I’ve been taking part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) at Stanford these past few weeks on International Women’s Health and Human Rights (it’s not too late to register and catch up, if you’re interested!). I can’t express how wonderful it has felt to expand and apply myself in thinking about issues outside my small world with my small troubles. In addition to connecting with individuals from all over the world, I meet with a group of fantastic people in the SF Bay Area for in-person discussion groups every week.
One of the thought topics that came up during discussion was, “what does it mean to be a woman?” At face value, it seemed like such a simple question but I have been startled again and again this past week with my inability to come up with a satisfactory answer. One thing I have landed on is that being a woman, in concert with many societal and internal pressures, has deeply and irrevocably changed my relationship with food.
My teen years were fraught with an obsessive focus on my weight and the subsequent fight against food. Food was the enemy and the less I ate of it, the more (imagined) value I obtained. Through the years, I have more or less come to terms with this struggle.
I admire those women who can stick to strict diets and beastly workouts. When I see quotes that say, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” I wonder if that is actually true. I think plenty of things taste better than having that elusive perfect body. What it boils down to is this: while I value health and well-being, I have come to love food while also being very much attached to the communal act and the connectedness that comes with it. I love sitting down with loved ones and sharing special dishes and memories. I love baking and decorating holiday cookies with nieces and nephews, or celebrating someone’s birthday with a slice of cake. I love spending time in the kitchen with a girlfriend and sharing my heart as we whip out batches of pickled veggies or brownies. I hope these things will always mean more to me than a flat tummy.
In addition to all these musings, I’ve also found myself having to reconcile what it means to be healthy and what that looks like in day to day eating. I desperately search for that middle ground between stringent diet guidelines and the distorted sense of entitlement that allows me to eat all the chocolate because I damn well deserve it. Whether or not I ever find a stable resting place is still up for debate. I’m getting there.
This recipe represents what that middle ground looks like for me, right now. It is relatively low maintenance yet still tastes great (super important) while being nourishing and satisfying. The rich, velvety flavor of eggs and cheese is nicely balanced out with the acidic bite and crunch of the cabbage. Would it be weird to say that I’ve eaten some form of this meal everyday for the past month? I hope you make this. I also hope you share some cookies with someone you love. Be kind to yourself. Cheers.
Frittata + Salad
Time: 30 min Yield: 6 servings
Eggs and egg dishes usually don’t reheat again nicely as that means they are getting cooked further so the texture tends to get a little unpleasant. If you don’t mind slightly undercooking the frittata it should refrigerate and reheat relatively nicely. Otherwise, just let leftovers come to room temperature before eating or brave the reheating/overcooked eggs process. I’m sorry I don’t have any better solutions for that, I wish I did.
I enjoy the cabbage salad on subsequent days and think that the flavors get better as they sit for a bit. I’ve heard that many get squeamish when faced with a slightly limp cabbage slaw/salad. If that’s the case, slice the cabbage, make the dressing and store separately and assemble right before eating.
8 oz fresh baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
3 eggs + 2 egg whites
1-2 splashes almond milk
1/4 c. cheese (whatever you prefer… I used Kerrygold aged white cheddar which I have been loving lately)
1 small head red cabbage sliced thinly (a mandolin or food processor works great too)
1 lemon, juiced
olive oil, equal parts as lemon juice
1 med. garlic clove, grated
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Saute washed and dried spinach in a little olive oil with garlic. Let cool.
- Whisk eggs and milk together.
- Take handfuls of sauteed spinach (make sure it’s cooled enough!) and squeeze excess water out.
- Fold in spinach and cheese into egg mixture.
- Place mixture in a greased pie pan.
- Let bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top and firm in middle.
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Dress cabbage to your liking.
- Serve alongside frittata.