1. Short Grain Brown Rice.
This is the kind of whole grain that sticks to your ribs. It’s plump , chewy, and delightfully sticky. Now, there’s something nostalgically lovely about lightly buttered white rice- the way my PJ scooped it onto my plate beneath saucy pork spare ribs. But I find brown rice to be more lovely on its own. Simply simmered or steamed, it has a sweetness to it, a nuttiness that you want to taste just as it’s meant to be.
For two perfectly portioned servings of fluffy brown rice (200 calories each):
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in 1/2 cup dry brown rice, cover with the pot’s lid, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 40 minutes. Do not stir brown rice while it’s cooking- it needs to be undisturbed while it plumps or it’ll more likely stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. When the time is up and the rice has absorbed almost all of the water, fluff with a fork, remove from the burner and cover with the lid until ready to serve.
2. Jam. Jelly. Preserves.
I’m a sweet seeker. Jams and jellies sugar me happy many mornings, most often on a deeply toasted english muffin. I find even just a spoonful of fruit spread to be so intensely satisfying that I eat slower just to savor the way syrupy sweet grape jelly slides around in small puddles of butter forming in the crannies of my hot muffin.
Before I fell madly in love with frozen pineapple from Trader Joe’s, my heart belonged to frozen strawberries. Something about the way I’d sit on my sofa, legs crossed with a big bowl of cold strawberries- the way they’d melt and soften in my mouth before mushing sweetly between my teeth. Listen, I don’t want to be the person who tells you that fruit is all the dessert you need in your life, but sometimes it is. Sometimes.
Other times, you need my mother to buy you those cavernous hockey puck-sized sponge cakes from the supermarket and fill them with sugared strawberries and a puff of heavy whipped cream.
4. Chinese Takeout: Steamed Shrimp with Mixed Vegetables.
I remember when I first lost 135lbs, I wondered how I’d fit rich Chinese food into my now-healthy lifestyle. It seemed impossibly high in saucy calories. Then I realized something: it doesn’t have to fit neatly. Sometimes, when you want Chinese food, you have Chinese food and you spare no expense. You smile your way through crab rangoon and become General Gao’s least secret admirer, and then you triple dip your egg roll into duck sauce. You realize your fortune must be true, because you’re already deeply happy.
Other times, you realize that what you love about General Gao and things that begin with Sweet & Sour and Kung Pao is the sauce. And then you realize that if it’s really the sauce that makes that chicken and shrimp and stir fry vegetables just swimmingly sumptuous, you’d be content to steam the meat and veg, and spoon sauce generously atop them.
My favorite Chinese takeout exists in this order: Steamed shrimp with mixed vegetables (a bowl of spicy garlic sauce on the side), crab rangoon, an egg roll, and one to two vats of duck sauce, depending on the day and the generosity of my Chinese restaurant.
5. Loose Leaf Tea.
Like many things, you can learn to love tea. I didn’t care for it during most of my life but then I began experimenting with green and black and herbal varieties. I found so many new and delicious blends of flavor. I found out which turned lovely with a spoonful of honey, which called for milk, and which I could drink iced with a splash of lemonade. It’s fun to explore tea in the same way you might explore wine varietals and artisan breads and chocolates.
Treat every new food in the same excited, curious way, and you’ll never be bored.
I’m currently sipping yerba mate in the mornings.
What are some foods you can’t get enough of?