207 Foodie-The Critic Beyond Critique

Sarah,

Since you’ve blocked me from making comments on your food blog “The 207 Foodie”, I figured I’d grab your attention via Twitter so that you don’t lose the opportunity to learn and grow… or at least the opportunity to stop shitting on food, the cooks who make the food, punctuation and grammar. I’d also like this opportunity to offer up a challenge to you as well. More on that in a bit…

 

I’m going to say a few things that may sting, but as you’ve graduated from college with a BA in English I know you have at least one pair of big girl panties so you may want to put those on before reading any further. I know it’s hard for your generation to take criticism. Especially growing up wearing a helmet everywhere and playing “everybody ties there are no losers” t-ball your whole life but trust me, there are always winners and losers. The difference is the winners learn from their mistakes and move on, while the losers bury their heads in their collective asses.

 

You’re not a very good writer and your knowledge of food and the critiquing thereof is in question as well, and by “in question” I mean that pretty much sucks too. Your use of grammar and punctuation leads your reader to not only question whether your BA in English should really be BS, but also your mental well being.

 

I know this sucks ass because I’ve been there. Well I didn’t actually spend tens of thousands on a degree I’m not very proficient at, and thankfully I was blessed with the gift of taste buds and logical thinking. But I have been critiqued before. In my case it was by an editor, and I broke down their thoughtfully considered letter giving me honest criticism and turned it into a blog post shitting all over their thoughts. Yup…I was a douche nozzle. You chose to block me as a way of protecting your words, your…”babies”. The good news is in time, it’s going to get better if you’re open to criticism.

 

 I find it interesting when food bloggers critique restaurants, that restaurant’s food and by extension the people who make it… but are somehow above critiquing themselves. I have a word for those people, assholes. The good news is you don’t have to be an asshole your whole life. Believe it or not when someone takes the time to write a comment on something you have written it’s because they were moved to do so in some way by your words.  You choose to almost never acknowledge comments and I call horseshit. You’re in Maine now so don’t be afraid to pull the stick out of your ass and get your polite on.

 

Feel free to respond with a “thanks” if it’s a positive comment which I’m hopeful will happen for you soon, or at the very least “I’m sorry you feel that way, thanks for reading.” To ignore or block someone who has commented on your work without at least a “go screw yourself” is not only rude, but also ignorant. Just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Thus the challenge…

 

I’d like to do a joint review of a place of your choosing in Portland, Maine. Sight unseen and no edits from the other… then share each other’s blog link to see the other’s post. We don’t have to eat there at the same time or even meet each other. Just write about the same place. Think about it…. could be fun. I won’t mention you in my critique at all… you can feel free to bash me in yours.

 

I await a reply…

 

Sincerely,

Pavlov

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Diet Cheaters

I’ve been checking out health blogs lately to make sure someone hadn’t discovered a carb and calorie free way to make spaghetti tacos. While the blog posts were fine the thing I found shocking were the comments. People were talking about the different diets they were “trying” and discussing the merits or pitfalls of said diets in nearly the same sentence they admit to cheating. This was invariably followed by a sentiment of resolve to get back on that horse and keep riding while other comments cheered them on.

First off I’d like to reiterate my thought that a diet is a short term solution to a long term problem. If you’ve decided to cut a supersized fry, large soda and a Big Mac a day out of your daily routine until you lose enough weight to start doing it again, then Ronald isn’t the only clown at that restaurant. Thinking you can handle making smart long term food choices after a “diet” ends is setting yourself up for failure. You need to look at the root of the problem.

I looked long and hard at what and how much I was eating to determine my daily caloric intake. Then, I looked at the daily caloric needs for people of varying degrees of activity. According to my calculations I was eating enough food to fuel a three hundred pound hummingbird. I knew that being healthy was simple; the problem was I knew it was harder than sitting on the couch and wishing I was healthier. I needed to stop eating so much food, make smarter choices, and start exercising…for the rest of my life.

Those three things are what you need to do to be healthy and it sucks a fat one because you’ve got a long road ahead, but that’s the deal and you know it. When you “try” a diet and said diet doesn’t work because of this or that, it’s really just a convenient excuse to keep stuffing that hole in your face. This is especially true if you think diets are meant for cheating when it’s convenient, and then you blast them when you can’t fit your size 12 chair cushion into a pair of size 8 skinny jeans. Diets don’t work that way and in the end diets stop.  

Making the hard choice to change your entire lifestyle is not easy, because you’re trying to undo years of bad habits overnight. That said I’m not one of those people that will give you a hug you when you cheat or offer empty platitudes like “you can do it.” When you cheat, you’re screwing yourself so knock it off and stop sucking. You’re an adult for the love of Cheez Whiz, and you know better. There is no easy way to get in shape and there are zero shortcuts. It’s hard damned work and sacrifice, but in the end you can eat what you want and at the same time understand what extra calories cost.

 People are rarely given the keys to a brand new Ferrari just by walking into the dealership. People have to work really hard for them or at the very least, work pretty damned hard to steal one. Don’t expect results without the effort, because it’s never going to happen. If you want your body to be sexy like a Ferrari, get your Hyundai ass off the couch and work it until it is one. 

 

Week 11: Total lost to date is 54 lbs. (Eurofriends that’s 24.5kg or 19 liters of Mayonnaise) 

 

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Grilled squash, zucchini and Egplant to be used as “pasta” for lasagna.

 

 

Instagram Worthy Food and Dieting

I’d like to make all my meals “Instagram worthy” but like most people, I have a life. Sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t have time, patience or energy to be “Little Suzie Homemaker” with the perfect meal and look, I learned how to fold my napkin to look like a swan! Sometimes eating is just an annoyance and something you have to do, like taxes or listening to your neighbors talking about their trip to Barbados. Don’t worry about how pretty your food is but rather, think about what it is…Sustenance.

This goes doubly true for anybody who has made dietary changes in their lives. After about six weeks most people with a life are pretty much tapped on what to eat to keep their diet exciting and visually appealing. I’m no different and if I’m being honest I was tapping out after my second week having topped arugula or mixed greens with everything but cat hair and doughnuts. After a long day of dodging work and lying about the work I haven’t done to my boss, the last thing I want to do is think about dinner. I mean I didn’t think at work, why should I have to think in the privacy of my own home?

Armed with this brand of non-thinking and needing to make dinner, I’m oftentimes inspired to make it quick and painless. These nights are decidedly not meant for Instagram, as I’m sure nobody is scouring the internet looking for undercooked asparagus and overcooked haddock. That said it works in accomplishing the goal of getting sustenance. This frees my brain to go about important tasks like keeping me breathing and helping me picture the woman in 3B topless.

What I’m saying is this; not all of your meals have to be home runs served with a side of sexy, just think of it as function over form. When you have the energy, time and inspiration to make something fun for dinner you should run with it.  Feel free to break out the bird’s beak paring knife to get your tourne on and, when was the last time you used that mandoline?!  Use these moments to carry you through the drudgery of sliced chicken breast with green beans…again.

Even my pretty dishes turn mediocre as tomorrow’s lunch. They are cooked to a near perfect temperature then at lunch you give them three minutes of radar love with the end result the texture of silly putty.  My less pretty dishes are usually eaten alone and in shame but really… I’m just satisfying my appetite, nothing more. I think part of the reason I had/have a weight problem is because I made more out of food than it really was. Now I look at food as something I have to do and at times I can have some fun with…I only wish the same could be said for the woman in 3B. 

Week 10: Total lost is 51 pounds. (23.13kg or a Fiat…pretty sure any model)

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Sure… this is exactly how I eat every night… don’t you!? This is what I consider a success… and a pretty little plate of food.

 

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This is a typical night, slightly overcooked green beans and Haddock that had seen better days and toasted pine nuts… But you know what?! I liked it anyway.

Triggers and Dieting

After wrestling the remote from The Cat who was eighteen hours into a “Cops” marathon, I was sitting on the couch reviewing whether the day was a success or failure with regard to health. I had done all the things I was supposed to do like work out, went for a great hike, ate well all day with only dinner left to go and then it happened…I looked up to see a commercial for Marie Callender chicken pot pies… mmmmmmm… They triggered a positive emotional response that made me want one…ok two.

When I was cooking professionally I’d work grueling hours and at the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was decide what to cook. My routine consisted of shoving a couple pot pies in the oven and showering. After falling on the couch and pouring three or four Jameson Jumbos into my face it was time to eat. Normal people would probably consider eating a store bought pot pie straight forward but not me, I had a routine. I liked to flip them onto a plate and then mash them up so I got the little burnt edges mixed throughout and then ate it from the outside of the plate inward.

I ate them so often that after placing them on the checkout conveyor one day I heard, “Oh sweetheart, you need a woman to cook for you.” Huh?! I looked up to see the sweet old cashier woman that I always saw with a hurt puppy look on her face telling me my regular dinner fare was crap and I obviously didn’t know how to cook. From then on I used the self-checkout to hide my shame, I mean I was a professional cook for the love of bingo, I’m busy, tired and don’t have time at night to cook yet another meal. In my mind I was angered by the comment and justifying why I needed these little boxes of deliciousness.

But these golden pockets of love were my friends right?! They were a source of comfort, a childhood memory and an easy meal. But they were also something else, they were something I used to try to fill an emotional void with…a void that contained lost love, loss, hurt feelings, pain, conflict, a shitty station in life, depression and personal angst. In retrospect, calling pot pies a friend was akin to calling a pet lion a friend then waking to find he ate both your legs and you’re just thankful because he didn’t kill you.

Then yesterday it all just kinda hit me, I saw a family with a cart loaded with frozen processed food and not a fresh vegetable in sight. The tragedy of it all was that everyone in that family was dangerously overweight. As they were walking by I couldn’t help but notice they had pot pies, and for the first time in my life…they made me angry. They represented my unhealthy past and all those things in that emotional void I never could fill. Now I realize they weren’t just pot pies, they and every other frozen processed craptastic thing were triggers for self-destructive behavior and from now on they will only serve to remind me of all the harm I did to myself. Do you have food triggers? If you wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go put my pet lion on e-bay …then go for a hike.