A monologue about the not so subtle pleasures of carnivores devouring half charred chunks of beef, the nirvana some find in a crispy pork belly - ideally flavored over time, strangely textured pigs ears and intestines which make the true gourmet's eyes wobble. The incomparable ecstasy a Pata Negra ham cured for three years could provide, the erotic quality of a scoop of foie gras ice cream or the multiple benefits of lamb Koefte. I could go on endlessly about braised meats, be it slow cooked in red or white wine; the clear, powerful essences all kinds of meats deliver, the handsomeness of a spoonful of steeped bone marrow. Luxurious combinations, like a suffocated farm raised duck with a port sauce, or the simple grandeur of a whole roasted goose. I wouldn’t stop at bison meat, ostrich, quail, the delicate flavor of a milk fed piece of veal or the sinful decadence of a poussin, all the wild varieties of birds, foremost partridge and pheasant, nicely roasted with bacon and finished with grapes.
Pig hearts, Boston butt, pork shanks displaying an abundance of crackling skin, five pounds of cholesterol laden joy. Veal tongues, beef lips, tripe, cheeks, braised slowly to a gelatinous heaven; pigs tail, the snout, testicles. The peak of indulgence - pork filets, brined, cured or grilled, Asian, Mediterranean style, or just plain with salt and pepper. How about the classics like Chateaubriand, Onglet, flank, sirloin, ribeye, beef heart, osso buco, my winter’s delight. Spit roasted lamb intestines with rosemary, deep fried brain on thyme mashed potato, Hallelujah .
The tenderloin, a universe of delicate options, ideally with truffles, deserves a chapter of its own because of the complexity of meats. From a small lamb tenderloin to wild rabbit, deer and elk to the grass fed beef variety. I won't even begin to name the hundreds of pates and pork sausages we call our own in Germany. The salumi and Luganega of Italy, Chorizo in Spain and countless Salchiche. No Madame, I will not linger there, but head to my point straight away, which is:
I am 45 years old, obese and take five medications against the effects of this diet.
It didn’t get to this point because of the zillions of ribs or smoked pork shoulders I devoured, those were culinary experiments. It wasn’t the six packs of my preferred brand to accompany dinner. It took me some quality time to convince my First Lady that this is perfectly normal behavior, since beer is stronger and served in larger containers on the other side of the pond.
No Madame, I even stopped smoking some years ago. I did not know that smoking speeds up your metabolism; on the flip side cigarettes kill you.
Honestly, I did not have a clue how people like me get fat at all. But then I came across a book, “ The End of Overeating” by David A. Kessler. He explained our natural craving for sugar, salt and fat. Together, this cocktail evokes our tendency to eat much more than we need. Apart from overeating we also ingest too much fat, salt and sugar with our diet. Fifty percent of the food dollar in the United States is spent in restaurants. Many of them are chain restaurants, and the managers of all these beautiful companies know how to pack the three magical ingredients together for a truly satisfying meal. It seemed to me almost like smoking: an addiction to substances which can be overcome only by a change of habits.
The Cleveland Clinic has made such a change of habits available to its members. Transfats are banned, so is deep frying. Free Weight Watchers memberships are available. Free sports facility use resulted in 6,000 people loosing 90,000 pounds of weight, leading to more productivity, less health costs and better quality of life.
Now, there is this sole Vegan person I know. She smiles all the time and impresses me with such a healthy and happy look, that I tried something similar.
No beer and no meat for one month.
Incredible, I know. Impossible, I thought.
But it is almost finished now, only one more week to go. I feel 350% better, even though I am aware I would be expelled from my hometown in Bavaria for such treason.
Don’t know what will follow next week, maybe first a baked goose, then lasagne or beef tenderloin with a nice marrow sauce. But as to what happens after those meals I am unsure. Maybe I will become a different person, a happier one very likely, a healthier one definitely.
I also learned about two kinds of people at farmers markets:
One is the young crowd which usually loves (surprisingly) our stuff, but won’t purchase it. The other large group consists of people who carefully monitor their nutrition. These individuals are mostly in their thirties. They ask all the right questions and make me proud to have gone public with breads and crackers that were developed for Theresa and myself in the first place. Since we both are not exactly spring chickens anymore, we tried hard to achieve the most natural and healthiest result possible. In doing so we made many new friends and are happy to supply them with such a simple thing as bread.
Ther following are some links on nutrition provided by Eddie G. Dutton, an impressive friend and tireless worker for public health, who also happens to be the Executive Director of the South Florida Cancer Association.