma’am!

Steal your dad’s raisins from the fridge, measure out a cup. The next day, when he asks if we’re out of raisins, yell, “Eat something other than oatmeal for a change, old man!” But only if you are in the murdering, less-than-12-hours-of-sleep mode. My dad. A man of habit.

Dump yo raisins in a big saucepan (if it’s big enough, you get to make the cake in there, which is dumb because this is still a three bowl recipe) with one cup of water. Bring it to a boil.

When it comes to a boil, yank it off the burner and move it aside to cool. Do you like our stove? And our IKEA salt and pepper grinders? In this family, we GRIND our salt! I don’t know why, either. It’s awesome for popcorn, though. And heart disease.

While your raisin water is cooling, grab a bowl and add your flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. You could add nuts, too, but the only nuts we had were peanuts, and that seemed weird.

BOTH of those pill containers are my mother’s. We use them to weigh down the “dishes are clean” paper on the counter above the dishwasher.

Mmmmm. Flavored… flour.

In another bowl (dish three, what the crap, I have to wash out so many bowls), whisk one chicken egg.

Whisk in the sugar to combine…

…and dump it into your pot.

Oh, and here is where I remembered that the first step was to add the “salad oil” with the raisins and water when I brought that to a boil. I added it here, because to get the oil, I would have to bend down to reach the corner cabinet.

And as a massage therapist once told me, “Wow, you have serious issues for someone your age.”

BACK issues, mind.

Now, dump in your flour! I liked this shirt, and would have stolen it from my mother, but it was her birthday day, after all.

Also, it was dirty, and I didn’t feel like doing laundry.

Bake your cake in a 13×9 inch pan at 375 degrees F. Mrs. Bentley says to use a 12×9 inch pan, but I don’t have one of those. What I have is this Pyrex that I nabbed off my poor ole grandma when we were moving her to the new assisted living place. That’s also how we got our juicer, and our old microwave! And my electric kettle, which had been boiled empty so many times it was black inside.

I made a boiled icing for this cake, but it didn’t turn out so well- mostly because the only milk we have in our house is skim milk, which just didn’t want to combine with the butter and sugar. It came together okay, but it looked kind of gross so I didn’t take any pictures.

My mom was pleased. So pleased, in fact, that she told my dad, “Don’t bother to get me a cake for my birthday. Let’s just go out to Char Koon that night before we go to see Ned Lamont speak.

I saw the back of Ned Lamont’s head once at a wedding.

My boss at the time yelled out, “We love you, Lamont!”

And then I got to drive a GOLF CART!

Well, you know. I’ve learned to prioritize my excitements.

March 3, 2010

Other things I like to do

Filed under: Procrastinating — by Katie @ 4:29 pm

Oh my goodness, hella time has passed since I last posted here. I have been working on a post, but I got distracted by:

  • Revolutionary Road, which I am slowly working my way through. I saw the movie this summer, and boy, but it was depressing. I hate hate hate seeing movies before I read the book, but every time I tried to start this book I was hit with a memory of how depressed the movie made me, so I put it back down again. Now I’m more than halfway through, so I am emotionally invested and must finish it! However, I also had about eighteen of my Old Lady Mags (Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, mmmmmm, magazines) to read, so that got in the way, too.
  • My schoolwork! Did you know I am a student? I go to UMass Boston, which is nowhere near UMass Amherst, which is the school you’ve heard of. We don’t have dormitories because they are for sissies, so I spend about two hours each day commuting. Sometimes there are crazy people, and sometimes I am the crazy person. One time I got molested and thought I would be murdered! That is another story for another time.
  • The Vagina Monologues! It sounds ridiculous, but whatever, hating is for squares. I had tons of fun doing this last year, and so I’m doing it this year. I’m doing the monologue The Flood, and, um, I’ve memorized two paragraphs. I should get on that.
  • Actually, that’s it.

As you can see, I clearly have a very busy schedule, so if you will excuse me, I’ll get back to reading Jezebel and eating pretzels. I mean, DEFINITELY DOING MY HOMEWORK and TOTALLY MEMORIZING MY MONOLOGUE.

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