Eat Dinners, Not Menus
I look forward to spending more time exploring the various aspects of the ‘Humans Are Not Broken’ philosophy. There are so many things to talk about: food, health, and fitness; topics of real wealth and practical tips.
Along the way, I will try to be mindful of this warning:
“Intellectualisation creates a gap or lack of rapport between you and your life. You think about things so much that you get into the state where you are eating the menu instead of the dinner, where you value money more than wealth, and are generally confusing the map with the territory.” – Alan Watts
This quote from Watts merges ideas from Dr. Trigant Burrow, a psychoanalyst, and from Alfred Korzybski, author of General Semantics (and, some say, cult leader).
I think we’re going to have a lot of fun here at Humans Are Not Broken, so I hope you’ll stick around, sign up for email updates, subscribe to the RSS feed, or do whatever you prefer doing to keep up with the blogs you follow.
For example, recently I published an article called, You Might Be Getting Too Good for Paleo, that has received some good feedback. Buried down in the text, I wrote:
Part of the problem with the Paleo(tm) approach as opposed to the Paleo(lithic) approach is that the Paleo(tm) approach is a business. It’s a business that is seeking clicks, views, booksales, pins, likes, tweets, and every manner of marketing bullshit that ought to have nothing to do with what influences your health decisions.
This is something that has been on my mind, I expect to explore this further. In the meantime, let’s talk about intellectualizing our foods, and then I’ll show you some photos of the meals that I’ve been eating for the past week or so.
Here’s the first line of that Watts quote again:
“Intellectualisation creates a gap or lack of rapport between you and your life.”
Remember, intellectualization is a flight mechanism (in psychology), whereby we run into the arms of reason to avoid uncomfortable emotions. We change the focus of a situation to words and ideas, instead of the situation itself. This is something I warn against frequently. If you’ve followed my work, you may have heard me say: never confuse words, ideas, and things.
If you are intellectualizing your diet, may I suggest that you leave your words and ideas about nutrition and biochemical processes far, far away from the dinner table? Make your choices about what you are going to eat before you even step foot on the stage of your kitchen.
At the table, there is nothing left for you to do but to enjoy your food. Enjoy those around you.
And here you go. This is what has been sustaining me over the last week or so. And by the way, I feel INCREDIBLE!
Let’s start with this meal (below) consisting of a delicious pan-fried salmon with mixed greens (Swiss chard in chicken stock with bacon), roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli.
It was a fantastic combination — the dill set the tone, and everything else complemented nicely. Try adding chicken stock to your cooked greens instead of plain water. It really softens the iron flavor, and provides a richer taste experience.
Next (below), was an experimental dish that tasted a lot better than what I was able to visually capture with my iPhone. Ever get a hankering for pasta? Tired of pretending with squash? Me, too. Well, here’s all the flavor of a grass-fed, meaty, Sunday sauce over roasted potatoes accompanied by a crunchy salad with EVOO, balsamic, and seasoning. Win!
I’m not opposed to trying this with a good rice noodle, but this way, instead of pretending your dish is some semolina variant, you can come awfully close to reality by pretending it’s a plate of potato gnocchi.
This (below) was my version of ‘breakfast for dinner,’ and I can bet you know whose night it was to do dishes. Crappy plastic forks can ruin a good meal, but paper plates have never interfered with my enjoyment of what lays on top of them.
Here we have two over-medium eggs resting atop a portion of roasted potatoes. When the yolks burst, both egg and potato are transformed into something far greater than the sum of their parts. They are joined on their faux dinnerware by very real matchstick zucchini sautéed with almond slices. Also on the plate: roasted and then gently mashed yams, which play the role of dessert like Lee Strasberg graduates.
I never get tired of this combination.
All right, this next dinner was awesome. Below, we find pan seared lamb and, count them, three types of starch…along with an added bonus of roasted vegetables featuring sliced Brussels sprouts. If you ask me, sliced and roasted is how Brussels sprouts should always be prepared.
Note: my definition of always isn’t always always.
Now, the grass-fed lamb was just off the hook. Trader Joe’s near my home carries this lamb from New Zealand. It’s amazing. Very flavorful, but I wouldn’t describe it as gamey. I’m a huge fan, and the price is right.
There are left-over roasted potatoes and yams. And a dish of scalloped potatoes baked in chicken stock with peas and butter. The roasted vegetable medley adds some crunch, some olive oil goodness, and some nice color to the plate.
Isn’t this a beautiful dish?
Below is a meal of pan-fried cod with scalloped yams and crispy garlic hasselback potatoes. I’m a huge fan of cod. Sometimes, I pour a little acid over them…maybe a drizzle of balsamic or rice vinegar. But, never malt vinegar. The gluten (who knew?) in malt vinegar is enough to twist my stomach into knots for an hour.
The hasselback potatoes were garlicky good. Amy found the recipe on The Food Network and wanted to give them a shot. We liked them, but haven’t had them again since. They might have been a bit too much work for what we got in return.
I’ve already described everything on the dish below, because they’ve appeared separately in previous meals we’ve already covered, so I won’t say much about this combination. Except, I do remember the lemons. We snagged them (with permission, of course) from my neighbor’s tree, and they really livened up this already-amazing plate of color, flavor, and nourishment — and I’m a real sucker for all three.
This was a simple little dinner that really did the trick one night. It’s just some roasted potatoes with grass-fed ground-beef chili served with a fresh green salad. This meal is similar to the pasta sauce and meatballs over potatoes, but with a different kick.
One of the beautiful thing about white potatoes is how well they go with just about anything, and for me personally, the interesting fact that I never seem to tire of them.
By the way, this is an absolutely phenomenal bean-less chili recipe that Amy created, and I’m sure she’ll be posting it here sometime soon <wink, wink>. Amy’s recipes never miss. She’s a genius.
All right, and I should probably go ahead and throw this last one in (below), since it was quite possibly the climax of the past week’s meals in the Coppola home. Gordon Ramsey’s scrambled eggs. Quite possibly life-changing. I already wrote about them here. My little ladies call them Dad Eggs. No matter what you wish to call them, you should try them if you haven’t already.
So are you thinking, “Man, this dude eats a lot of white potatoes!?”
Maybe. I’d say about a pound a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. They’re full of nourishing energy, and they even go a long way toward lowering the cost of feeding a family of 6 — we all know how expensive grass-fed, premium cuts of beef can be.
Are potatoes Paleo? I’ll save that discussion for another time. Or, many other times.
Typically, I skip breakfast and have my first meal at 11, which usually consists of leftovers, bone-broth based soups (like Amy’s Pho Recipe), sardines, fruit…that sort of thing. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a more colorful, balanced, healthy, nutrient-dense cornucopia of real food in my life. I’m very fortunate in that regard.
I’d love to share! Are there any recipes you would like Amy and me to write up? Feel free to let me know. Also, if you eat sweet potatoes, yams, and purple potatoes — but not any white potatoes — I’d love to hear why. Faith? Science? N=1?