TMI? GERD or Acid Reflux, health coverage, etc
April 19, 2010, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Life

Filed under the “getting old” category, I think I’ve developed a sensitivity to red wine, which makes me very, very sad. Red wine with meat, chocolate, or cheese are combinations that I love, but I’m noticing lately that it might not love me back.

I hate to be gross, so don’t keep reading if you’re squeamish.

I noticed that the last couple of times I’ve drunk red wine, I’ve had issues.  My chest would feel tight and heartburn-ish.  At first I chalked it up to maybe heartburn from the heavy food.  Then about a month ago after red wine with dinner, I coughed and well, a little bit of vomit came up and I ran to the bathroom (luckily we were at home). It freaked me out; it had never happened before. Tonight I had one glass of wine that came free with my dinner, and I noticed I was burping a lot and feeling like my entire dinner could come up with any of those burps.

Sorry, I warned you it was gross!

Anyway, I came home and did a simple search on red wine and acid reflux, and there were a lot of hits that came up.  When I was younger, I also had trouble tolerating tomato sauce – another food that is commonly linked to acid reflux/GERD.  I’m wondering if I can live with just avoiding those foods or if I truly need to take medication.  Going without red wine is very sad for a foodie, but I’d rather do that than take drugs.

Some Internet sources say to just avoid the trigger foods, others say it can cause tissue damage if untreated.  I know, I should talk to my doctor.  But being young and mobile, I haven’t had a steady doctor since I left my pediatrician 8 years ago.  And I’m finishing school in 6 weeks, which means my health coverage will end and I will need a different doctor after that (if I even have health insurance), so I feel like it’s not even worth it.  I guess I’ll just suck it up and try to squeeze in as many appointments as I can while I still have insurance.  Until then, no more red wine for me 😦


February 4, 2010, 11:39 am
Filed under: Life

Over the past month, I was interning in DC again. Unlike the summer when I was in a dorm, this time I had a room in a condo with a real kitchen. That made the eating situation marginally better, but still not great. Not a lot of spices to work with, no pantry stash, and cooking for one. I basically cooked 4 times while I was there – one big meal that I would eat leftovers from all week long. And because I couldn’t make anything too complicated, the meals were really boring:

– Pasta w/sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, spinach, blue cheese
– broccoli chicken rice casserole thing
– pasta w/jar sauce
– frozen veggie burgers w/turkey bacon & the rest of the blue cheese

Breakfast was cereal or toast, lunch was always boring homemade sandwiches. The rest of the dinners were filled in by eating out, or my bosses taking me out for happy hour and I’d fill up on the cheap happy hour food.

By the time I got home, I just wanted to be back in my own kitchen and make a real dinner. But I was home for almost a week before I got that chance. Groceries were low and we were eating out for the first few days*. My palate was tired from over a month of restaurants and processed foods. (We were traveling around in December as well) When Brian asked me where I wanted to go for dinner the other night, I really just wanted a home cooked meal.

Finally made it to the grocery store. Last night’s dinner, my first self-cooked, real meal of 2010. It wasn’t very elaborate: frozen cheese tortellini w/lima bean sauce, roasted carrots. The lima bean sauce is interesting – lima (or fava) beans simmered w/stock, thyme, and a few spoonfuls of cooked rice. Then pureed and grated parm is stirred in. Recipe is from Food 2.0, a cookbook that I love in theory, but for some reason never cook from.

I served it with roasted carrots. This was the first time I ever tried roasting carrots. Probably the first time even serving carrots as a side dish because I used to think I hated cooked carrots. (But I always ate them if they were covered in demiglace next to a steak, lol) Anyway these were awesome. They were farmers’ market carrots, so they were already very sweet – they made the kitchen smell all sweet when I was cutting them. I just cut them into chunks, tossed them in a tiny bit of oil, roasted for 15 mins while I cooked the rest of the dinner, and sprinkled parsley & sea salt on top. SO good.

Tonight, I have a craving for bibimbap but I can’t find that sauce anywhere – you know, that magical smoky stuff  they give you on the side that transforms a bowl of rice & vegetables into the best hangover cure ever. I’m going to marinate tofu in some bottled “Korean BBQ Sauce” that I found from Whole Foods, throw it together with the last of the carrots and frozen spinach for a korean-inspired rice bowl. I’m so happy to be back!

** One of our regular Providence restaurants had a special: head cheese tacos. A rectangle of head cheese, battered & deep-fried, in a taco. Brian ordered it and I had a few bites, but only after I worked myself up. It was actually good. (good thing it’s dark in there so you can’t see what the head cheese looks likes) We found out that the place made the headcheese themselves.
** Also, we visited my mom the day after I got back and she made a Lao chicken soup with thick udon-type noodles. The noodles (homemade; my job was to slice them) are made with starchy tapioca and rice flour. When you cook them in the soup, the starch from the noodles turns the clear chicken broth into a thick porridgy stew. (oh look, found a picture)

Life Lessons
July 20, 2009, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Life, Tips

(subtitle: or, How I Might Have Hepatitis)

Hello class. I have three lessons to share with you today:

1)   When is it ever appropriate to ask a complete stranger for some of their food?? Unless you are homeless, or someone is holding a sign that says FREE FOOD FOR STRANGERS, the answer is NEVER.

2)   Walking across town with a pizza box is like wearing a sign that says PLEASE START A CONVERSATION WITH ME.

3)   Based on my lifelong research, I conclude that going out alone only turns out good approximately 20% of the time. The other 80%=having to talk to creepers.

For the first few weeks of living alone, I didn’t go out much but I’m finally started to try and venture out more. But yesterday I was reminded of why I don’t go out alone. Many times this summer, I’ve thought about sitting at a bar to have a drink, but then always chicken out at the last minute.  Yesterday I had some time to kill in between errands, so I went to this restaurant/bar where people also hang out with laptops. I sit at the bar and order a mojito. A man 4 seats away from me tells me that it looks good, and I politely smile and say yes it is. Then a few minutes later, three sips into my drink, he sneakily ambles over to me and starts talking to me, then picks up my drink and says “Can I try it? Can I try your drink” and then drinks it through the stirry straws as I fumble incredulously.

Continue reading

Tactile Dinner
July 15, 2009, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Life

I finally went to the Tactile Dinner performance that I talked about last week. The Tactile Dinner is a play that is part of the Fringe Festival, a theater festival of experimental, postmodern, anything-goes performances. It was less of a “dinner” and more of a play with audience participation.

I won’t say anything the deep intellectual meaning of this experimental art project, but I can say that as an amateur cook the it raised my curiosity about experiencing food without eating it.

I’m a little torn between giving everything away and sharing the experience with people who can’t go. Eh. I don’t have a lot of readers, so option 2 wins. Read on for the details: Continue reading

DC foodventures
June 4, 2009, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Life

I’m settling into my digs in Washington DC, but the food situation is bad. Bad even before getting to the cooking part. It’s difficult to get to a grocery store, and I had a really bad experience trying to get grocery delivery. Farmer’s markets are excellent, but a little bit far away so I can only get to them on weekends when they are of course, mobbed. I bought some peaches the other day and… OMG. Unlike any peach I have ever eaten up north.  It reminded me of reading James & the Giant Peach and the part where he takes a bite from inside the peach, and I always *knew* that I had never experienced a peach like that. And now, I know. It was a million times sweeter and like, buttery in the mouth. 

Eating out was also hard. Brian came with me to help me move in, and he stayed for about a week. We’re tight on cash, so we wanted to keep things affordable and it was difficult finding good places to eat for under $20 per person. We did find places, but it took a lot of research. I also get the feeling that DC isn’t much of a food town (I’m opening myself wide open for some flaming). Maybe it’s just not a food town for my tastes. I felt like with Providence, Seattle, and Chicago, I did my food research and quickly found lots of places within my budgets that I just had to go. That didn’t happen with DC. Maybe it’s just a suit-and-tie, country club kinda town with food to match.

What’s great about DC though? HAPPY HOUR. We don’t have happy hour specials in New England, so this is my first experience and it totally makes up for lack of good food.

It’s a crappy cell phone picture, but check out this bento lunch that I got today from a cafe/lunch spot Teaism:

Japamerican bento box to go

So cute! It’s definitely American-sized though; too much food. Fried chicken with a ginger dipping sauce, brown rice with furakake, cold sweet potato salad with miso dressing, and cucumber salad. It was $10, which is a decent price for getting good quality, sort-of nutritious food. There are tons of places around here with cheaper lunch specials, but they all just seem really unhealthy or gross. I can’t wait to try the one with seared rare tuna, which costs the same.

I had an AH-HA moment tonight. I bought a bunch of fresh peppermint from the farmer’s market because it looked and smelled so good, even though I had no idea what to do with it. So I just put a few leaves in a cup, poured in boiling water, and it was sooo good. I happen to love mint tea and now I can drink it all day every day for like $1 a bunch.

Hopefully with more time for exploring, and more money, I’ll find better things to eat.

Where have I been?
May 22, 2009, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Life

I’ve neglected this blog for months, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating and cooking. Where have I been lately? Conquering the internet, mostly: My blogging/content-producing energy is being sucked up by school duties and my social media job, and most exciting news is that I’m on my way to Washington DC to do work on internet policy.

The cooking situation in DC is going to be a little strange. I’m living in a dorm that is equipped with a minifridge and microwave, and my kitchen will be a communal kitchen on my floor. And I’m only bringing one small frying pan, a rectangular cake/casserole pan, a small pot, and a small santoku knife. Oh, and the Magic Bullet blender. Plus, I’ll rely on public transportation, so my lazy ass isn’t carrying anything too heavy. It’ll be like a little experiment in what kinds of half-decent food I can make under these conditions.

Thanksgiving re-cap
December 3, 2008, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Life

Went to Chicago for Thanksgiving. I got to make pies in this amazing kitchen:

thanksgiving cooking

The turkey was beautiful, though I could not eat it.

thanksgiving cooking

I had to eat Tofurkey, because I’m allergic to turkey.

We met up with our friends, Nick and Phil, who live in the city and they brought us to a bar called Quenchers. Witness the Midwest-fabulous menu:

Nick ate this thing called “PB PB PB” – Peanut Butter, Pineapple, Bacon on Panini Bread.
Thanksgiving eats

I chose Frito Pie. Fritos, melted cheese, chili, a few marinated veggies – in that order.
Thanksgiving eats

Phil’s Tater-Tot Pizza. Tater tots, green onions, bacon, and sour cream.
Thanksgiving eats