Saturday, 22 May 2010

There's Nothing like A Diet To Concentrate The Mind

Sonata :
on food , mostly .

After a bad reaction to statins in January , it became imperative to find another way to lower my cholesterol ... to get the specialist off my back , if nothing else .
A few cookbooks later , I was rewarded yesterday by his surprised , "Hardly anyone does it with diet alone ... but you have ". I've never eaten so much Ratatouille in my life and I'd kill for a Ploughman's . But , like all diets , to work it'll have to become a way of life . So I'm subliminating all this yearning for dairy foods and bacon butties in a purely scholarly interest in stuffing your face , 18th century style .


This book's fascinating . Not to cook from ; it all sounds very beige and brown , contains alarming amounts of cream , eggs and boiled fresh water fish and the quantities alone would kill one . There's a Maigre Sauce , for instance , for a boiled salmon jowl made from fish broth , a roux , cream and the yolks of 4-5 eggs .

But it is full of little bits that make me smile . There's a recipe for Turbot a l'Italienne that says that the fish must be simmered very gently "for about an hour , that it may be done rather by fumigation than hasty boiling "

When making soup soup from Nantiles , a sort of French grain ( like Barley , perhaps ) "You must be so extravagant as to have a roasted partridge ..." , probably to zip it up a bit .

Or to warm a cream sauce "Just shew it to the fire".

I'm not proposing to make any of this . It was definitely cooking for the well-to-do with scuttling kitchen staff . Never mind about cholesterol levels , there's the strong possibility of gout . There's an awful lot of offal in there .

But I must at least try using his wider range of herbs and greenery . Purslane and sorrel , pimpernel and savory , burnet and parsley roots . And if I ever have occasion to fry a batch of minnows , remember to add primrose flowers and tansie .

At the very least I can aim for "Genteel and good dishes ... that never fail of being well eaten "
In moderation .

16 comments:

rachel said...

Good for you - my newly-diagnosed diabetic friend is doing very well on diet alone too, but it can't be easy. And there's so much contradictory information out there!

Hope you continue to do so well with it. That sort of cookery book could be aversion therapy. Salmon jowl....hmmmm.....

Around My Kitchen Table said...

I started to get indigestion; something I had previously only rarely suffered from. A friend recommended going on an "alkali diet". I had a quick search of the internet and it's basically, like most diets, strong on veg and fruit.But as Rachel said, the information is so contradictory. There are hundreds of different charts detailing what is alkali and what is acid - but they're not all the same. Anyway, I've cut out white bread, white rice and white pasta and upped my veg intake and feel much better for it. Why does dieting have to be so HARD!

Von said...

We had a similar little crisis in our house and have another looming..we go onto a fish often with salad diet for a while, plenty of oats and almonds and it does the trick.

Liz said...

So true, sonata. All I think about is food ...

Well done on your diet success. As you say, if we could forget all about dairy products - and nice crusty white baguettes - as we tuck into our vegetables we'd be fine.

Fascinating recipes you've found there.

Ha ha, my verifier is INGEST.

Loz and Dinny said...

Aaah food - I am so impressed with your diet success - especially in the face of a cheese and bread penchant - something I dearly cherish. Now I want to get me some pimpernel - just so I can say "They seek him there..". Thanks for dropping by my blog x

Tania said...

Way to go, excellent lady. I imagine France is well and truly down the list of holiday-type destinations these days...

love those cupcakes said...

Oh well done you. I need to get into "it's not a diet, it's a way of life" mode. (Not to reduce cholesterol, more to do with being able to wear my clothes). And only after I've eaten the orange frosted carrot cake I've just made.

Penny said...

Good luck with the diet, try to resist the minnows with primrose flowers if you can!

Friko said...

The non dairy diet definitely works.
I used to have raised cholesterol levels but can't take statins. Doctors kept telling me off.
And then I got a dairy intolerance and substituted soya products for dairy. That was all, it worked almost instantly. I have now got used to the lack of dairy and feel fine.

Molly said...

This post reminds me that I have to get serious and read "Food Combining for Health", a book about the Hay system, sent to me by my sister. I don't have a weight problem, but the OC's middle is expanding apace, and since I do all the cooking around here, it would seem to be up to me.....sigh.

Thomas at My Porch said...

Keep in mind that "bad" carbs like sugar, white flour, pasta, and other things like that can have a huge impact on serum cholesterol. When I cut way back on my carb intake, by cholesterol goes down.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Thomas - And when I cut back on my cholesterol intake , my blood sugar levels can go down drastically. Balance , as always , can be difficult to maintain !
The trick has always been to concentrate on food that takes a while to digest . Key is brown , fibrous and bulky . If you put like that , eating too much is less tempting really!

Tattie Weasle said...

OOOhh poor you I hate changing my diet but I am now on my sixth week on a no more dairy and no more caffeine regime. I try not to think of it as a forever thing but well it is adn I keep thinknig about chocolate...the bad kind like Minstrels and Galaxy!

0612ConsuelaC_Hovey said...
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liZZie said...

Well done! I don't have what you do, I have stuff to do with being, well, me, middle aged and sensitive to things I love and never used to be sensitive to other than not being able to get enough of them! I totally believe that diet is crucial to health and also despair how many people view confectionary as food. It's very difficult to make these changes.

Marcheline said...

That book sounds fab - for the same reasons that I keep Culpeper's Complete Herbal in my bathroom... the snarky yet ancient side comments are just as good as all the dubious medical advice!