I. The Tempeh Trick
My A friend, Tomoko, called yesterday, asking how to prepare Tempeh. As a B, I no longer eat Tempeh, and I haven't prepared it in many, many years. But it's a "beneficial" for A and AB secretors, "neutral" for everyone else, except B's and O non-sec's who should avoid it. I was known in my chef days for my Tempeh-based vegetarian specialties in a gourmet setting, so I do remember a few tricks.
First of all: What is Tempeh? It's a fermented soybean cake with Indonesian origins. It's available in assorted flavors and can be found in the refrigerated case at most health food groceries. It's very difficult to digest, usually, if not sufficiently PRE-cooked. And there's The Secret: Starting with pre-cooked Tempeh.
You can steam or boil it first; I personally prefer, however, to fry or even bake it: These yield interesting/pleasing texture as well as flavor, bearing in mind that this is but the PRE-cooking (preceding a later cooking!). Boiling or steaming in different broths imparts flavors, while different oils for frying can also influence the final flavors if desired. Generally, I fry till crispy, or bake till golden.
My customers went crazy for my "scallopine" presentations of Tempeh, in various Italian-style dishes such as Piccata. Piccata entails sautéing your pre-cooked, and prepared, Tempeh in butter and lemon, with the addition of capers. For my Piccata, I began with White Wave brand Lemon-flavored Tempeh, which I sliced into very thin scallops before frying or baking, and then marinating in white wine (garlic optional). A dusting of flour and glazing in beaten egg, after marinating, authenticates the veal/meat-methodology (to the point of almost tricking the senses at serving time!). Then into the sauté pan, saucing, and there y'are. Other sauces include Puttanesca, Francese, etc.: Go wild. Fall in Love...
Asian-styled dishes should also bring out the best texture and most savory flavors you can muster: I was successful with pre-deep-fried tempeh which I then cooked in sweet-&-sour sauces, or pre-baked and then stewed in coconut/chili curries, or herb-broth-boiled and then BBQ-grilled with tangy marinades. Important: Choose your slicing/shapes for maximal accentuation of the following three keys:
1. Adequate pre-cooking (if steaming/boiling, at least 10 mins. needed. Better: 20-30)
2. Adequate flavor-saturation
3. Good Texture.
Dr. D'Adamo includes a few Tempeh recipes in his book, Cook Right 4 Your Type. Other pertinent inspiration-sources for me way-back-when were:
Mary Estella's Natural Foods Cookbook (1985) and Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking (1981).
Bon Appétit, and Aloha to Tomoko and all you non-B's.
II. Tempi: Camel Rhythms
I simply do not tire of camel talk, and I usually languish for likeminded conversation on the subject, there being no Bedouin campfires in the vicinity. But Sunday (9/17) I indulged in this pastime with other aficionados at the 12th Annual Arab Cultural Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Not only do some of my Arab and part-Arab buddies love camels, but I even met a non-Arab woman, other than myself, who was wearing a Camel charm on a chain around her neck. Another friend has a Belly Dancing school and was acknowledging the camel's gait, and the experience of camel-riding, as the root of Arabesque musical tempi and dance-moves. She also, by the way, does excellent imitations of camel facial expressions: I'm guessing she's B.
Tender grilled Lamb Kabobs and eggplant salad were yummy. And: The Coffee Guy was there, as usual, with his numerous offerings. The line at his booth is usually very long, because each cup is "made one at a time". He uses various spices at customer request and isn't afraid to brew it brutally dark and strong. It's rare to find coffee outside my own kitchen that is as ultra-ultra-dark and rich, while not burnt or bitter. He also knows to use the fattest cream (cow, not camel: Alas), not to mention the ideal alchemical blending technique -- Ah, the desert beckons.
Sidebar: Didja know that the reason Arab/Turkish/Bedouin coffee was originally spiced (cardamom, clove, sometimes coriander seed) was to disguise the flavors of bad mid-desert well water and/or that of the goatskins containing the camel-transported water?
Understand camels and coffee, and you're an honorary Bedouin.
Aleikum wa Salaam.
When I arrived, 30-odd-years ago, as a transfer student at my new university in New England, I was required to meet with my assigned Academic Dean to discuss my previous education and be awarded however many credits for it he'd deem appropriate. His secretary showed me to a chair in his office, saying he'd be back in a couple of minutes. I couldn't remain seated, however, once I'd spotted an entire wall full of artifacts on display. I was standing and examining the many unlabeled photographs, paddles, totems and what-have-you, when he entered.
"Are you interested in my collection?" he asked.
"Yes, very", I replied. "These would appear to be Kwakiutl--"
"Amazing!" he exclaimed. "How is it you know about the Kwakiutl?" (I was, after all, only 18, and hailed from New York).
We chatted of Pacific Northwest cultures, and of potlatches in particular...
There I was, the maturing child who'd loved the Addams Family in former years for the exoticness we shared (cf. 7/20/06 Blog: "Lugubreity"), grateful that my dean (whose pipe tobacco was so beautifully aromatic: "Dark berries? Blackcurrant? Maybe Fig?") recognized my every freshman credit, as well as my intelligence and potential: B-meets-B, for sure!
But the world is not always so kind to B's. We enter Modernity glowing with unappreciated desert virtues, endowed with unusual wares and talents viewed by most as odd. We can read signs and portents, knowing-what-we-know, and then: Movin' On. Yes, we move on, with the seasons (Think: Mary Poppins and the wind-change).
Alexander Besher, writing under the auspices of Toshitaka Nomi in 1983 (You Are Your Blood Type), claims that B's are romantically promiscuous, but -- in my case anyway -- that's a serious misread. I think, rather, that B's are collectors of knowledge, connoisseurs of experience: A minority of us might indeed choose the sexual realm for such exploration (à la Seinfeld), but this is by no means our "norm".
I've found that quite a number of B's have resided in at least one country other than their native one. B's may also be religious converts, and/or be a member of a family in which one or more members are such. B's can be immigrants, eccentrics, "tumbleweeds", racking up a broad range of life experience (and, in my case, books).
A TV character I'd identify as quintessentially B, as well as my own alter ego, is Wilson, next-door neighbor to the Taylors on "Home Improvement". Wilson is a scholar whose specialized interests cover a wide scope. He's not only intellectual, but creative, as well as interpersonally wise enough to deliver spot-on Real Life advice, daily, to Tim, Jill, and each boy. He's quite earthy, however, not using his knowledge to earn himself entrée into a society he prefers to, if anything, observe.
I'd welcome such a neighbor. We could quiz each other, over coffee, on History, rather than pursuing the proverbial dinner-and-a-movie...unless it were a documentary, of course. GROUP History-quizzing is covered by the game of "Botticelli/20 questions", should there be many such neighbors. Fiction-free literary Charades is another enjoyable social activity for B introverts, as is Foreign Language Scrabble or Boggle. Less intellectual B's, I grant you, certainly exist. Seinfeld would probably enjoy Superman-Trivia or Baseball-facts Pictionary. Somewhat higher-brow worldly B's might go out for Fashion-Designer Scrabble, Artist/Gallery Hangman, or Oenology Hollywood Squares.
B's in the Western World are unaccustomed to massive doses of B company, outside, perhaps, our own families. B's generally don't fill stadia. We make our own way across steppe and dune, pass and gap, with our herds and flocks, a hound or two, and a falcon. Yes, in simpler times and places, we brought these to the annual markets, exchanging news and information with fellow shepherds and with various A-farmers interested in our livestock, rugs, and crafts.
A's and B's can "do business". A's (the "research librarians") can be fascinated by/learn alot from B navigators. We dish up dirt from other lands and bring it 'round for-your-edification. O-Hunters, on the other hand, come across us Nomads and wonder how they can bag some easy loot. However, they're often surprised by, and even admiring of, our wilderness-honed canniness.
But we B's certainly have the lowdown. Some are gossips; others are mystics with the Word from On High. Some are anthropologists. Not all are highly educated, let alone erudite, but "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" we are, to-a-man: Unafraid of being found "different"/oddball in the great Hunter/Farmer crowd that populates the world.
The wandering B polishes and relishes the myriad contents of his medicine-bag: Star-crossed moments of social alignment and shared story, smells of likeminded campfire (or pipe tobacco), admirers of our artifacts and collections.
I have been busy this summer with a few clients, each an Individual.
I'm perpetually wondrous over the sheer uniqueness of each precious, faceted gem that is a new mother. Each woman traverses the raging river of this transition in her own way, according to the particular configurations of her own psyche and setting; I am the sherpa who takes her by the hand and assures her she is okay and that, together, we will arrive on Terra Firma. And we do! (Only because I am guided can I guide. Only because I am loved can I love).
The babies themselves are Individuals too, but simple and unpolished as yet: All the easier for new parents to cope with, as the latter attain their own footing. "But they're NOT easy!", a client might protest. "He was easy LAST week when he was sleepier!" I remind her that last week the baby was difficult to rouse and underweight, or jaundiced and wrapped in "bili-lights", etc., as the case may be.
Week by week, the dual-career, egalitarian, childless relationship morphs into a family, with its division of labor and its sometimes bitter sweetness. Selfishnesses are confronted, grieved, attacked by not-always-cute bundles of pure need.
Eventually, the cocoon of the "fourth trimester" bursts, and the woman undergoes social re-entry as a mother, the couple as a family.
Santé waves bye-bye, and our city's population is enriched with yet another citizen who's gotten a Good Start. The earth may quake here in San Francisco, but I do what I can to solidify the ground under its families.
PART ONE: The Camerooni Cabbie
A couple of weeks ago I said to my driver, "I'm going home and I'm gonna cut up some fruit." He told me, "I eat ALOT of fruit."
Me: What's your blood type?
Me: Blood type yadda yadda, etc.
CC: Is O the type most people are?
Me: Well, more people in the world are O's than any other single type.
CC: Let's say I'm O. What does that mean?
Me: Basically, dietwise, you need to eat yadda yadda and stay away from blah blah blah. It's also important to get some pretty vigorous exercise to be at your best, both physically and mentally. In fact, you might have problems with anger and its management if you don't get the appropriate workout --
(Screech of brakes)
CC (craning neck to face me): That's ME. You're talking about ME. Who ARE you? How do you KNOW this?
Me: Keep driving, and I'll tell you. Yadda, blah, etc.
CC: Give me your card! What do I DO?
Me: dadamo.com [...] ER4YT [...]...(scribble, scribble). Here.
CC: I'm 50 years old. My blood pressure is high. I want to stabilize it without drugs, but my doctor doesn't know a THING about nutrition - Why IS that?
Me: Too broad a question...[etc]. Check out that book.
CC: This is fantastic!
Me: First house on the left...G'night!
PART TWO: The Californiac Cabbie
Me: Is that your dinner?
CA: More like Breakfast; my day's just starting.
Me: Whatcha got there?
CA: Roast beef and blue cheese sandwich. No dressing or anything, so it's good for me.
Me: What's your blood type? Do you know it?
CA: O negative. Why?
Me: Roast beef -- an excellent choice for you ... blah blah, not the cheese or bread, yadda yadda. [PAUSE]
CA: This is VERY cool stuff. My new girlfriend's giving me so much grief because I eat meat, and I KNOW I feel better when I eat it. She's a vegetarian. It works for her, but not for me.
Me: O vs. A, for instance, blah blah. Stomach acid differential, yadda yadda.
CA: WHOA! So THAT's why I've had heartburn ever since I've been eating her cooking! It all makes sense! This is DYNAMITE! So: What else?
Me: Well, since you're O, you have less likelihood of blah blah diseases, but, for one thing, I find many O's have serious "anger management" issues --
(Screeching of brakes)
CA: OK, Lady. NOW I'm listenin'. NOW you got my attention bigtime. Look: I'm turning off the meter, 'cause I'm paying for your ride. Now what's this about anger??
Me: Well -- It's very important for O's to sweat, get a good workout every day if possible. Without it, you can itch for a fight, right?
CA: Incredible! I used to be a fire fighter: It was really intense physically, and I guess I needed it, because just driving around, it's true, I don't have time to build in the exercise. But I didn't realize that's why I'm so -- keyed up, wired or something --
Me: OK. So, Run. Go to a gym. Even hard swimming. Whatever gets you pumped. Kickboxing, I don't know. It's gotta be VIGOROUS.
CA: I NEED this information. Sh-t, I get angry and I get acid reflux bad. What else about O's?
Me: Well, it seems O's are often long-lived --
CA: Many members of my family have lived past 90, 95.
Me: I'm writing down a web address for you.
CA: Need paper? I'm ready. This is IT.
Me: And the name of a book.
CA: There's actually a BOOK on this?
Me: A best seller -- And more than one!
CA: Y'know what I'm getting? This is all about "Individuality", isn't it?
Me: BRAVO! You really DO get it! At this website, the homepage'll tell you at the top: "Individuals Welcome Here". That's just what it's about.
CA: Lady, you're changing my life. You realize that.
Me: OK. Make a right here.
CA: You got it. Hey. Can I ask you one more question? You mentioned No Wheat and No Dairy except the cheeses I actually like best [mozzarella, goat, feta, etc.]. Does this diet say O's shouldn't eat POTATOES? Because I like 'em, but somehow they don't seem to agree with me. Does that compute?
Me: You are SO right on. You'll do really well with this. Let me at least give you a tip: Take this (handing him a couple of bills).
CA: Keep it. You've given me all the tip I need. Have a great evening!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Note: I learned about the (Screechin') Anger/O connection straight from Peter D'Adamo's writings. And I have to say: Again and again O's are WOWED by my bringing it up as a blood-type-related characteristic due to the O's unique need for vigorous physical exertion, particularly "under stress". This is often the major factor that interests O's in D'Adamo's work and a diet they'd never heard of before. Second is the need for red meat, which many O's recognize. Here in California, that wins many over. Third, I'd say, it's a tie between Yeast/Candida, digestive complaints, and miscarriage. Fourth would be thyroid.
Another note: The two O Cabbies above are but two of many, many cabbies I've initiated into our ABO secrets. Improving lives, one ride at a time.
I recently saw a TV rerun of The Addams Family, a favorite program from school days. I think Gomez and Morticia were wonderfully B. Back in the 60's they fenced (as did I), did yoga (70's for me), Morticia played the shamisen (I plucked other strings), their butler played harpsichord (as did I!), they served exotic teas (ditto) and kept unusual pets (Nope.). Most of all, they shared my exquisite appreciation of Gloom. I think of Morticia every time I hear myself saying "delightfully lugubrious", which is how I define San Francisco's unique weather at its absolute densest.
This year's July 4th fireworks were visible from below for the first time in at least a decade. Normally I watch 'em from my hilltop place, whence I can see them exploding in the clear air above the fog that obscures the view from the crowd below. July 4th falls squarely within Fog Season and can usually be relied upon to be downright cold. But this year, the whole week was warm. Sunday dusk, I sat writing by the fanned window, when that deep low horn sounded long and loud, from the west, over the whole city. I actually audibly said, "Yay! Here it comes!"
The fog. The mists. (Do I belong on a moor? I have to say, the Scots are notably higher in B than are the English or Irish.) "Our natural air-conditioning", 'tis said. I'm a fool for it.