This has been an up, down and all out interesting week so far. My mother had heart valve replacement surgery yesterday. The surgery went well as determined by the doctors. It is hard to say something went well after having your chest ripped open, heart stopped and new parts put in. The thought of my mother going through that freaks me out. Unfortunately, abusing your body through years of bad diet and smoking takes it toll. During my youth, my grandfather on my mom’s side had bypass surgery fairly young. He never said anything directly to me about it, but eavesdropping on family conversations, he said it was the worst pain of his life. He never changed his dietary or life style habits and developed additional heart issues later on. Because of the experience, he chose not to have further surgeries. He chose to live his life as he wanted and left us earlier than he should have.
Looking back, I believe that had a stronger effect on me than I ever realized until recently. I changed my diet to veganism over 15 years ago. I wanted to live healthier and I wanted to live longer than my relatives. They say heart disease is hereditary. What is hereditary is part DNA and part what you learn socially from your family. If you follow the same dietary patterns as the previous generation, you can expect the same results. I am determined to break the history and heredity.
I love my mother and am pained she has to go through this. We have been somewhat estranged over the past years; not to the point where we don’t have communication. But the relationship has been less loving and more matter-of-fact over the past years. How this happened? Choices I made, most likely. I never said F-you family or get out of my life, but I do have some skeletons that hurt my family. When you make choices in your life, you have to accept the consequences, good or bad. And you certainly can’t control the emotions of others. My mother has chose her path and I accept that.
In no way has it diminished my love for her. I am the baby of my family and every time I see my mother, it is through the eyes of an affectionate 10 year old. I never see myself older when I am with her. I just want to sit next to her, tell her I love her and snuggle. On the surface, my mother is eccentric and loves to be catered to. Underneath, she is fiercely strong, a go-getter and will go Terminator on anybody she feels is threatening her family. I have seen Terminator Mom and trust me, Arnold has nothing on her.
This week in June marks two of my son’s birthdays. The Little Prince turned 3 and the next day Little Z turned 10. So we had a two day family extravaganza of food, toys and movies. I generally make a meal per request of the birthday honoree. For the Little Prince we had grits, scrambled tofu, broccoli and biscuits. Little Z got a special treat, Laviyah took him out for a special lunch between the 2 of them. 10 years ago, Laviyah became a first time mother & she was feeling extra nostalgic for this birthday. For dinner I made Sun-dried Tomato Mac & Cheese – Little Z is a tomato nut! He can’t get enough of that Lycopene. Well boys, happy B-day’s…now time to get back to the grind…school work through the weekend.
Last week, I came across Food Network on Twitter. They tweeted about a contest with Bobby Flay called the ‘Flayvors of Washington’. You basically submit a recipe and 2-minute video showcasing a dish that includes a Washington State ingredient. Also you have to get inspiration from a Columbia Crest wine (they are the sponsor of the contest).
So I thought – I’m a cook, I drink wine…perfect. Let’s do this!
I decided to make a Wild Mushroom Linguine with a side dish of Sauteed Asparagus and Swiss Chard. I used Chanterelles and Morels which are Washington native wild mushrooms. These mushrooms taste great, but Damn! they are expensive…$20 for an ounce. They better had tasted great paying that much. I would say, they are worth the investment. With the mushrooms I used a Cab reduction to make a light sauce for the linguine and it turned out super delicious. Asparagus is also a Washington ingredient, so I sauteed them with some garlic, leeks and Swiss Chard. You gotta try this veggie combination, it is outstanding. I will be posting the recipe soon.
The recipe part…easy. Now the catch, the video thing. I hate being videotaped. Why? Because I feel like a complete dork on video. It’s only for 2 minutes, how hard can it be. For me it was like pulling teeth. I had to do about 300 “takes” just to explain my dish. My wife was my camera woman, producer , editor and peanut gallery. She rolled her eyes and laughed enough for all of y’all. Thanks for the confidence love. For some reason I felt like a nervous school boy about to ask a girl out. At least, in school I could pass a note and get the results without any verbal exchange. That’s how I like it…the more I can reduce any emotional exchange the better. Why? Hell if I know, it’s just the way I am.
Anyway, I got through that fiasco, barely. I still haven’t watched the two minute video that took me two days to make. I’m completely ridiculous…I know. I have issues…Yes! You can check out my recipe video debut at the Flayvors of Washington link on foodnetwork.com. The videos are randomized, so you may have to search through the 6 files to find me. The caption to my video is Wild Mushroom Linguine & look for the goofy guy in a brown shirt and white apron. Food Network will choose 20 recipes they like and the public can vote on their favorite of the 20 starting June 18th. Well, if I make the top 20, I’ll be counting on everyone to vote for me. Let’s get a Vegan on Food Network! Even if it is only for one recipe. Check me out and have a chuckle on me. Don’t worry about my feelings, my wife already desensitized me with two days of heckling.