Lazy Luddite Log


Food Chart Scrambled

Much of what we know we try and reduce to models to help others understand or to better regulate public behaviour. One instance of this is charts providing a graphical understanding of foodstuffs and how much of them we need. Abstractions are seductive. Changing information and trends are also a factor. Who consults the old 'Food Pyramid' anymore? With all this in mind I decided to have some fun by developing my own food chart which is structurally inspired by the colour wheel of primary and secondary colours. The considerations behind it are nutritional, culinary and taxonomic but they are also personal. This schema is one that I can work for me. So my food groupings are as follows:

Primary Groups

* Animal Products

* Grains And Cereals

* Vegetables And Fruit

Secondary Groups

* Beans And Nuts

* Starchy Table Vegetables

* Fleshy Table Vegetables

I will let you guess which primary groups the secondary groups sit between as blended forms. I will however clarify what falls into some of those groups. Starchy Table Vegetables includes potatoes, cassava and maize (in relatively natural form such as corn kernels or corn cobs). Fleshy Table Vegetables are from an entirely different life-form altogether - fungi. Beans And Nuts includes chocolate…

One of the charms of this model is it reduces the emphasis on animal products by putting them all into one category. Another is that it differentiates between different kinds of plant matter in such a way to show those of us with a child-like aversion to our 'veggies' that there is more to it than just stinky greens. From here I then go and start making recommendations such as this - a 'complete snack' can consist of any primary food item and a food item from its most contrasting secondary group. So fish and chips (animal product with starchy table vegetable) is a snack. So is grilled mushrooms on toast (grains and cereals with fleshy table vegetable). So too is baked beans in tomato sauce (vegetable or fruit with beans or nuts). Of course you need more than snacks in your day and so a 'complete meal' should draw on three or more groups that maximize contrast.

To this end I decided to try and make a meal that drew on all six of my groups and, while I was at it, overcome a food aversion I've had ever since I was a child, and which I have practiced throughout adulthood. I have a problem with eggs. Something to do with the taste and texture and even concept of the things is off-putting. If they are processed beyond recognition then I'm fine with them. I like pancakes and mayonnaise for instance. And if I think back I admit that I also am okay with scrambled egg if adulterated with other ingredients. They say that eggs are a good thing. Besides if you want a cafe brunch you have to pretty much reconcile yourself with the things.

So I recently got some friends I was staying with to show me how to make scrambled egg and incorporated many ingredients into the dish. The egg provided the animal product. Some sliced button mushrooms were my fleshy table vegetable. Some corn kernels were my starchy table vegetable. Some pan-toasted pine nuts were my bean or nut. Some roquette and garlic and lemon juice were my vegetables and fruit, Finally I needed grains and cereals and wanted to throw in some risoni but my hosts objected on some sort of vague personal preference grounds. The compromise was that I could serve my scrambled eggs on a slice of wholemeal toast. It all worked very well and was a tasty and arguably nutritious meal. Next time I may fulfill my desire for a truly one-pan meal by replacing the toast with croutons thrown in while scrambling.

That is my model for now. Feel free to use it or develop your own.

Cross-posted here.