Pisdorf Salad

If there is one thing I enjoy as much as preparing food, it is bad puns.

Pisdorf Salad

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Uisce úr

Just the sort of salad to soothe the troubled mind after a trying day. And aren’t they all?

This makes two serves of around 1,400 kJ.

Ingredients

  • 4 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 apple, cored, sliced and diced
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp of your favourite mayonnaise or aioli
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 75g pistachio nut kernels
  • Dried cranberries to garnish

Method

  1. Splash the apple pieces with lemon juice and toss as soon as they are cut
  2. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste
  3. Chill for a bit
  4. Garnish with cranberries
  5. Cheer up and eat.

Living Well

It is true I find solace in preparing and eating food. It has been clearly demonstrated over the years by the fact I always got fat whenever life threw me into the dark places where the black dog dwells. It is why I named my cookery blog Kummerspeck. The German word for comfort food, which translates literally as “grief bacon”.

A couple of my latest experiments, HERE. And. HERE, are pretty good examples.

Those two plates, along with some sweetcorn and a banana smoothie, are my food for today. Delicious, and well within my daily kilojoule budget. Enough spare for a glass of wine or a nip of whiskey before bed.

I won’t deny I still seek solace. I live alone. Far from those I care most about. I have friends, and cheerful acquaintances but the people who contact me to check on my well-being are not those one might expect. Still. Somebody cares.

I still find solace in food. Now I seek out food that is satisfying, tasty, and good for me. It turns out quite surprisingly that with very few exceptions, such as kippers, the foods that are good for me are the very same foods that were bad for me. The only differences are a little in the preparation, and a lot in the portion size.

I have taken this concept of mindful eating seriously to heart. My taste buds are adjusting to less salt. I have really been concentrating on experiencing the appearance, colour, texture, aroma of my food as well as the taste and mouth sensations experienced as I chew, dissolve and swallow. I am distinguishing the umami, salt, bitter and sweet, as well as the aromatic components. I had a couple of steamed sweetcorn cobs today, unsalted, with a nob of unsalted butter. I could taste things I had never really given any attention to before.

This blog is more and more becoming a journal. A letter to myself. Which is how I started out.

A Grand Day Out

This morning I drove to Maroochy Botanical Gardens to enjoy a walk and a picnic with two lovely friends, Angelia and Mario. We had a delicious picnic brunch and walked around the sculpture gardens for a little communing with nature.

A couple of guests tried to join us for lunch, a scrub turkey and a currowong. Of course we fed them. The currowong even took food from my hand. I always like it when that happens. The currowong is a member of the magpie family and very intelligent. That she figured out she could trust me is cheering. The turkey on the other hand wants the food, but has no trust. Stupid bird.

The walk we took was quire a short one, and the path was concrete, so it didn’t cause me any problems except for a short cut I took over a lawn down a bit of a steep gradient. Going downhill is difficult.

I enjoyed the nature sculptures very much, but some of the more abstract works did not resonate so well. I’m no connoisseur but I know what I like.

I was well on my way home by two, and back on Bribie before three. I had my swimming kit with me, so I stopped off at the pool for a swim. I entered the water at precisely 3pm and swam solidly until 5:03 by which time I had completed 100 lengths exactly. A new personal record. 2,500 metres in two hours 3 minutes. I’d had to pile the pace on to squeeze the last laps in. I just missed my two hour target. But my goal of a 5,000 metre marathon is beginning to look achievable.

I was pretty pleased with myself until I saw I was the only person in the pool and the staff were closing everything up.

It turns out the pool closes at 5 on Saturday. It is only open until 7 on weekdays. The wonderful staff were very obliging, They brushed aside my apologies and let me shower and change without making me feel a total idiot. I’ve had nothing but friendly and cheerful support from them since I started frequenting the pool.

Back at home I had a light meal and spent the next three hours trying to transfer photos from my camera to my MacBook via WiFi. And failing. What I should have done right at the start was take the memory card out of the camera and insert it into the laptop. KIS.

Water Music

Today I swam 3,175 metres in 167 minutes. That’s 1.14 km per hr or 0.62 knots. An improvement, but still slow. I swam slowly, but continuously the whole time, stopping only once to adjust my mask strap when the pressure on my upper lip became uncomfortable.

At this speed my goal of swimming 5 kilometres is still a way off. Not because I can’t do it, but because of the time it will take. Today at the end I did not stop because I was tired, or even uncomfortable. I stopped only because I was hungry. So hungry in fact I got the low blood sugar shakes, and had to go buy an ice cream and a cappuccino at the pool shop. I must have a better breakfast if I’m going for a marathon swim.

I have found the perfect accessory to help me get along while swimming a long time. When I went to Solomon Islands in 1984, I bought at the duty-free on the way out of Auckland a new-fangled Sony Walkman Sport cassette player and was delighted to learn it was waterproof. So back then I used to go snorkelling with it. There is nothing more delightful than the slightly surreal sensation of swimming over a gorgeous coral reef, surrounded by colourful fish, while listening to Beethoven, Mozart, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, and all my other favourite classical and classic rock music.

The Walkman cost me $300, which was a lot, back then. Of course it is long gone. It is the only possession of mine that has been stolen twice. It was recovered the first time, but not the second. Obviously.

I wondered what the modern equivalent MP3 player might be like. I Googled, and found a lot to choose from on line in a range of prices from the sublime to the ridiculous. I finally chose one I thought the most suitable for my purpose. It cost less than I would pay for a pack of cigarettes, if I still bought them. With free postage.

That is how I these days justify buying these little extravagances; by converting them to cigarette equivalents. I only just the other day found out how much fags cost these days. A frightening amount. Enough for me to rationalise a treat now and then. A restaurant meal costs less than a pack of fags here in Australia.

But I digress.

I like this player, apart from the price, because it has 8 Gb memory, which can store many hours of music, and because it fits around my neck like a Celtic torque. I did not want one that clipped to my mask strap, or to my swimming togs. I did not want long dangly leads to get tangled. Nor did I want wireless earbuds to lose.

It arrived three days after I ordered it from Amazon. I charged it and filled it with my favourite music. Much the same stuff I was listening to back in the 1980s (Despite modern tech, my musical development was pretty much arrested in the eighties – With some exceptions) but instead of playing cassettes which can’t be changed while swimming, it is now all digital and downloaded to my computer. Enough for many hours of swimming without getting tired of the selection.

Today, Thursday, is the first day I have swam this week. My shoulders and back were aching on Sunday so I gave the pool a miss that day. I slept most of the day, awoke out of sorts and found myself sleepless all night. The black dog visited and for the next three days I diverted myself from my existential problems by snoozing or binge watching assorted movies and TV series on Netflix, ABC and SBS on demand. I only left the caravan to visit the toilet and shower block.

On Sunday, in a mood, I deleted my Facebook page. I joined Facebook in 2009 to stay in touch with family and old friends. It no longer serves that purpose. The news and posts are mostly depressing, and I find myself either reinforcing, or being reinforced by others who have similar opinions to myself, or getting into pointless arguments with those who don’t. mostly, however, I have concluded social media is not good for me. And reading that sentence I have just realised I am still uncomfortable putting “is” after a plural.

Media. Data. Criteria. But again, I digress.

I stayed home four days, leaving the caravan only to visit the ablution block for the conveniences and showers. I did not go shopping, so I ran out of fresh vegetables. I turned to comfort food, finishing off the last of the less healthy food choices I still had in the pantry. Pasta, cheese, packet meals, frozen hash browns. I undid some of my positive achievements and gained a couple of kilos.

Time to get back on track. To get back on the bicycle and back into the pool. And back to healthy vegetables. Today after my swim I pedalled to Aldi and filled my little trailer with onions, carrots, green and salad vegetables, fruit and tomatoes.

After my three day withdrawal period, I am quite over Facebook, and have turned my attention to other ways of passing the time. Books. Kindle, world cinema, British TV, and those model boats I started on over a year ago. I may perhaps even turn more back to my blogs.

I spotted some beautiful parakeets while riding the bike home. Now the weather is improving I might start carrying the camera and taking a few photos. I’ve already found a couple of locations I can get to by bicycle where I can settle comfortably and wait for a photo opportunity. That’s always a good way to pass the time when I’m not swimming. I may even try extending my walking time.

Afterthought:
“Cheese is milk’s leap towards immortality”
— Clifton Fadiman

Good Calories, Bad Calories.

There is a persistent myth, mainly perpetuated by those who would sell you something – a book, a product, a plan, a “superfood” – that there are good calories and bad calories. Honey = good Calories, white sugar = Bad, for example. The fact is they are all the same, a unit of energy. How “good” or how “bad” they are depends entirely on how many of them are consumed.

The myth is partially validated by the fact that certain foods are heavily laden with some forms of energy. These are often the foods we crave because from an evolutionary perspective they are the foods or forms of energy that were most difficult to obtain in the hunter-gatherer society. Sweet foods, fatty foods. Because of their relative scarceness those same foods are the more easily converted to fat and stored if not actually burned up in the daily metabolism needs of the body. Back when we hunted and gathered excess energy was scarce and we evolved to take maximum advantage of it when we got it. Now the energy we expend to obtain our food is minimal for most of us. And modern processed food has been refined to concentrate those nutrients we favour and remove the others, often to the point we end up eating almost pure sugar and concentrated fat. The point is, that if there is no excess, there will be nothing to store. Balance is the key.

Although it is important to balance the energy equation at the end of the week so that income does not exceed expenditure, it is also important to ensure that other nutritional requirements are also met. The body needs a certain amount of sugar, fat or carbohydrate, protein, fibre, micronutrients etc to fuel, maintain and repair itself. Some foods also contribute to a feeling of wellbeing and satiety. It is important to have some of that type of food in the daily diet. Without it, the body will feel as if it is being starved and the mind will develop cravings that can threaten the will to keep to a healthier regimen.

That is why it is important to allow for so-called Bad Calories now and then. Ice cream, pastry, pizza, whatever floats your contentedness boat.

Just be aware that if you don’t want to carry it around your waist, you will need to burn it off. And if the equation does not balance, that may take longer than it took to eat or drink it.

Sodium

I had a really good session with my dietician today. Encouraging, supportive, and quite pleased with what I was already doing, she was very helpful in steering me towards a more finely tuned approach to my diet. I knew that for my kidneys’ sake I need to manage my protein and sodium intake in particular, and I have been paying them some attention, but I must confess I have mainly been trying to ensure I meet my kilojoule goals yet have a balanced and pleasurable diet. Though my kidneys should be my priority I have really been concentrating on losing weight to hopefully relieve the pain and improve my mobility. It is more a matter of life and death that rather than losing weight I keep my kidneys functioning at their current level and prevent them deteriorating further.

So I must do both. Because what is the point of living longer if it is no fun?

Now we have fine tuned the goals to reduce the protein and sodium limits further. I can manage the protein easily enough. I’ve already reduced my meat consumption to a few hundred grams a week. But I’ve noticed that it is easy to exceed the daily sodium limits. I haven’t worried about it too much, but it appears I should. Now my limits are even lower, and it may be that sodium, rather than energy, is what will actually limit my choices of food or quantity.

It looks like anchovies are out, for a start.

Many Cheeses too, which is a shame.

I must pay more attention to the nutritional information on foods and not just focus on the kJ.

Lastly, though I thought I was drinking plenty of water already, I must increase my intake back to Kimberley summer quantities.

Semi Colonisation

Back in hospital again, this time for an endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Yep. Both ends.

With the greatest of luck, I was admitted for the nights before and after the procedures.  So the kind offer of my new friends to pick me up and drop me off proved unnecessary.  The hospital staff had decided even the prep would be problematic for me in a caravan.  It turns out they were right.  When you are old enough for a colonoscopy, you’ll know what I mean.  In the meantime retain your blissful ignorance.

It all went well. A couple of polyps removed, budding haemorrhoids identified, and I have diverticula, a common enough condition in which the gut wall gets little pockets. These can be a problem if any food gets trapped in them and cause infection; diverticulitis.

This means I must chew my food well, and eat plenty of fibre. I do.

I don’t have bowel cancer, good news of which I was already quite sure, having been tested twice as part of a study in which I’m participating.

I shall be discussing the results in depth with my GP in a week from now.

After the procedure it transpired that my bed for that night was needed for a patient after all, but instead of letting me go home, they decided I was to be transferred to the private hospital next door. An upgrade in other words. Better food, at least. Not that there was anything wrong with the fare at Caboolture Hospital, the meals at Caboolture private hospital are just a little more upmarket. The surroundings are also a little more posh but the service and kindness the same. Excellent.

After the disappointing (mis)adventure of my left arm, and the surgical cock-up, my faith and admiration for the Australian health system has been fully restored.

And surprise! My kind friend Cindy from WA sent me flowers.