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.