The stir-fry color test

by admin on February 26, 2007 · 11 comments

A few weeks ago while his refrigerator was shot, Brys wrote about the pleasures of cooking with constraints. Since the new year, I’ve been working with one of the great cooking-related constraints: a pregnant woman.

The first casualty was mushrooms. We were driving home from the store, talking about something else, when Elizabeth said: “The thought of mushrooms makes me sick.” After mushrooms went, all vegetables went. Then, some of the vegetables — cucumbers, broccoli — came back. Then they went again. With most vegetables now it changes day-to-day.

By far the biggest blow to our kitchen life has been Elizabeth’s total and complete ban on garlic. The thought of the smell of garlic can turn her good day bad, so it’s forbidden for me, too. I’ve been tempted to sneak it into sauces, but she’s expecting that from me and her senses are on heightened alert.

The combination of her changing taste in vegetables and her distaste for garlic has led us to a lot of stir-fries. They’re quick and easy and can take on just about anything you’re craving (or, in Elizabeth’s case, just about anything she’s not not craving).

With smell, taste and texture limiting which ingredients we can use, we’ve started going to color as our guide.

It’s like a game: Which green can you stomach? Broccoli? Ick. Asparagus? Ick. Snow peas? Sure. Jalapeno? Sure. Which red/orange/yellow? Red peppers? Ick. Orange peppers? Sure. Red onion? Sure. Which pale aromatic? Garlic? (I have to ask.) Ick. Shallot? Ick. Ginger? Sure? And so on until we’ve got enough to tame the beast.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Phelan February 26, 2007 at 9:46 am

With my last pregnancy it was noodles. It didn’t matter what was with them or on them, I could not eat noodles. My husband tired of rice very quickly.

And congrats!

Lydia February 26, 2007 at 10:39 am

Color is as good a way to cook as any! My husband made a stir-fry once of all red things: red peppers, red onion, and a bunch of red spices that didn’t really work together — but hey, it was a great idea, and with a bit of rice it was just fine.

chip February 26, 2007 at 10:54 am

Phelan: Thanks. We’re very excited. So strange what the body tells you to do. Elizabeth’s a sweet freak and she can’t bring herself to eat chocolate. A lot of soul searching. Lydia: Color is so underappreciated in cooking, isn’t it? Trying to get several in a dish is generally a good guide, pregnancy or no pregnancy. I think it’s natural to crave colors as much as tastes and flavors. We just don’t think of it too often in those terms.

Phelan February 27, 2007 at 9:43 am

“So strange what the body tells you to do. ” Too true. I was a vegan until I became pregnant with my second son, pork became my favorite friend.

chip February 27, 2007 at 2:30 pm

While I’m not exactly jealous of Elizabeth or any other mother-to-be who has to go through these food swings during pregnancy, I am curious about what it feels like. I just can’t imagine that, vegan to pork.

Phelan February 28, 2007 at 9:31 am

It was an overwhelming craving. I resisted it for a long time. Tried substituting things. But veggie sausage wasn’t cutting it. It came down to, my body was craving this because it had something I needed. It came with a lot of guilt. I’m not the only vegan that this has happened to. I have a friend that succumbed to the lure of the egg, and I know a few others that had to eat tacos with the beef.

christine nyc March 26, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Im glad to hear from all of you about how your tastes change during your pregnancy. I was a vegetarian as well until my 2nd month of pregnancy – beef became MY best friend. Even fish made me sick. I was very guilty at first but what could I do? Thank you to all for sharing!

asata March 31, 2007 at 7:37 am

Congrats! When I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough of bacon and cheeseburgers, but they had to HOT and cheesey. Funny thing is I was a vegetarian and cooking at a VEGAN restaurant. Strange huh? I’m now a proud omnivore. One thing I noticed about being pregnant was when I “DID” get hungry, I had to eat “NOW”!!! Stirfries are a great FASTfood! I’ll remember that for the next pregnancy and hopefully I won’t go on a meat binge again! As for guilt: it takes a lot of protein to grow a baby, so maybe our bodies just go for what they know, regardless of what our intellect and conscious dictate. Pregnancy/motherhood is after all a VERY primal experience (as anyone who has delivered and/or breastfed can attest to).

RaiulBaztepo March 28, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
See you!
Your, Raiul Baztepo

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