On a current Forum thread, a poster despairs of making tofu palatable for her A husband.
I didn't want to derail that thread, but I do want to tell what I've said to those who haven't yet found the keys to Delicious Tempeh as well:
1. Pay attention to brand. Different brands can have very different tastes.
2. Some brands have "flavored" (i.e., pre-marinated) varieties. These might actually be delicious. You could find one you use all the time.
3. With tofu: Density is an important factor. There is "firm" tofu. There is "silky" tofu...
4. With tofu: You've got to express its water before you cook it. In the package, it is soaking in liquid, and you have to press this out. You can put the block of tofu on a plate, then cover it with another plate, and put a weight on that upper plate. Periodically pour off the liquid that has come out, until no more water is expressed. Now you can work with the tofu.
5. Frying and baking are the methods that I find most successful with someone who "doesn't like" tofu. You want to BROWN the tofu, give it a little crust that will contrast with the inner soft chewiness.
6. Tofu will absorb and nicely reflect the flavors you cook with it, so choose your oil and other ingredients carefully.
This is a follow-up to my 1 November 2010 blog, "BTD or GTD?"
Then and there, I wrote, "The jury's still out."
Well: It's back.
For this gal, it's BTD all the way.
Nor did I ever get with the SWAMI program (the computer program for individualizing one's plan according to Dr. D'Adamo's post-Blood Type research).
Back in 1996-97, I was excited - nay, galvanized - by D'Adamo's bloodtype teaching. His 1996 groundbreaking book,Eat Right 4 Your Type, is still a best-seller - Number 212 in sales at Amazon, almost 15 years post-initial publication! - for a reason. It resonates, and works, for millions of us.
It's more than diet: It's thinking. It's a cohesive way of seeing human life, gene-groups and migrations. I've always found the Genotype classifications to be hazier. On D'Adamo's website's forum, Genotype-SWAMI adherents admit that their classifications keep changing, over time, with all sorts of variable conditions. It's a program that defies group classification, and that's fine - even preferable - for many who desire to keep monitoring those factors.
Even the title of Dr. D'Adamo's last book has changed - from The Genotype Diet (the one I bought in 2008) to Change Your Genetic Destiny. While Dr. D'Adamo is of course not claiming to be able to alter anyone's genes, he is linking diet to the possibility of facilitating or hindering susceptibilities to illness and "premature" aging that are genetically sourced. There are those who enjoy learning and knowing about glycation and methylation, but nowhere near as many as believe the Blood Type model appropriate for their needs.
Eat Right 4 Your Type is readable and understandable - and followed - by people all over the world. It isn't for lack of grey matter that I am more comfortable with it than with the mutable computer program. Among bloggers at D'Adamo's site, I can be counted on to espouse, promote, and guide in Dr. D'Adamo's Bloodtype teachings, with the occasional foray into the Genotype diet, perhaps just to mention my use of or reaction to a component of the "Nomad" program from time to time.
The ER4YT/LR4YT bloodtype system stood me in good stead for nine years before I became a blogger here, and continued after I bought The Genotype Diet two and a half years later.
I still assist newcomers to Dr. D'Adamo's bloodtype work. And the beat goes on.
What goes into the experience of being a chef? Depending upon whether you work privately or at a restaurant, many skills beyond simply "knowing how to cook" are required. Many TV reality shows that feature cooking spotlight some of the elements of the chef's panoply of skills / talents. I thought I'd outline many of them here, for easy reference.
First, there's The Kitchen.
Equipment: Knowledge / Familiarity; Use / Maintenance; Placement / Organization.
Layout / Flow Pattern: Pantry, Walk-in Fridge; Reach-in Fridge; Freeze; Deep-Freeze; Prep Stations; Garde-à-Manger / Service; Front of the House; Washing. ...etc.
Health: Product sealing / storage of foodstuffs.
Economic ordering; Seasonal ordering; Meal Planning with leftover-processing in mind; Date-marking of all foods.
Safety (High Hazard Potential)
2. Fire / Heat
3. Spills / Spatters
4. Emergency measures
Kitchen Comfort / Ergonomics / Mood:
Special flooring, stool(s), Music/sound, height/other adjustments. Special attire.
Teamwork: Roles, tasks, strengths/weakness
Supervision of employees: Many of whom are young, novices to work force/ethic.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Getting it all out at the same time and the right temperature:
Computing starting time, employee arrival time, delineating and assigning all prep tasks to right staff and at the right time. Proper estimation of execution time, knowledge of cooking methods' time requirements and ingredients' responsiveness to those methods. Different service requirements of a meal's various components. Warming and waitstaff issues.
FRONT OF THE HOUSE: Psychology Will Take You Far.
Understanding that there is a particular psychology with respect to Restaurants.
You're dealing with Hunger, which affects the mind and behavior and feelings. You're dealing with Taste, which is a very personal matter. You're dealing with style and aesthetics of presentation of that food. Then there's atmosphere. A well managed Front will be flexible to time of day (differences between, say, a Rush- and a Fringe- hour) and will be staffed by sales people (wait staff) that are well-educated about the menu. A good chef must take the time to offer waiter tastings and explanations.
Plus: Here in America, "The Customer Is Always Right" is the order of the day. You want a manager on the floor who abides by that, ensuring that customers walk out happy, even enthusiastic. This requires a commitment to the Whole Experience, from the welcome greeting through Food, Drink, Music, Mood, Service to Farewell.
THEATRE: The curtain goes up. The front door opens. The door between Front and Back of the House is thin but ever-present. The audience is "out there", though every now and again a customer will want to see the chef. One must be ready and happy to interact with him/her.
I'm not addressing the Food itself here. But having backup dishes and knowing how to materialize great food under urgent conditions, should these arise (and they will, they will) is a priceless skill to have. Think: Readiness to feed the 5000.
Restaurant Psychology stands the chef or restaurant manager in good stead for just about any interpersonal challenge life can hand one. Expectations around Food AND Retail AND Theatre are very, very high; people can be intense under the combined circumstances.
Restaurant work is stressful for the chef: Too much so for many. Some of us found certain areas wherein we tended to be blessed with miracles time and time again. For me, every night was full of these.
There are a number of those Reality Shows on TV. Chefs and ex-chefs watch them with a certain amount of relish and/or nostalgia for the crises and challenges we've faced and surmounted as a matter of course, as part-and-parcel of the job.
That said, we are still artists and care most of all about the food and - for me - the soulful, human enjoyment of it.
I hope this has conveyed some sense of what professional cooking entails. Kin'a makes you glad you're in your own kitchen, creating beautiful, healthful (diet-compliant?) leisurely meals for yourself and maybe a few others?
Over the past week I've had occasion to counsel a couple of different O people on getting started with the blood type diet. One of these was a 55 year old male with Rx-treated health problems; the other a 41 year old female in good health but overweight. Following is my basic prescription:
1. Understand the O Type.
Get the overall lay of the land. I like Dr. D'Adamo's book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, for a general introduction to blood types, the medicine and the anthropology. But, if you only buy one book, I suggest diving right into his Live Right 4 Your Type. I like the latter's numerous charts, showing health strengths and vulnerabilities and offering so many helpful tips for different age groups and conditions. It also treats of "secretor status", which you may or may not choose to investigate.
2. Take a look at those O potential weaknesses:
The general list includes: Inflammations, allergies, arthritis, ulcers. Depression/bipolar illness, anger management problems, impulse control problems – addictions, alcohol abuse; thyroid problems, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis. O's can get a pretty good sense of their general health by noting which, if any of the above, affect them noticeably.
3. Look at D'Adamo's food recommendations
See the overarching shape of D'Adamo's recommendation for your type. For the O, this means emphasizing animal protein – especially red meat, your highest octane fuel. It means de-emphasizing dairy and grains/starches and liberally using green vegetables and beneficial fruits, e.g., berries. Analyze your current practice, and compare it to D'Adamo's model.
A note on meat for the O type: This is my own particular image, but I see the O stomach as a piranha, hungry for animal flesh. My favorite childhood TV sitcom, The Addams Family, featured a pet piranha in a fish tank. A whole fish would be dropped into the piranha's tank; the water would be intensely roiled by the feeding, and the complete skeleton of the piranha's meal would be ejected from the tank within seconds! Consonant with that image, I tell O's: Feed your stomach acid! Give it something to do! Employ it, so it doesn't eat your stomach! The stomachs of those who are not of type O do not produce this abundance of protein-dissolving acid. You've got it: Use it. Toss it some red meat to keep it docile!
4. Look at D'Adamo's fitness recommendations
For the O, this means a daily sweaty workout! I've found that many O's notice more even moods and less anger-outbursts when they work out hard at the outset of their day. They seem to enter the fray with equanimity and balance, less likely to be addled by annoying circumstances. Obviously there are many other benefits to the right program, too, but the evenness of temper is often quickly and dramatically appreciated.
5. Prioritize your Beginner Program
(a) Add Beneficials
With Dr. D'Adamo's program, I like to think: Lifetime maintenance plan from the get-go. I do not recommend "hitting the ground running": Choose one suggestion such as "eat more lean red meat" and focus on that for at least a week, noting any changes in overall health or well-being.
Choose easy things first. Adding red meat portions. Then adding leafy greens. Then adding berries. Increasing the rigor of morning workouts. If you don't work out at all, then adding a weekly intense workout, or doing some yoga or stretching for ten minutes every day for a week. (Obviously your health and age must be factored-in)...that sort of thing.
(b) Subtract Avoids
Once you've gotten used to bennies and workouts, lighten up on the avoids. Usually the practice of (a) results in improved morale and motivation to drop bread or pasta somewhat. Switching from bread to crackers is an interim step many O's have found helpful in the weaning process. Look at your dairy consumption and switch from avoids to beneficials/neutrals where that's most comfortable for you.
6. One-at-a-Time Food Category Focus
Look at, e.g., your beverage consumption habits. How compliant is it? Switch types of tea or wine: That sort of thing. Oils? Drop sunflower and go with olive. Easy stuff first!
I do not recommend shooting for "100% compliance"; it is far less likely, with most relatively healthy people, to eventuate in an enjoyable lifelong practice. When in doubt, choose the easy way over the difficult one. At the beginning, do not necessarily obsess on minors such as spices or even individual fruits and vegetables. Three to four weeks thus, at a slow pace, will usually yield positive results, boosting morale and preparing for the next phase. These can be improved by knowing your secretor status. I explain what this is/means.
7. Learn about/take into account Secretor Status.
Approximately 80% of the population secretes blood type antigen in body tissues other than on the red blood cell surfaces, and this secretion is a boon, increasing immune defenses. The non-secreting minority is more susceptible to health challenges and is likelier to have a number of hard-to-diagnose or -to-treat ailments. Begin with the assumption you are a secretor, however, unless you identify with my description of the non-secretor. Live Right 4 Your Type will offer somewhat different dietary recommendations for the two groups. The secretor test is based upon a saliva sample (to determine whether you are secreting blood type antigen in your saliva). It is available for home-administration through Dr. D'Adamo's website.
The foregoing represents a general introduction to practicing Dr. D'Adamo's guidelines for the O newbie. If your blood type is not O, take a look at the doctor's books and look up your own type, taking the same overall approach. There are cases in which I'd advise greater stringency, but in most I recommend what's more enjoyable.
Last night, the 41 year old woman said to me, "I really appreciate your attitude: I tend to go to extremes. I get overly serious and harp on the details." She was relieved by my permission to lighten up.
"If you want to lose weight quickly, only to put it back on again," I said, "go with some other diet. If you want to really live right for your type, however, for the rest of your life, learn about this way, and take it up gradually."
Today I ordered a home kit for self-blood-typing from North American Pharmacal (1-877-ABO-TYPE or right4yourtype.com), taking advantage of the Free Shipping special. At $9.95 it's a great buy!
This is far from the first time I'm mid-wifing someone's initiation into blood type medicine; this one is for a friend, long familiar with my approach, but other times it's been on behalf of friends, yes, and clients. I've even stabbed their fingers for them if they were afraid to do it themselves. Apparently many people can not bear to see blood on their fingers; they might even feel faint if they do.
For my part, I stabbed my own finger in seventh grade Science, back in the 1960s. It was our first "lab". I discovered my B-ness then. When I was in college, as a preMed student my first job was at a hospital blood bank. It was my responsibility to screen potential donors - take their histories and vital signs, blood samples, and perform the hematocrits. My supervisor, a medical student, wanted to train me to draw the pint, but I was at that point reluctant. Instead I monitored post-donation status, restored fluids and nutrition, and sent the donor on his/her way.
As for modern self-typing kits, the new lancets, in their little casements, are very user-friendly. Somehow not seeing the actual weapon renders its use more benign. And within - oh - ten minutes of opening the package, you know your blood type. At a doctor's office, the ABO test can add seventy or more dollars to your lab bill, and you won't know the results right away.
Knowing your blood type grants you entry to the marvelous world of Blood Type Medicine pioneered by Dr. D'Adamo. I am personally more a Blood Type- than Genotype-follower (there's a quiz on his website that might help you decide which model would be most appropriate for you), but even the Genotype teaching is informed with blood type principles. Know your blood type - yes, even you, fellow American! Find a friend willing to perform the test on your finger if necessary, but order it and do it! Free shipping, $9.95 the pop. What's your excuse?