‘2020: the year COVID happened, has been quite the…’No shit, Sherlock!’
A lot of what we are all too familiar and comfortable with, has been shook. Besides (my) personal (mis)happenings, most of us have had to deal with being limited in general; in just going about our ways, doing business and pleasure as usual – and as such: in keeping our lives running smoothly, with our bodies in balance and our minds at ease. As homey as I may be – I’ve got my plants and pets, always a full fridge and plenty of books and provisions in cupboards all around! – the past months I’ve been bouncing around like a proper twat, both in and outside my head! But why? Why do I feel that I HAVE TO do things…especially now? And why do these always HAVE TO be so specific, complex, intricate, elaborate…perfect even? Why not let it all just hang out a bit…but then differently?
Why not just go back 2 basics
Why not just go back 2 basics, simply by putting 1 and 1 together – which generally ends up being (a) ‘3’ anyway – and appreciate it for what it is? Keeping it simple generally means less restrictions, less conditions (and conditioning!), and less potential for failure and frustration, all allowing a lower threshold to not be afraid, and Just Do It!
This FFF will not necessarily be food related in the literal sense alone, more so a couple’s therapy of sorts, if you will. After all: it takes 2 to make a thing go right…right? Please feel free to ‘scroll down’ to see what some of my favorite ‘house, garden and kitchen’ duos are, and why.
Where to start though? Oh yass: simplicity…the A it is then.
Avocado & Citrus
Because whether it’s a bit of lemon or a dash of lime (or even yuzu), there’s nothing – not even the green tabasco I mentioned in my earlier article on this green goddess packed with good fats and fibres – that livens up Miss A than a tad of citric acidity. Never mind the health benefits; it’s just so good and simple! Add a bit of the staple that is called salt (Maldon flakes, if you’re fancy like me) and you’re done. Same actually goes for tahini: combined with citrus and possibly some salt, makes for a damn good (and healthy!) sauce or dressing. Speaking of tahini:
Hummus & Cauliflower
The ideal snack: easy – just buy some hummus and raw whole cauliflower, or in florets if you’re really lazy – healthy as fuck, and sooo rewarding, dipping away and stuffing your face without having to feel guilty about devouring the whole thing of hummus and half a cauliflower just like that. Besides, it is one of the very best ways to eat your:
Pulses/Legumes & Cabbages
Whether it’s a pulse ( lentils, butter beans, brown beans etc.), or a legume (green beans, sugar snaps, etc.), combining them in a dish with any kind of cabbage – white, red, Savoy, Cavolo Nero or even Brussels sprouts (yep, those are mini cabbages) – is one of the biggest favours you can do to your body. Short and simply put: this is because they super-stimulate one another in helping your body take in all of their individual goodness whilst limiting any excess flatulence – something both these types of foods have a reputation for. Not entirely ‘legit’ a reputation though, as these (in)famous gasses that are formed, are mostly due to them being combined with concentrated proteins (meats, fish, poultry being The Usual Suspects) and carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta, noodles). Especially now, one might think: ‘Who cares? I’m home all the time anyway!!’, but it simply means there’s too much of certain ‘stuff’ in one ‘pot’ in one go, triggering more ‘yeasting’ processes – or rather: too many different ‘sugars’ combusting with the ‘greens’ – causing excess ‘odeurs’. I may just be speaking for myself here, but hey ho:
Bicarb & Vinegar
Yep: kinda random perhaps, and seemingly non-food. However, as well as this combo works to help alleviate caked dirt and debris from your pottery, it can also really give relief when you feel bloated or are suffering from heartburn. Simply fill a small glass for a third with water, and add a good splash of (white) vinegar in there, then stir a small tablespoon of bicarb into the glass, and drink it immediately. It will foam like crazy and it’s quite likely that you won’t (particularly) like the flavour, but trust me: you will feel it go down and do its work…a couple of good burps as collateral not excluded! Then something that actually ís non-food, but for which vinegar really works as well:
Vinegar & Fairy (aka super-sexy ‘Dreft’)
Regardless of whether you have a dishwasher or not, this is your ultimate help in getting all the chrome work in your kitchen free of those dried up water drops and all shiny again. When your (average-sized) bottle of dish soap is about 80% finished, add double the amount of vinegar (or triple, if you like it real sour and more effective) to the bottle, filling up the remaining space with water. Proper limestone build-up prevention, proper disinfectant cuz’ vinegar = basically alcohol, and no more of those stinking chemical spray bottles (Mr Muscle Go Home!) needed, so proper reduction of environmental harm. Speaking of harm:
Heinz Tomato Beans & (Chipotle) Tabasco
When I feel (physically) harmed – mostly from being hung-over in some way – or I just can’t be bothered cooking, I generally just want a tin of my good old favourite Heinz Tomato Beans (there simply is no serious rival for this one!). However: even that can get a bit – dare I say? – boring after a while. Apart from beating them up just that tiny bit with a wooden spoon when still in the can, and finishing them off with some flaked salt (Maldon, because you’re worth it!), I started experimenting with the Tabascos I have at home (yes, by now you should know I have several) by adding them to the beans, to recently discover this particular smokey Chipotle Tabasco…and all I can say is: ‘UNHhhh! Because it’s MY lil’ bowl of laziness, and not yours!’ However, when I’m REALLY hungover:
Hard Boiled Eggs & Tomato Ketchup
When I’m really wasted, like: actually almost entirely unable to prep or eat anything – it’s been a quite few years though, and I would then generally know (and prep/boil) in advance, so no way to blame COVID for this one! – I’d make, and sometimes still do if I feel like it, 2 (semi)hard-boiled eggs, dip them in a big dollop of ketchup and just shove ’em right into my pie hole, with me laying back down immediately afterwards. (Because of their high content of good fats, Dutch pickled herring also is an excellent hangover remedy – especially eating 2 in one go makes my head ache melt away on the spot – but they’re not always around for the grabbing, nor can I always stomach them in such a scenario…but I digress)
Chicory & Blue Cheese
Back from easy by ‘necessity’ to easy ‘because I can’: chicory and blue cheese. No Waldorf salad is worthy without these two, who are also divine just paired in the simplest way: by peeling of the little chicory ‘boats’, and crumbling some nice Stilton, Roquefort or Danish Blue in them. A bitter veggie and a cheese that contains lots of ‘cultures’…really not the unhealthiest or difficult snack to make, and to get down in on. Top it off with a nice glass of port, and 1 plus 1 truly is…heaven!
Salted Nut Mix & Unsalted Nut Mix
Speaking of easy, as well as ‘healthing’ things up a bit: mix your nuts! As I’m an avid snacker – and I refuse to believe I’m the only one here!!! – anything that’s near my ‘hand to mouth’ will end up being exactly that, with the result of me (easily) taking in way too much salt. As the earth sign that benefits most from a solid nut intake (no pun intended!), my ‘salvation’ might just come from the fact that I easily find salted nut mixes way too salty, so I take a big container, and throw in a bag of both salted and unsalted nut mixes, current favourites being Cranberry Mix and Pepita Mix. However, anything will do really, for a nice nibble of everything…and don’t we all need all to snack responsibly?
Bread & Whatever
But really: whatever! I guess bread is my Achilles’ heel when it comes to (excessive) carb intake, but isn’t it just sooooo good? Any kind (toasted or not) with any kind of (salted) butter, cheese, or (sweet/savoury) spread will do anytime, and generally I don’t eat soups or stews without a slice (or 2 ) of bread either. I’m sure you can let your imagination run wild here, and I shall not digress any further in this paragraph…oh yeah: toast with cod liver, capers, drop of lemon juice and black & green peppercorns or…ENOUGH I said!
Simplicity & Sanity
Speaking of yin-yang, balance and all that: don’t we ALL need some of that in our lives, but doesn’t it seem all too often that there are all these internal and external…eh: ‘variables’, trying to take our focus away from any goal we may have set for ourselves? However, and once again: just keep it simple. When waking up, start by just sitting up in lotus and do some mudra’s (finger yoga) combined with some slow, deep breathing, and followed by some simple back stretching exercises. Some simple, self-loving(!!) shizzle to start your day, all for which you don’t even need to leave your bed: you’re welcome! Similar for the evening: make it a habit of switching off all screens at least half an hour before bed time. Just ignore that weird sense of fomo (fear of missing out) glueing you to whatever screen around – triggers: be gone! – and allow yourself to get ‘back to mine’, for instance by a routine similar to the one above, or by just reading something…printed on paper, mind you! It’s totally ok to fall asleep after reading half a page only…I do it all the time…just let go…let it all go and be still…
In hindsight I feel like I should perhaps apologize for the lack of overall ‘sexiness’ or ‘sleaziness’ of this lil’ article of mine…but I won’t: sometimes one just has to keep things simple (and silly!) to stay sane in all that’s going down these days. Besides, there’s plenty of sexy (and sleazy!) stuff elsewhere in this FAB mag, you dirtbag 🙂 Please enjoy this food for your mood…çuz’ if you can’t stuff yourself, how in the hell you gonna stuff somebody else?!?
Gijs is an account manager for wholesale sales, selling all that is Mister B. His eye for detail comes in handy, as content editor for ‘all that juice’ displayed in Wings Magazine. In there, he also has a little spot, doing one of his favorite things: talk food…a good read for both mood and deed…bon appétit!