Short Order: Making a virtue out of good eating

I have from time to time bewailed the less than optimal eating habits of colleagues at the Post - for example, a reliance on fast food such as the infamous mana hama in all its chemical glory .

cup pasta 88 (photo credit: )
cup pasta 88
(photo credit: )
I have from time to time bewailed the less than optimal eating habits of colleagues at the Post - for example, a reliance on fast food such as the infamous mana hama in all its chemical glory - so it gives me pleasure to report that some staffers are seeing the light. Over the past few weeks, around lunchtime, I have been seeing bags of raw vegetables such as peppers, carrots and cucumbers appearing on journalists' desks. While it is a mistake to try and get through the working day on these crunchies alone, it's an encouraging start to better office eating. A container of humous or tehina makes an excellent dip. "According to my mother," a colleague told me, "when you feel those hunger pangs - that's when you're actually losing weight." I'm not so sure. Some experts say that acute hunger drives the body into "starvation mode," in which it clings for dear life to its fat stores. Feeling hungry and denying oneself food carries a sense of virtue for many; but I think that sooner or later it leads to a breaking point at which the denier rebels and stuffs him or herself silly in an all-out binge to make up for the denial that went before. Less dramatic but more important, I think, is weaning oneself from the need to go on eating until one "couldn't possibly manage another bite." The signal to stop ought to come after hunger has been satisfied, and not too long after eating continues for the sheer pleasure of it. I recently invited a Russian friend to dinner and saw that he was put out at being expected to down a substantial amount of food at the end of the day. By way of apology, he smiled sweetly, and explained: "In Russia we say, 'Eat your breakfast; give your lunch to your friend; and your dinner to your enemy.'" THOSE WHO cherish fond memories of Something Special will remember Madeline Wetherhorn, who used to run the catering business with her friend Merla Estreicher. Now returned to her first profession of teaching, Madeline, who lives in Elazar with her husband, Aryeh, has a motto for everyday cooking: tasty and simple. "Since I stopped catering it's the easy things that are the most enjoyable," she said. To which Short Order can only reply, Amen. This recipe is from the late Evelyn Goldman, "a pediatrician and dear friend"; the one after makes an appealing side dish. QUICK CHOC CAKE Dry ingredients: 3 cups flour 6 Tbsp. cocoa 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt scant 2 cups sugar Put all these into your mixer. Liquid ingredients. Into a 4-cup measuring cup, put: 2 cups cold water 1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. canola oil 2 tsp. vanilla 2 Tbsp. plain (citrus) vinegar Mix the liquid ingredients with a fork and pour all at once into the dry ones, starting the mixer immediately on the slowest setting. Mix just until no dry bits are visible. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to ensure that none of the dry stuff has stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Pour into an oiled and lightly floured oblong pan 27 cm. by 33 cm. and bake at 180 for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness using a toothpick in the center; the cake is done when the top is springy and the edges have pulled away from the sides. EASY-PEASY POTATOES 6-8 medium white potatoes 2 or 3 medium sweet potatoes 2 large onions 1⁄2 cup canola oil 1 whole head of garlic, separated into cloves, with the skins still on coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste sweet paprika Peel the potatoes and onions and cut into fairly large chunks. Line an oblong pan with baking paper (niyar afiya). Scatter all the vegetables in the pan in a single layer. Pour the oil over them and sprinkle with the seasonings. Bake at 200 for 40-45 minutes, turning twice with a wooden spoon. To speed up the cooking process, add a quarter-cup of water about halfway through. IN THE twinkling of an eye, one's life alters. Thus after years of buying 3%-fat milk, our family has switched to 1% without any noticeable traumas. The first bottle was bought to accommodate a young visitor on a "very strict diet," and the new pattern stuck. The fact that this milk has added vitamin D, unlike the 3% variety, no doubt helped. [email protected]