Maddening and Edible

A piece of rare salmon, lightly sautéed in a pan on the stovetop and drizzled with fresh lemon juice, alongside a small dollop of white rice flavored with a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi. But that’s not all, of course. I would add a few slices of cucumber and a simple green bean gomaae (beans topped with crushed toasted sesame seeds infused with soy sauce and sugar) to accompany the fish and grain. There is nobility in that simple breakfast. But I have not felt that sense of nobility in far too long; I haven’t made such a Japanese breakfast in—how long has it been, years? Yes, years. Instead, I have grown used to bran flakes in almond milk—or slices of crispy bacon—or crushed avocados spread over rye toast—or pieces of melon—or bagels smeared with cream cheese loaded with scallions. Or pancakes or waffles or egg dishes or…the list is long and collectively dangerous. Low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods like a few of my Japanese favorites are far better for me, but I am a lazy, self-indulgent American. Back in the days when I viewed meal preparation as an entertaining, educational, healthful, exciting adventure, I felt the sense of nobility build in me as I explored what I called “international” breakfasts. Some of the breakfast diversions were not necessarily as healthful as my favorite Japanese meals, but they were intriguing and probably better for me than gooey cinnamon rolls. You know, those dense chunks of white flour drenched in sugar-infused liquid so sweet that people at the restaurant counter near me developed cavities simply by watching me eat the stuff. Ah, but those days seem to have gone by the wayside. Maybe I can bring them back, though, if I can discipline myself to again devote the necessary respect for the noble foods of globally diverse cultures. Indigenous peoples around the world, including those who were conquered by our mostly-European ancestors, revered the sources of their food and treated food as both a means of sustenance and a “spiritual” gift from the universe. Though I am insufficiently woo-woo to bring myself to call anything “spiritual,” I have become more open-minded about the idea during my lifetime—that long period of time I have spent abusing my body through gluttony and sloth. I now feel real gratitude for the fish and the farmers and the untended natural ingredients that sustain me. Though I have more than a little contempt for people who go overboard in their weirdly woo-woo worship of the “magic” of Earth-based nutrition (including supplements sold by money-hungry gurus who drive Lamborghinis and adorn their artificially-tanned bodies with diamonds), I am growing slightly more forgiving of their inexcusable flaws with each passing day-week-month-year-decade. And that’s all I have to say about that. For the moment.


More magnesium today. And, if I understand correctly, more tomorrow. Along with another injection tomorrow, ostensibly to boost my body’s ability to produce red blood cells. And I think they want me back on Monday. At least I am awake for the moment; perhaps I will maintain that rare condition for awhile. Still more healthcare stuff. Maddening, methinks. Maddening.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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