Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When I Was Young, I Never Needed Anyone, And Makin' Lunch was Just for Fun

Imagine you have full access to a Mexican restaurant's kitchen. Vats of warming Mexican rice, spiced ground beef, refried beans, chips, salsa, guacamole, everything and its all pre-cut and ready to go. Okay, now imagine that you're only 10.

Before I was old enough to really get in my mom and dad's restaurant and make my own plates, I started making 'bowls'. And to this day, I think they are a great invention. I didn't know how to put an enchilada together but I knew it's main parts. Bowls for me are a mixture of hot and cold foods that taste great together when assembled and built properly but even super tasty and fun to eat when you put them on top of each other in some crazy food orgy. A bowl.

So for example I would get a bowl and put steaming hot rice and beans together with grated cheese and warm salsa, stir that up and then scoop ground beef on top and top that with a pile of cold shredded lettuce,tomato and avocado. I'd scoop it all together with warm chips. It was a meal that ate like a dip that tasted like heaven.

Once in a while now I'll have some leftovers in the fridge and I'll make myself a bowl. It works with most leftover meals. This time I had ground turkey, the Greek chopped salad and because tomorrow is grocery day, I made a quick stir fry of leftover veggies, zucchini, corn, green bell pepper, potato and onion. I put a layer of the hot veggies on bottom, then the meat, topped that with the cold Greek salad and some crumbled feta cheese. I scooped it into my mouth with warm pita bread.

When I was in junior high there was a kid I knew, but pretended not to because he tended to do disturbing embarrassing things. He used to take our satellite lunches which conveniently for him already came in this huge plastic deep container and he'd mix everything together and eat it with a spoon, no matter what it was. At the time, that seemed outrageous and disgusting. Yet now, maybe he was just really efficient. Why not? Saves time. Hell, Rachael Ray is making a career out of mixing themed-ingredient casseroles in giant baking dishes that she has trademarked and melting cheese over the lot and calling it 'what's for dinner'. So, yeah, why not? Bowls are a time saving, artful way of eating leftovers but you don't have to add extra calories to make them appealing because you build the layers with greens and vegetables.

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