Monday, December 26, 2011

Quieter here

It's probably only going to get quieter here. Find me at Hmm... where activity is a little more regular.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lake George

We planned to cruise around the lake.

But arrived a little too early.

So we just stood at the pier, talking and waiting.

Then we boarded the boat.

It was called The Morgan.

We sat as far to the front of the boat as we could. But a rope cordoned off the area with the best view.

The ride was pleasant but a little boring. We saw pretty things. Like charming houses on little islets.

And trees. And water.

The bathrooms on the boat were too cute. "Gulls" for ladies and "Bouys" for men.

Before long we were back. And our hotel, The Sagamore was in sight.

We were ready for lunch.

I had a very appropriate lobster roll.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peter Luger

Ready for dinner



Because there, it's all about the meat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Best of 2010

Really late for this, I know. But my regular computer is down with a virus and I'm using the old one. It's forcing me to revisit some photos from last year. :-)

Red Velvet Cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery

Pizza Bianca from Totale (now closed - I am very upset about this)

Grilled Cheese with Apricot Compote from The Green Table

Grass-fed Burger at Savoy (truly flavorful patty, comes with sweet house-made pickles and excellent fries)

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie from Birdbath (wish it wasn't seasonal and they had it all year)

French toast from DBGB (custardy within and bruleed outside - the ideal french toast)


Chocolate and Kumquat Marmalade Tart. Had some leftover pastry and decided to make this rough little tart.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Monkey bread from Peels and an apple-cheddar scone made by a friend. It was a good morning.

325 Bowery (btn 2nd St and Bleecker St)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thoughts on Recovery

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week has got me thinking about my past eating disorder and recovery. And I know talking about eating disorders is depressing. We’re talking about a disease that kills up to 20 percent of suffers. But I strongly believe that there needs to be a more personal way to talk about recovery. So I figured I write a post to just get my ideas out there. Most books written on the topic are downright cold. Yes, they convince you that you need to get better. But they don’t make you want to get better. And the holier-than-thou tone can make anyone antagonistic.

I am going to attempt to take a holistic approach. Write something that doesn’t just focus on the weight and makes eating fun. That said, I can only tell you what worked for me and I hope it proves helpful. If you, dear reader, suffer from the disorder, not everything about my case and yours will be the same. I don’t want to talk down to you. Goodness knows you are a strong and determined person. All you have to do is re-channel your energy. You know you can do it.

Ideas to get better
Take pictures of your food. Food eaten was not for naught if you got a visual keepsake of it. Also, it is easier to let go and stop keeping a mental record, if you have a physical one stored on your computer. Photographing your food also keeps you honest. It’s a lot more difficult to lie about how much you ate if you have photographic evidence that the portion was tiny.

Read about food. As an anorexic, I fixated over the calories in food. I looked at food porn online. I started reading food blogs. I practically had a cookbook surgically attached to my body at all times of day. It is often said that anorexics eat by proxy, visually, through aromas, anything but the traditional, calorie-giving way. And for a while, keeping food around me did allow me to “eat” without actually ingesting anything. But once I had resolved to recover, I began looking through cookbooks not for visceral satisfaction but to pick out dishes to prepare. I started to cook. By preparing my own meals, I felt more in control of my life. At first I cooked the food to make sure that absolutely no extra fat was added. Then, I hit upon the best tip I could give anyone who wants to recover. I learnt to treat every meal as a chance to educate myself on food and new dishes. I learnt to focus on controlling quality and not quantity. Cookbooks taught me about new dishes and I set out to try as many of them as I could. I tried hummus, I made pate and quiche. A whole new world opened up to me. And while I am not saying I embraced it immediately, eventually all the novel tastes made eating fun again.

Now, just who and what should you read? Almost any cookbook can work really. It all depends on your tastes (which you will get to know better once you start eating again). Here are a few ideas to get you started. Read Nigella Lawson. The woman knows how to eat. She wrote a whole book on the topic for goodness sake. The domestic goddess takes obvious joy in life and it emanates from her writing. For her, greed is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a sign of the pleasure you derive from life. It is a real skill, knowing how to be a happy eater as I am sure you can appreciate. And Nigella has the formula down pat. Also, she is beautiful and it really is not so difficult aspiring to be like her. She can be the new ideal. I know it is now a cliché but Nigella proves that the fleshier woman does not have to be a frump. She can be attractive. She can be sexy. And even more so than many of the slenderest models.

That brings us to my next suggestion. Reconfigure what you think of as attractive. A figure like say, Scarlett Johansson’s is just as attractive as a thin one. Even the media seems to think so. I know that the rounded ideal might seem like something from the past. But for my money, I say it is on the uptrend. As far as beauty cycles go, it is about time for a change. The Victorian Age saw the first diagnoses of modern anorexia as girls starved themselves to fulfil the in-fashion look of sickliness. The 1900s were all about the curvy Gibson girl and the twenties saw the rise of the boyish flapper. Fast forward to the fifties and we see the heavier Marilyn Monroe-esque ideal. Then came the sixties, with slender icons like Twiggy. And fifty years on, we’re still stuck on thin? There’s no way this can last. Gain the weight and you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Learning to eat alone is also essential. I don’t mean all the time. Sharing good food with people you love is one of the great joys of life. But if you don’t eat just because no one is watching, you haven’t really recovered. One way I learnt to do this was by treating solo meals with just as much pomp and circumstance as meals with others. Set the table just for yourself. Cook an elaborate dish even. Take the chance to cook something your usual dining companions don’t like. If you’re up to it, eat out at a nice restaurant. Whatever you do, just make it fun. Reading can help here too. For more independent dining inspiration, I recommend the books The Pleasure is All Mine and Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. The former, by chef, writer and actor, Susan Pirret is an easy read and makes eating alone sound downright glamorous. The latter book offers different perspectives on the single diner by some of the most notable food writers in the industry.

Try new foods. It is likely that you had a few favourite foods that you ate (in miniscule quantities) even before you started the recovery process. I know I did. And I’m assuming you had the calorie counts of these items memorized. This can make consuming those items really difficult. So instead, start by eating new foods and don’t look up the calorie count. I know it’s hard. I had a huge obsessive compulsion to do this but trust me if you don’t check how much energy you are consuming, it’ll be so much easier to eat. Reading widely about food (see above) will help with ideas and expand your food-related horizons.

Why gain the weight? The benefits.
Be happier. I know it seems tough now and almost impossible. And maybe you’re questioning if it is worth it, this business of trying to recover. I am telling you it is. Don’t doubt it for a second. If you gain back the weight. Your weight loss efforts will not be for naught. Think about what you will have learnt psychologically. It takes more resilience, strength and determination to get out of the situation than fall into the disorder.

Get back that period. The amenorrhea in my case actually lasted seven years. I can’t tell you how worried I was that permanent damage had been done. Granted, I lost my weight young and can count the number of periods I had before the disorder with my fingers. Still, not having that monthly something that I knew almost all other girls had was trying. It makes you question your femininity. It makes you feel stunted, physically and emotionally. When you menstrual cycle resumes, it is a huge relief. It might take longer than you expect. I only got my period back when I was borderline overweight, near seven years after I lost it. I guess my body is still adjusting. But exchanging my period for a little extra weight is a trade off I’d happily make again.

Wear a regular bra. If you are anything like me, the extreme weight loss probably took a toll on your bra size. And though it seems trivial, shopping for a training bra when already well into my teens was a little embarrassing. It took a further toll on my self-esteem.

Dealing with comments
People can be ignorant and unkind. And it would probably be helpful to provide a few suggestions on what to say when you get the inevitable invasive questions and comments. You know, tips on what to say when people harass you. Relatives who you don’t see you everyday might say silly things like “you’ve gotten fat” come your next meeting. I had a friend who would comment that I “must be sooo hungry to be eating two sandwiches” whenever I brought one sandwich, cut in two, along the diagonal to school for lunch. I guess the implication was that it was pig-like to be eating that much. Funnily enough, when I didn’t slice my sandwich in half, she considered it one sandwich and never commented on my portion size. Just remember, other people can be odd too. They have their own quirks and issues. Ignore the comments and use your better sense. You know gaining weight is a good thing for you and don’t let anyone inadvertently convince you otherwise.

So if someone says you’re getting fat, say “I know, isn’t it great?” And if someone asks why you’re so thin, be honest. Say “you’re working on it”. Admitting you have a problem, plain and simple, often catches people off guard and shuts them up.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The holidays mean...

Chicken liver pate

Revisiting old family photos

Poon Choy for CNY

Cute hand-me-downs from my mother

Dim Sum lunches

Silly action movies

Homemade cheesecake

Trips to the library

Pudding for breakfast

Festive hampers!

Spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar

Thoughtful conversation