I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

On Food


You know that saying about you shouldn’t live to eat but should eat to live? I always hated that shit! Not because I live for food, but because food has so many wonderful healing properties and part of that is simply the pleasure one can get from eating it. I am not into the shame and blame games, though. If that’s your bag, please move on. I want to share today about some foods that truly do heal and just make life that much sweeter, pardon the pun. 😛

Last week I had a couple of rough days. As I was starting to feel better again, but I was still just not quite myself. So on Thursday, my “Friday” if you will, I treated myself to this magical creamy mushroom soup. Some of you will wince at those three words together: creamy + mushroom + soup. I will never understand how someone can just not like mushrooms. They are the best thing in the world…next to fresh from the garden sugar snap peas!

This soup has a special place in my heart and in my life. This soup? Oh man…this soup is legendary amongst my closest little tribe of confidants. My friends and I used to drive thirty miles (to San Francisco) to get this fucking magical soup! Then one fateful NYE we stopped by our favorite Polish restaurant (Old Krakow on West Portal for locals) for this king of soups and the place was shuttered. Devastated, we befriended a local florist and were treated to the best Mediterranean meal of our lives!

That soup and it’s sudden disappearance haunted us. You couldn’t mention it or we’d all get that sad, longing, wistful look in our eyes and simply hang out heads. Years passed by and while we would never forget that soup, it only made us miss it and almost wish we’d never had it for how badly we wanted it now that it was gone. But the universe is a trickster and a delight! My very first day at HappyGoat my boss took me out to lunch to some new Polish place nearby. I was curious and just happy to try something new.

Little did I know that this little tucked away Polish place, “Bona” was none other than THE place! New name, new location…SAME SOUP!!! Turns out it is the same owner of the old place and the soup is just as good, if not somehow better! I soon took my friends to try it for themselves and we all agreed it was some bizarre coincidence, fate or miracle that this soup came back into our lives (and closer to us, too).

I had that soup today and I tell you what, it is healing! It is nourishing, yes, but I feel stronger than I did this morning. I feel fulfilled and satisfied in a way no other soup could touch. I’m not even a big soup person. I’m actually very picky when it comes to soup. But this soup? This mushroom fantasy of hot healing gorgeousness? No, this shit is REAL! I take that first bite, well I usually butter some bread and dip until the soup cools a bit, I am silenced and my bliss-face comes and you just can’t talk to me for awhile. I need to relish and just be one with this soup!

The calories? The nutritional facts and values? Fuck if I care, dude. This isn’t about all that. This is about being grounded or centered or just whatever! Few things in this world can make us feel this way, but when they do? We need more of that! Like the enchiladas at my favorite Mexican place (Tiajuana in Sunnyvale, for locals), their red sauce? I walk out of there strong and happy and healed! (And after a margarita or two an honest to goodness fistacuffs showdown!)  Freshly made fettuccine alfredo? Where the pasta is so thin and supple, but still has that al dente bite to it? Perfection! I swoon!

We all have childhood memories of food that can connect and transport us. For me that will always been fresh from the ground carrots or tomatoes from my grandma’s garden. You cannot buy, bottle or supplement these things. They are real and they are unique. They are the things that connect us to the earth and to each other. Don’t let peer pressure, marketing or shame and guilt take that from you. You get more healing goodness from the things you enjoy and connect with than you ever will to some cereal or granola or protein bar…I promise!

What foods make you feel best? Childhood memories of a perfect meal or food moment? Do share! 🙂

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5 Comments to

“On Food”

  1. On April 27th, 2012 at 8:25 am Charlie Says:

    I really dislike the “eat to live, don’t live to eat” saying as well. I think the bitter irony is that the heightened scrutiny that comes with dieting practices means that when you are on a weight-loss diet, you focus on food SO MUCH MORE than when practicing HAES or a non scale-based system. The saying also assumes that old beaten-dead-horse trope that a fat person is eating constantly. Yeah, not a fan.

    I think you’re right about the context of certain foods lending them a magical quality too, and that mushroom soup sounds divine! Don’t throw granola bars and cereal under the bus, though – I definitely crave and thoroughly enjoy some of them from time to time! (I know that’s not what you meant, but felt I should represent Team Granola/Cereal, haha) 🙂

  2. On April 27th, 2012 at 12:50 pm Twistie Says:

    I may hate all mushrooms (and believe me, I’ve tried more than a dozen kinds prepared lots and lots and LOTS of different ways, so this isn’t a gut reaction to one button mushroom eaten when I was four), but I’m delighted you found your soup again.

    I know the devastation of losing a beloved food to the closing of a restaurant. That’s how I felt when Hippo Hamburgers went out of business way back through the mists of time when I was but an adolescent and became a GAP store. Sigh. To this day I miss their tostada. I have the cookbook, but there’s nothing like going in and gazing at all the happy hippos frolicking on the walls and reading the menu that included several joke items that made me laugh out loud.

    And then there are the piroshki. You see, once upon a time, I worked for a Russian Orthodox church. Funny place for an atheist to work, I know, but they served lunch after services and I washed the dishes for them. When I got there, the congregation was literally dying of old age. Most of them had come to America escaping the revolution back during WWI, you see. It also had the distinction of being the church Natalie Wood attended as a little girl.



    Every week these little old Russian women would make the most delicious piroshki in the world. The cabbage in particular were to die for. And during Lent, they would make amazing flavors they only did then: carrot, boiled egg, salmon… sooooo delicious, and every one made with loving care by hand. I miss those piroshki.

    Funnily enough, that church was also the first place I ever ate Ethiopian/Eritrian food. A group of Eritrian refugees started going there because it was the closest thing they could find to their Coptic faith. There was a lot of distrust when they first arrived, so I went out of my way to make them as welcome as I could. Pretty much this boiled down to taking coffee to their table first and smiling when I saw them.

    Eventually, the Eritrian women started taking a turn in the kitchen every month… and I got served my food before the congregation did. Food was the way we communicated best. Most of them spoke little English when they got there, and I never did learn a word of their language. But food and a bit of consideration bridge all gaps between peoples, given the chance.

    I’ve eaten Ethiopian food since, and loved it… but it’s never tasted quite so special again.

    Mr. Twistie and I have a bit of a tradition that on our anniversary and on birthdays, we go out and eat Indian food. Yes, his background is Japanese and Welsh and mine is Scottish, German, and Irish with a tiny dash of French way back in the background, but Indian is our soul food. When we walk into India Palace here in Alameda and the scents of spices waft over us, we start to feel relaxed and happy. By the time we’re tucking into dal soup or samosas, we’re feeling blissful. My last sip of masala tea is always tinged with a touch of regret that the experience is almost over.

    But we know we will soon return to India Palace and have more of their delightful food.

    And then there’s Mona’s Table. Well, you remember that day, don’t you? Mona’s is always like that. The food is amazing, the atmosphere warmly enveloping, and the company excellent. Mona’s also has the distinction of being one of the very, VERY few places I will order dessert. My rule of thumb is that if I can make it better at home, I won’t order it out… and I’m damn good at baking.

    Interestingly enough, Mona’s is also the one restaurant where I’ve ever brought dessert in for the owner. This will be the third year running that I make a birthday cake for Mona. Nobody else was doing it, so Mr. Twistie volunteered me! So far, Mona has seemed to enjoy them.

    And that brings me to one of my favorite food experiences ever. About eight years ago or so, Mr. Twistie sheepishly informed me that he’d set up a recording session on my birthday… and the studio is in our home. He was worried that I would be unhappy, but no.

    The band in question is made up of some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I’ve known some damn good people over the years. So I decided to share the birthday joy with them.

    I got up early and started baking. By the time the band arrived, I had baked an apple pie, a mixed berry tart, and a chocolate layer cake. Nobody was expecting it but me, because we hadn’t told the band the significance of the day, so it was my present to them. Everybody tucked in and I got praised to the heavens as well as enjoying my own baking. Then the band sang Happy Birthday do me in harmony – with feeling – and I got lots of hugs, too.

    Now THAT was a good time. Good food, good friends, good music… how can you beat that ? Not even with a stick, my friend. Not even with a stick.

  3. On April 27th, 2012 at 2:07 pm Missy Says:

    OMG I miss Old Krakow!!! Where is their new magical location?! I am already dreaming of the Pierogies!!
    I may have to make a pilgrimage to Menlo Park.

  4. On April 27th, 2012 at 3:34 pm Mulberry Says:

    I recall a delicious chocolate fondue from a restaurant that has long since closed. To drink, a glass of Martinelli sparkling cider (I abhor the taste of alcohol). Anyway, there was this scrumptious bowl of hot rich chocolate and a plate of dippables including fruit and cake bits. I used to get a high from that.
    Of course, now I will have to try some mushroom soup at the local Polish restaurant…

  5. On April 29th, 2012 at 3:24 pm thirtiesgirl Says:

    Tomato soup; grilled cheese sandwiches (although I usually prefer it when someone else makes them for me – not that my grilled cheese sandwiches are bad, but there’s something more comforting about someone else cooking for you and taking care of you); almost any pasta dish, particularly mac’n’cheese, baked ziti, and sometimes just spaghetti al burro (spaghetti with butter) and garlic salt. My mom used to make really good cinnamon toast, which I love with some warm milk… but, again, it’s one of those really strong memories from childhood that I almost balk at making for myself because it just doesn’t seem to impart the same comfort as when someone else makes it for me. And lastly, my ex-boyfriend’s pasta salad.

    During my last two years of college, I became friends with and then started dating this guy who I fell madly in love with. We were together for 5 years. He was a vegetarian and, while I didn’t eat meat often, it was still part of my diet. Being a vegetarian can be difficult, especially if you’re not a good cook and don’t know how to create variety in your meals. So, out of necessity, he’d taught himself how to cook a few different versions of standard meals, and his pasta salad was one of them. He’d make variations on it, but the standard ingredients usually didn’t change – Swiss chard, spinach, whole wheat spaghetti or rotini pasta and pine nuts. And I loved it. Not particularly because I’m a big fan of Swiss chard (I actually find it very bitter) or salads, but because he made it for me, with love, and it was one of his ways of taking care of me. I wish I could find someone who would take such good care of me again.

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