Oh the foods that you’ll eat!

You think burdock is unusual, you say?

You think the slender pungent root of the wild and prickly and dangerous burdock plant is food fit for farm animals and wild rodents?

(If you taste it raw–like I did last week in an effort to ascertain if it was really burdock or its look-alike cousin horseradish root–you will skyrocket to the ceiling of your house, grabbing on to a ceiling fan or cobweb, and squirm in agony, wondering why you attempted such a foolhardy feat.  You may even spit the raw root in the nearest sink in pungent distaste.  Never fear!  If you sliver it–sliver it, do you hear me?–and add it cooked to dishes, you and your liver might like it.)

I cannot believe I am revealing my cupboards to you!

If you don’t have burdock in your refrigerator right now, do you have wakame or arame or kombu in your cupboard?  You don’t?  You don’t you know what these creatures are?

If you haven’t already excitedly clicked on the above Wikipedia links, I shall reveal.

They are seaweed, folks.  You add them to your soups and stews, too.  You include them with your boiling beans.  You may even soak and add them to sautes.  They are filled with vitamins and trace minerals.  Your deepest organs appreciate them.

What other oddities sit in your cupboards?  Do you utilize shoyu on your vegetables?  Japanese soy sauce, dear reader.  How about kuzu root starch to thicken your sauces?

Do you eat grains like quinoa and millet and kasha and bulgur and amaranth as hot cereal in your bleary-eyed mornings?  Smothered with saucy beans at supper?  You don’t?  My dears!  You aren’t still eating the Standard American Diet, are you?

2012 shall be your culinary year in which to experiment with new foods!

(Yes!  I have offered another resolution for you.  However, this one is easy.  Every week–if you’re adventuresome–try a new food.  If you’re not wild & crazy, try a new healthy taste every month.  If you don’t have an open mind, all you have to do is sample something new once in 2012.  If your mind refuses to like it, you must continue sampling until it discovers something it likes.  Then you may quit, satisfied that you’ve discovered a new healthy option.)

How many of you eat tempehTofuSeitan?  These are regulars in our household.  They are brim-filled with delightful protein, and steal the place in your heart which formerly adored solely meat products.  (OK, you gluten-free folks, disregard the Seitan suggestion.  I understand how we’ve been wheat-blasted for too long and some of our bodies can not stomach these particular waving fields of grain.)

Oh no--it's getting worse--I'm showing you the insides of our refrigerator!

Do you add miso to your soups?  Ancient Japanese ladies living past the 100-year mark attribute their long-long-long life to the sizzling biotic power of this aged culinary creature.  If the barley miso (wa la la!) is too much for you, turn toward the mild white miso and sup.

What else is in our refrigerator on this January morning never before experienced by innocent taste buds?  How about tahini?  Yes sir, that peanut-butter like paste made of sesame seeds that you mix with garbanzo beans and lather on crackers for a late-afternoon snack.  To die for, yes, to die for on certain lazy late afternoons.

(Pardon me, I’ve already forgotten what else is in our refrigerator.  Grabbed a handful of lime-salt almonds gifted by our son and his wife at Christmastime on the last run to the kitchen.  Must not grab any more food this time.  Excuse me.  Back immediately.)

So much for self-control!  I grabbed another handful of the almonds and this time added some dried cherries, a gift from the mother-in-law.  Mmmm!

We've all sampled fresh lambsquarters from the garden, haven't we? Never again call it a weed!

Discovered kale lounging in the refrigerator, daring me to boil or simmer or bake it for lunch.  You have also enjoyed mustard greens and collards, haven’t you?  I am sure you haven’t reached your current age without blessing your innards with dark leafy greens such as these.

You have?  To the store, readers, to the store!

What else?

(Third helping of almonds.  They are SO delicious!  Enough, enough, enough!)

If anyone has eaten umeboshi plums, I offer a special reward.  You are an adventuresome eater (or healthy aficionado) beyond all imagination!  Congratulations!  If you eat it regularly, I should look around for a prize to send.

How about amasake (a creamy sweet, fermented rice beverage) or mochi ( a rice snack, yum, yum) or Ezekiel bread?  Never mind about Ezekiel bread.  I am sure every one of you readers has bought a $5 loaf and munched it with delight.  It is made of sprouted grains and brims–I say brims–with so much health that your intestines will quiver!

You keep Ezekiel bread in the freezer. OK, we keep 3-4 thawed slices in the frig.

Enough food talk.  It’s time for food action!  (For me, this means ceasing snacking on almonds and taking some photos of these foods, for your viewing pleasure. It means seeking links to explain all the food oddities for you, like a good journalist.  For you it means taking the 2012 Healthy Foods Challenge if you dare.  You may report back here any and all new foods you eat in 2012.  Don’t worry about commenting too many times.)

As Dr. Seuss, I’m sure would have said–Oh the foods that you’ll eat!

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About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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28 Responses to Oh the foods that you’ll eat!

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    I”ve not experienced the seaweeds. They appear too expensive in my head for the small amounts and the potential for rejection. Though, some of the foods I eat now, came from someone who eats a macrobiotic diet, so perhaps my beans were indeed cooked with it. I skip the soy, for the most part. I don’t digest it well, it messes with my thyroid and estrogen levels. I found sesame seeds that aren’t pnut contaminated and I would like to find a way to make the sesame paste so that I might make tahini for myself. If you make your own it would be wonderful if you’d share the recipe. What does amaranth taste of?

    • Dana says:

      1. If you have a Vita-Mix blender or other awesome food processor, you can make your own tahini by simply grinding sesame seeds into a paste. If they are not pasting up properly, add a bit of sesame (or other oil) while you make it, and then put the mixture in the fridge so the oil will separate out. Skim some off the top and voila! Homemade tahini.

      2. Amaranth has the most delicate, nutty flavour. You can either cook it like rice (I use a 1:1 ratio for the grain to water– takes about 20 minutes), or you can surprise your tastebuds and POP it like popcorn! The grains are very tiny, but if you put them in a dry skillet on medium heat, they will puff up and pop just like mini-popcorn. Add the puffed kernels to energy bars, in oatmeal, or as a sprinkle on top of salads. YUM YUM YUM!!!!!

      • Elisa's Spot says:

        Thank you! I’ll try it in my food processor. I thought maybe the tiny grains would just stick under the blade.

        • Dana says:

          If you have a coffee grinder, you can also “prep” the seeds by giving them a pulse or two in there (clean, of course). That will help break them down and make them stick together, so when you transfer over to the food processor, they will already be more paste-like.

  2. Sybil says:

    My niece and nephew would know about all those foods. When I go to their house and open the cupboard or fridge, I am greeted by foods I’ve never heard of. They know about foods and what to do with them. I am embarrassed by my ignorance of what is good for me.

    I discovered quinoa (keen-wah) last year and do have it from time to time. I used to make my own hummus and tahini is used in that, but I never knew I could just spread it on a cracker ! I no longer make my own hummus as I found the most delicious edamame hummus at Costco. Oh wait, edamame has been a new discovery. Just bought my first bag of frozen edamame beans to add to stir frys (fries?) …

    Boy, you have a clean fridge !

  3. Kathy – We have many similar items in our cupboards and refrigerator. The HUGE difference is how doggone neat and organized yours are!

  4. Celeste says:

    Ok, I am impressed that you are able to find these foods in the great north woods! I have tried many of them, eat some regularly, and others…eh, not so much. And yes, your frig is very clean!

  5. Heather says:

    I’ve eaten many of these, and have several in my own pantry, but I just added three things to my grocery list :) Thanks for enlightening me!

  6. Brenda Hardie says:

    Gosh…guess I’m old school. Haven’t even heard of most of these items you mentioned, and some I’ve heard of but haven’t tried. A few I have tried…the kale, mustard greens and collards…no thanks…tried them and didn’t like them. Have had quinoa and it’s alright. Miso as well. Tried a couple versions of Ezekial bread, along with a couple similar breads (found at Trader Joe’s) and some were good and some were not. A friend of mine is grinding her own grains to make all her bread now and she says it is making a huge difference in her family’s life…all good. So that is something I’d like to try. The millet, kasha and bulgur I have tried and it’s alright depending on how it’s cooked. You mentioned horseradish…I like that…my grampa used it often :) My Dad knows someone who makes their own and he shares with me now. And the dried cherries are wonderful, as are almonds (any nuts!) But the other food items are totally unknown by me. Guess I better educate myself and be more open to trying new things. My fridge is pretty empty right now…so I took the opportunity to give it a good cleaning so it looks brand new :) Just begging for groceries now! Grocery shopping happens later today :) Thank you for the food education Kathy!

  7. Bonny says:

    Kathy,

    I have learned a new culinary art…preparing food raw! it is great and uses many of the things you stated. My current culinary delight are Kale Chips which even the students devoured. My second is sweet potato chips which are a delight. Then there is the raw cake…not the batter silly, but one made of soaked walnuts, cacoa powder and a few other delictables.
    j
    Bonny K

  8. I have to admit. I’m not a very daring eater. I like to play it safe. I tend to eat the same foods over and over again–most of which you don’t mention here. However, I DO know to eat almonds and I DO eat them–at least 15 almonds a day.

    Great reminders, though, Kathy. I will do better. I will send Sara to the store for at least one of these foods you mention.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  9. Colleen says:

    Most of these foods are regulars in our house too. The variety of foods available today is amazing. Let alone what we can often find in our own back yard. No excuse for boredom…… as long as one feels like cooking and/or preparing, which is another story all together :)

  10. gigi says:

    I shop tomorrow and will look for something new. I tried dragonfruit last year :-)

    P.S. Thank you for the holiday card.

  11. Karma says:

    What a brave woman you are, showing the cupboards and fridge! I would be embarrassed to photograph mine, since they are in a general state of clutter. (Yikes, the scariness I scraped, yes scraped, out of my “baking” cupboard just recently!) I must wonder, were you such an adventurous eater when your children lived at home? I can’t imagine telling mine we were having such things as amasake or wakame for dinner, LOL! I would definitely like to try new things, but **SIGH** I don’t think many would be well-met in this house. Do I get any points for eating hummus (made with tahini) or tabouli (made with bulgar)? ;-)

  12. Barbara says:

    I’ve tried many of those and have liked them! But unfortunately the spouse has turned up his nose. Any suggestions for converting reluctant husbands?

  13. Dawn says:

    Ok. I need to do some research! You are inspiring. I will see what I can add to our decidedly old fashioned diet!

  14. Marianne says:

    Great idea, Kathy. I’m up for a food challenge since the focus is on my diet for 2012. :)

  15. Munira says:

    What an inspiring post this is Kathy, you make me want to run to the supermarket and buy hitherto unheard of foods right now! Also to give my fridge a makeover!
    Not saying I don’t like trying out new things, but I do feel that it’s too easy to stop caring and fall into a food rut. Planning meals takes time and I find myself sticking with tried and tested just because it’s quicker.
    Thanks for the awesome pep talk! :D

  16. Elisa's Spot says:

    Kathy??

    Just 5 words–The amazing power of suggestion.

    We could rule the world Kathy!

  17. janet says:

    my friend Suzi sent me over here, and I feel right at home. All my favorite foods! Nice to know there is another house out there one could walk into and start cooking!

  18. Robin says:

    Except for the elusive burdock (elusive only because I fear I mis-identification), you could have been going through my cupboards and fridge. You’ve named a lot of my favorite kitchen staples. :)

  19. Kathy, you’ve got the cleanest refrigerator I’ve seen in a very long time!

    We’ve been on a culinary adventure for the past couple of months – kale was the last new thing we tried – it was good in a curry recipe but it was a little too spicy for Tim. We’re trying at least one new vegan recipe a week, and had a great tempeh “cassoulet”/”confit” recipe recently. Cooking is so much more satisfying knowing the results are way healthier than our old diet was, and our list of favorites is growing.

    A few things you mentioned were new to me so I will be on the lookout for them. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  20. I have tried, repeatedly, a more healthy diet. Not as healthy as yours, I think, but still. Husband, however, balks. Loudly. Frequently. Not in a friendly manner. I gave up. We just eat the standard, not-so-good for you diet now. I’ll try again another day. Or in my next life.

  21. Dana says:

    Kathy,
    This list sounds a lot like my own kitchen cupboards. I have been taking some “after” photos of our kitchen and am planning my own cupboard and fridge reveal for the near future!
    Happy and healthy eating to you,
    Dana

  22. sonali says:

    Kathy I have not even heard of the foods you’ve mentioned here. Oh, your refrigerator is so well arranged! Its nice to try out new food, Perhaps I shall try to search if I can find some of the items you have mentioned. For this year, I also wish to consider a healthy diet with a good variety. What say Kathy? :)

  23. Kathy says:

    Thank you all for your open minds, ready to try new and healthy foods. (And some of you already eat this way–lets pat ourselves over and over again on our backs.)

    Macrobiotics teach us that our minds have interfered with our taste buds–and thus we really don’t know what is good and healthy any more. We crave salt, sugar, fat. If we can cleanse or palette and mind, we can begin to eat in a more healthy way where our body will tell us exactly what it needs to be healthy.

    As for the clean refrigerator, it’s simply because I carefully planned to eat ALL of our food before we went to Georgia for Christmas. The food disappeared; the dirty shelves appeared. Thus, it became utterly convenient to clean the refrigerator, and even more acceptable to show you all a photo.

    I am also really really lucky that Barry is an adventuresome eater. Without his utmost cooperation, it would have been very difficult to eat like this. (He revels in showing his co-workers his “odd” food!)

    I loved reading all your comments. Thank you, every one.

  24. susan says:

    This was wonderful! I actually eat all that stuff – most of it anyway. I also eat a LOT of hemp and chia seeds.
    Hugs
    Suzen

  25. Kathy says:

    Thanks again. I really appreciate you all!

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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