Thursday, 21 July 2011


As I write this, the GTA is experiencing record breaking temperatures. Yes. My first time (anxiously) away from the idyllic 27-31C Thunder Bay summer and Toronto must leap to NEW highs (take that Vancouver). At 12:08 PM it is 34 degrees C with a feels like of 46. 

Yup, I nod, as my heart rate slows to that of an ailing slug. Seems about right.

A city that never settles, I sigh.

In this heat I have lost my appetite. Great for Hollywood, perhaps, but if you're like me and eating every 2-3 hours is part of the joy of being alive, you will sympathize. What kind of food does one eat in this heat? What is even appetizing? Nothing cooked, that's for certain. And please do remember that I am equally as allergic to ice cream as I am to the prospect of getting fat.

But today I discovered the recipe (heh heh heh) for survival. Yes, I am now embracing the raw food diet.

I was brought up in a household spoiled by a stay-at-home mother. They were luxurious, those days. (And I of course had not a clue.) But as a result, I moved out of my house at aged twenty-one as a completely useless human being.

I was officially housebroken by my roommates (thank you) but, when it came down to meals, I still sustained myself on veggie dogs and oatmeal. Crackers and cheese and canned soup. Toast. And so on.

Once my roommate caught me puzzling over mould growth in my jar of tomato sauce.

"How bizarre!" I say. "I just bought this 2 weeks ago!"
"Well have you been using it? Is it open?" She asks.
"Um, yeah." (Add 'boiled pasta' to the list.)
"Ohmigod! It's supposed to be kept in the fridge!"



Aside from the odd humilitation, though, the life suited me. Until the day I came home with a grocery-sized list of allergies & had to learn to cook my own meals and shop almost entirely at a health food store.

Flash forward seven months to when I meet musician boyfriend as a new, self-sustaining, shockingly healthy-eating woman.

"Ever tried quinoa?" I casually ask over a glass of wine. "It's incredibly easy."

From microwaved veggie dogs to a vainglorious food snob in just half a year. (Fortunately for me, MB is equally as snobby, and likely one of the only straight boys on the planet who could ever put up with my diet.)

Unfortunately for my mother, a maritimer who raised us on meat, potatoes and a side of string beans, my 'home' visits have become a new, cooler version of hell.

"What should I buy for groceries?" She asks with a sigh. We're on the standard pre-visit phone call. "What do you even eat?
"I told you Mom. I can eat lots of stuff. Just no cow's milk or wheat or cane sugar. Or peanuts or peppers or potatoes or tomatoes. Or food colouring. But we're all allergic to that poison."

I show up to be welcomed by a pot of white rice and a selection of vegetables. My mother eyes me suspiciously as I chew and swallow. For someone who can only eat lettuce, she is thinking, you'd expect she'd be a bit skinnier.

The move to Toronto has done wonders for my diet. The variety of restaurants alone has made eating out fun again. And of course, I got to experience my first raw food cafes and eat my first real desserts in...a coon's age. So it was only a matter of time before MB and I were trying our first batch of raw popcorn (made out of cauliflower, if you're interested), ordering a spiral slicer (to make noodles out of zucchini for christ sakes!) and I was at Chapter's buying The Art of Raw Food.

I called my mother to tell her about our new food habit just last week. MB and I, you see, are visiting on August long weekend.

"Okay," she replies calmly. Too calmly. "Okay. I can just give you my credit card and you two can go to the grocery store and buy whatever you want and make your own meals."

I can't believe it. I really can't believe it. After 26 long years, she has finally relinquished her kitchen. When I thought I'd be prying the ladle out of her cold dead hands one day, there it is. So simple. Mine.

A few days later she sends me this.

This woman is 51

Gillian McKeith is a TV health guru advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet of organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements, also states that yeast is harmful, that the color of food is nutritionally significant, and the utility of lingual and faecal examination.

This woman is 50

Nigella Lawson is a TV cook in Great Britain, who eats nothing but meat, butter and desserts.

I rest my case...

Of course, MB and I are not going to become strict raw foodies. We are about balance. (Read - we are far too lazy and lack the dedication. And I can't risk being an even shittier guest at parties.) MB balances out his cauliflower-turned-popcorn with a beer or three, for example.  

And so, on a day when turning on an oven or even heating up a frying pan is suicide, I made my first raw pea soup for lunch. Needless to say, it was incredible. (Have included the recipe at the bottom, but please do not mistake this non-blog for a food blog.) Look. There are pictures.

And for the first time since approximately July 5th, I look forward to dinner.

I rest my case.

Raw Pea Soup Recipe

1 pint (1/2 L) water
3/4 cup almonds

1 3/4 cup peas

1 avocado
1 small handful fresh mint
Salt and Pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

First make the almond milk.
(What? Make almond milk?!) Yes. All you must do is blend the almonds with the water. It's easier if you soak them for 12 hours first, but if you don't have time it's not necessary. This simple task produces a gorgeous, frothy, sweet, heavenly drink.

Then mix with peas, avocado and half the mint and blend. Add salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Garnish with mint and serve.

Yup, it's that f*ing easy.


Katie K said...

Mistakenly thought the soup picture was from a magazine - I'm shocked and impressed at the same time,Bri!

Mallory said...

Mmm quinoa...

And I totally can picture your mom and her sceptical look!