How Sharing A Meal Changed My Life: A Personal Note

Looking back on this period of my life, I am reminded how valuable sharing a meal with family can afford resolve, levity, and personal answers during a heavy situation. While I have long questioned why this period in my life was so disturbing and fraught with challenge, the answer I believe is learning. I did not truly understand who I was as a person and what interests I had in life at this time. As I continue looking into the past as the individual I am today, this particular moment serves as a means how I needed to improve my life and in doing so find my passion for moving forward. For the positive impact I have learned as a result of it, I am grateful for its experience.

         Thank you for reading Food & Zen,

                            Bobby Soufflé 


Click here for Part 1 to see how it all started.

Or try here for Part 2 and the finale with Part 3.  

How Sharing A Meal Changed My Life: Part 3

With my parents insistence, I ordered the Surf and Turf from the menu. Normally I would not order that expensive of a meal, but I was not in the mood to challenge. Fresh warm bread was served to our table as I sipped a mixed drink trying to relax. After some time, I experienced a calming moment while eating bread with my family. Possibly the result of alcohol, but personally, it felt more than a buzz. Gratefulness was the best way to put it. 

Cutting into each juicy bite of steak and buttered lobster was quite therapeutic. 

An awful day slowly morphed into resolve over the course of the meal. The more my parents talked while I ate and listened, the better the outlook was for tomorrow. It was in an instant like this the comfort of a meal surrounded by loved ones reminds me how much I value my parents and my life. There is some kind of magic sharing a meal with family to move beyond life’s extraordinary challenges. It is an honorable moment I will never forget. 

Leaving the restaurant as the sun settled, I felt better with myself and my future. I would not let this situation ruin me. Instead, I will focus on the positive impact of the surgery so I may regain balance and control to my health. 

Two months later, I did just that. 

It was a transitional period moving to a new home around the peak of the holiday season. The good news was my surgery was a success. Further assessment from my endocrinologist found I did not have a cancerous nodule as I was previously informed. I found this result disheartening having gone through this emotional drama ridden nightmare. At the heart of it all, I am thankful to be alive and continue to be in much better health. 

As always, never stop trying new things. Even if they are life changing.

Please see A Personal Note for more information. Thank you for reading Food & Zen.

How Sharing A Meal Changed My Life: Part 2

As the day arrived in September with my endocrinologist, I was terrified for its repercussions.  

I had never been required to have an ultrasound until this point, but I will never forget how life changing its results. Sitting arched on the exam table with gel pressed around my neck, it was genuinely awkward and slimy. Even more disturbing was learning I may have cancerous nodules growing around my thyroid. My endocrinologist told me it was imperative I have surgery to remove the entire thyroid gland. Questions flooded my mind. 

How could this happen to me? How can I function without my thyroid? Am I going to die from the cancer? 

Sitting on the exam table listening to the results, I was devastated. With my palms buried in my face, I never cried so hard in my life. Far worse, I had yet to inform my parents waiting outside the office. My mother cried as she and my father were as much at loss for words beyond the console of a hug. Truthfully, my words will never fully express the utter hell of this day. Only the depiction of a nightmare come to life comes close. 

As we drove away from the office, my parents did their best trying to soothe me. Looking at the floor mat, I heard none of it. Some time had passed as we pulled into the lot of an Italian restaurant. My mother ushered me out and walked beside me with my dad following. The hostess seated us near a large glass window overlooking the nearby road. I was so distraught and angered that I struggled to make conversation. My thoughts were bleak and hopeless.

Continue here for Part 3. Thank you for reading Food & Zen.

Play With Your Eggs, Not Yourself: An Unfortunate Cooking Tale Begins

Put down that bag of pretzel flavored potato chips and hold the dip! 

This reading journey is pure stupidity and my hope is you will read it. Maybe you’ll consider following my blog, Food & Zen, because it must get better the more I write, right? Please have a laugh on me as you enter a fool’s journey in food creation.

I am fairly new to food making cooking thing. In college and to this day, I am a connoisseur of microwave food making and I also enjoying eating out. Having learned little from home cooked meals as a youth, I can only attest that I like to eat. Thank you for that mom. Of course, I can conjure an amazing bowl of the finest cereals known to many supermarket isles, but I have a fridge of food with this foreign word beneath the label. 

Expiration, what is that?

I’m thinking of making scrambled eggs. It seems to be a simple thing to make. What could go wrong? I do not require the internet for help because I’m a man and I can figure it out myself.

Taking three eggs from the fridge, I notice the bacon bits on a nearby shelf. It reads applewood bacon on the front so it must expensive and taste amazing! Looking deep into the center of the fridge, a powerful sensation arises from within. It growled to the depths of my asophagus. I realized it was confidence, the belief and consuming power that with these eggs and bacon bits, I can create the most incredible egg creation ever in the history of egg concoctions. The sprinkle cheese with its parmesan goodness called to me while the garlic sounded amazing with its minced burst of flavor.

To be concluded…Here! It can only get better.

Play With Your Eggs, Not Yourself: An Unfortunate Cooking Tale Concludes

All my ingredients were ready on the counter including necessary utensils I think I will need like a spork for tasting and stirring. 

My cereal bowl works well for mixing the ingredients as I start by cracking and placing the eggs then adding a handful of bacon bits. Next, I open the parmesan droping about a handful of cheese. Forgetting then remembering to add a spoonful of garlic to the bowl, it was likely over a spoonful, I mix it with the ingredients. It sure does smell amazing if a bit strong. 

I spray cooking oil in the frying pan until it’s moist everywhere. Placing it on the stove, I select the proper grate knob and turn it to low because I do not want to burn the house down.With all my ingredients prepared, I pour them in the pan. It crackled with delight.

The sound reminded me of a crowd applauding me on for my achievement in egg scramblery, not a real word.

About five minutes passed and my eggs smelled great, but looked very yellow and watery. I was not aware at that moment my error and failure to add cream! Hurrying to fridge, I hoped to save my eggs with the last minute addition, but it was too late. 

I took a bite of the mess I created. It was bad as I only tasted a spoonful of garlic and a hint of parmesan. The flavor of bacon and egg was completely gone. As quickly as I swallowed it, I chased it down with a cup of milk. Disappointed, I grabbed the pan and scraped the rest into the trash. Cereal was back on the menu for this rookie.

The lesson to be learned here is if you do not succeed at first, then try, try again and again. An important note, try not to leave your family’s kitchen in a mess when they are unaware you took advantage of their fridge. 

No matter what happens in life, never stop trying new things. Just clean up after yourself. And please follow me at Food & Zen. I promise, it gets better.

How Sharing A Meal Changed My Life: Part 1

I thought my life was finished in the fall of 2010. But it took a dinner with family to help make a life changing decision for my future. 

I began experiencing serious health issues around late 2004 into early 2005. The most noticeable was losing an unusual amount of weight in a short period of time. My heart pounded as I would profusely sweat from everyday activity like walking a short distance. Trying to control my weight lose and then gain was an incredible struggle. It felt like a matter of days I could go up or down as much as five pounds that easy. My endocrinologist described my symptoms as Graves Disease. What triggered the disease is unknown but it made my thyroid work over time giving me rapid heart beat including many sleepless nights with little energy to make it through the day. 

I fought with my body for years trying to balance my thyroid as my body randomly flipped an internal switch forcing me to reset its functions and start all over, again and again.

By the summer of 2010, I was a mess. With an appointment scheduled for early September to see my endocrinologist, it felt so far away. I had a very poor outlook on life. Struggling to control my weight, anxiety, and temperament was a losing battle. My relationship with family and friends was coming unraveled as I made stupid arguments and unnecessary drama out of anger and frustration.

A trip to Canada that summer was pure hell. My thyroid and anxiety were ruining me. Arguing over leaving the bus for site seeing or a photo-op with amazing monuments and landscapes were senseless. Trying to leave the hotel, I found issue for argument over nothing more than movement. It was beyond embarrassing and one of the lowest points in my life. 

Continue here for Part 2. Thank you for reading Food & Zen.

Simply Chourico & Eggs 

Chourico is a famous spiced sausage around Massachusetts. In particular, it’s well known in the South Eastern portion of the state. Please check out my blog, Delicious Spicy Pork Sausage to learn more about this incredible meat. 
 

Like bacon and ham, chourico or chorizo can be prepared and made in as many ways you can possibly conceive it. 

The more I think how I’m going to make the chourico I left thawing on the kitchen counter since morning, the louder my stomach cries to eat. I wish I had all the necessary ingredients to make a delicious Portuguese Kale soup. Unfortunately, considering the time it takes to prepare and my ever growing hunger, a simple meal like a chourico omlette will work. 

Here is a quick tutorial in making a delicious simple Portuguese Omelette.

I’ll start by grabbing three eggs from the fridge. Feel free to include a slice of cheese for more flavor. I always enjoy fresh provolone but I recommend trying different cheeses until you find your preferred choice. Consider a splash of cream to the mix for a fluffy texture with the eggs or your preferred lactose unless you have an allergic reaction.

  

If you want to take it a step further, throw in some red and green peppers for the added South American flavor.

With my spicy Chourico cut and ready to be added, I mix all the ingredients consisting of the eggs, and cream in a separate bowl. I have my stove top active and turned to low heat and spray my frying pan with cooking oil. Carefully adding the mixed ingredients to the now warmed frying pan, I enjoy its crackling sound. 

 I let it cook for approximately five minutes when it all comes together and it is nearly done. 

Flipping the eggs as to be cooked evenly on both sides, I proceed to add the final ingredient. Just before I fold the omelette in half, I add the slices of provolone cheese I tore into three. To maintain the cheesy flavor and enhance the overall taste of the omelette, I choose to add it right at the end to maximize the flavor! After that step is complete, I fold the egg in half and the cheese melts in a timely manner. The omelette is now ready. Turn off the stove, grab the fork and plate and its time to get eating.

As always, never stop trying new things and please follow me @ Food & Zen for new content.