on unbalanced meals

checking out a new cookbook

Balance the day, not the meal, MFK Fisher says, and the words have been stuck in my head for weeks.

…for breakfast you have fruit or fruit juice, hot or cold cereal, eggs and cured pork in any of about four ways, bread or toast and coffee (or tea, or milk).  For the noon meal you eat soup, potato, meat, two vegetables or one and a ‘salad,’ a pudding or cake of some sort, and tea or coffee or milk.  And for supper, to continue the dreary familiar song, you probably eat soup again, eggs again, a vegetable again, and stewed fruit…and tea, coffee, or milk.

She was writing in 1942.  To me this sounds neither familiar nor dreary. But the alternative she offers has been creeping into my mind.  One meal for starches, one for fruits and vegetables, one for meat.

Breakfast, then, can be toast.  It can be piles of toast, generously buttered, and a bowl of honey or jam, and milk for Mortimer, and coffee for you.

For lunch, she suggests a giant salad or a pot of soup.  For dinner cheese souffle and salad.  Or steak and sliced tomatoes (with wine or ale and “a loaf of honest bread”).

I can’t speak to the nutrition of this plan, but it’s simplicity is appealing.  Almost as appealing as a breakfast with fruit and cereal and eggs and pork in any of about four ways.

Maybe more.



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