By Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Experience Life
I knew things had reached a low point the day my husband offered to pour me a bowl of cereal for breakfast and, while peering into the cupboard, asked: “Do you want sticks and twigs, sticks and berries, or just sticks?”
I decided to take a pass on sticks and devote an extra three minutes to making some steel-cut oatmeal, even if I was just doing it the lazy way -in the microwave. I emptied part of a bag of frozen blueberries into the oatmeal and topped it with milk: Mercy! I suddenly had a delicious breakfast made of real food, not a tragic meal of something that looked like bedding for hamsters. Now that wasn’t that hard, was it?
No, in terms of the cooking and time, it wasn’t hard at all. Conceptually, though, it was sort of tough.
Like so many modern people, I, too, am prone to falling into the trap of thinking that eating healthfully means sacrifice, scarcity and unpleasantness and, conversely, that eating happily means lying to your cardiologist.
Cookbook author, chef and cooking-school tutor Myra Kornfeld has made a career of trying to show people a third path: “It’s true,” she says. “People do think that something healthy is just going to be sort of sad and not flavorful or fun or luscious. But I don’t think there’s any conflict between luscious eating and healthy eating. That’s why my cookbooks have words like “hedonist” and “voluptuous” in them -people need to know that good food doesn’t have to be monastic.”
Kornfeld, who’s written The Voluptuous Vegan (Clarkson Potter, 2000) and The Healthy Hedonist (Simon & Schuster, 2005), has, for her latest effort, taken on the third rail of American food: the holidays.
I call the holidays the third rail because it seems to me the particular place where ideas of abundance and scarcity clash: If we skip the eggnog, candied yams, appetizers and desserts, we’re “good” -and lonely and deprived. If we have it all, we’re “bad” -though warm, happy and a well-loved part of the celebration. Sound familiar? But Kornfeld insists it doesn’t have to be this hard.