Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kitchen disasters - cornflake crusted fish

Last weekend I had a fair amount of free time, so I did a lot of cooking. For lunch on Saturday I had Hawaiian chicken with broccoli, and it was great.

It made me really happy to eat this
Hawaiian chicken with steamed broccoli.

For dinner I decided to try a new recipe. I was recently given a bunch of magazines, and one of them had a recipe for cornflake crusted fish.

 Recipe picture, from

It didn't sound like the most optimally healthy food, but it sounded like it could be good and it didn't have gluten or dairy. So I went to the supermarket to get cornflakes.

Cornflakes is a pretty simple thing, right? Even in Japan, or so I thought. Turns out that plain cornflakes is not such a simple request. There were chocolate cornflakes, frosted cornflakes, strawberry flavored frosted cornflakes, and brown sugar frosted cornflakes. I was already set on making this dish, so I grabbed the bag of brown sugar frosted cornflakes and hoped it would be one of those situations of flavors you don't think will mix end up going great together. This was not the case. This dish went the way of banana nachos, which my college roommates can tell you was an interesting experiment but should never be made again.

If you can imagine the flavor of fish, very sweet cornflakes, dill, and crushed pepper, then you might have an idea of what my dinner was like. I ate it in order not to waste food, but it was awfully weird. And I discovered a problem other than just the taste.

While cooking, I had only needed some of the (brown sugar) cornflakes, so the rest I put in a bag way in the back of my cupboard. I planned on saving them, maybe having a little at a time as a special treat. These good intentions never last long...

After eating my fish, even though it tasted pretty terrible, I started craving the remaining cornflakes. It was like breaking the seal, once I started I couldn't stop. So I dug them out of the cupboard, got a spoon, and ate the rest of them. This wasn't enough, though. Start heading down the wrong path, and it gets harder and harder to get back where you want to be. I continued to crave bad food, and dug my chocolate out of the back of the freezer and ate all of that. As we've seen before, being in this situation leads to unstoppable eating and then feeling bad.

BUT, I see where it all went wrong. I can't let myself have just a little of something bad, and save the rest, because once I start I can't stop. Would I have been ok if the fish was crusted in normal cornflakes without all the sugar rather than brown sugar ones? I don't know. I don't know if it was the sugar or the carbohydrates from the corn, or some chemical in processed food, but something in it acted like that first drink for an alcoholic, like a comment on a previous post so aptly put it. I have more testing to do, but I have definitely learned from this experiment.

So that was Saturday. On Sunday I went to a Hokkaido themed buffet in Okayama with some friends. It was great! I didn't eat any of the fried foods, the noodles, the eggplant in tomato sauce dish covered in cheese, any of the cakes, or chocolate from the chocolate fountain. I was good! I did eat a few vegetable dishes and five bunches of crab legs, or about two and a half crabs. For dessert I had pineapple and zenzai.

For many Americans when we think of a buffet, we think of "all-you-can-eat." This thinking leads to eating too much at buffets. It seems like in Japan many people don't think about buffets as being a good place to stuff your face, but more as a good chance to eat exactly what you want, without having anything you don't want. This is a great way to look at a buffet! If you stop thinking about getting your money's worth, and start thinking about what you do and don't want to eat, you can enjoy your meal and feel great about your health.

Since Sunday I've been doing pretty well, other than the unavoidable bread in elementary school lunch. At junior high today there was both bread and yogurt in the lunch, which I knew ahead of time, so I baked some sweet potato and brought that to eat instead.

 Bread & yogurt I didn't eat at the top of the tray,
baked sweet potato I brought instead to the left.

I've been getting so much omiyage (gifts of small sweets) at work recently, I think I might have to start a regular section in this blog called "Today's Trash."

So here's Today's Trash:

Some Tokyo bananas, and other sweets.

Until next time!

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