In order to get my microwave to work, I have to plug it in, unplug it, plug it in again and unplug it many times in a row. And then press "reset" a few times, press a few other buttons a few more times and then open and close the door several times. And maybe it will heat a cup of water or some leftover mac and cheese if I'm lucky.
I don't fool around with it much anymore at all. My daughter Molly does--but I tell her it takes longer to go through the microwave ritual than it would just to heat whatever it is on the stove or in the oven. But she turns up her nose--and I know what she means. The stove's too old-fashioned.
So it was a lucky break that my new best friend and Chicago Journal colleague Bill Motchan
invited me to hear a presentation given by his cousin Jennifer Cornbleet
at the South Loop Whole Foods at Roosevelt and Canal tonight. Because her cookbook is called Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people.
In other words, with this cookbook around the house, it's not going to be necessary to turn anything on that heats food. All I have to do is buy nuts, spices, oil and produce, use a knife and a blender, and I, too, can prepare well-balanced and delicious food. No heat needed. With this cookbook around, we can dump the microwave and the oven in our South Loop alley.
Jennifer, who lives in Oakland, California is in town to plug her book and demonstrate raw "cooking." She made a mango tart out of walnuts, dates, coconut and, of course mango that would knock your socks off. It was totally delicious, garnished with raspberries and blueberries. She also told us how she makes a number of things that are in her book. Using things like "massaged" kale, avocado, pecans and frozen bananas. (Some recipes might even call for this exact combination.) She told us how she makes tuna sandwiches without tuna (or bread, for that matter). And how to make milk out of nuts. (You need cheesecloth). She told us how to turn a zucchini into angel hair pasta. And how to make chocolate mousse out of walnuts and dates. How about a smoothie made with Swiss chard and cocoa powder? Coming right up.
It was all very interesting. And so was the fact that I lived in Columbia, Missouri while going to grad school in 1972 at the University of Missouri, at the same time Jennifer was born in Columbia, Missouri, while her parents were students there, too. Who knew 40 years later that a little baby from my temporary college town would grow up and provide the perfect alternative to a stove, an oven and a microwave: just plain raw.
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