The Loh Life

Losing it: use your noodle--part 4

Sandra Tsing Loh discovers fat-free cheese.

I’ve gone on about my weight loss regimen for three weeks now, ever since I stepped on the scale and saw a number I wish never to see again. But I now have some exciting news. After all the starving and calorie counting and Fat Friending, I’ve discovered THE ANSWER. Well, several answers, really.

Here’s the problem.

Whatever diet you’re on, be it Cave Man or South Beach or Weight Watchers or Zone or my favorite one ever, from the 1970’s, hailed by Ed McMahon, MARTINIS AND WHIPPED CREAM?

You can’t eat a lot of pasta. Pasta is out. And I LOVE pasta. Who wants to confront, every night, the same skinless chicken breast and steamed broccoli and BLEH! It’s nigh unto winter--it’s cold out there—it gets dark at 3!

I typically AVOID Whole Foods due to the monstrous expense, but in the freezer case recently I discovered something very interesting. Do you know we have nonfat cheese now? Nonfat swiss and nonfat cheddar and nonfat pepperjack? AND, that if you squint your left eye a little when you bite into it, it tastes pretty cheesy? Although to be fair it does not melt-- one hour in the oven and it looks less melted than vaguely perturbed, like it would LIKE to break out into a sweat, but it can’t--because of the botox.

But no matter. Cheese! I’m eatin’ cheese!

And it’s not only cheese….how about some nummy mashed potatoes? Okay, it’s actually pureed cauliflower with just a plopful of non-fat ricotta. And nonfat Greek yogurt. But still, VIRTUALLY the same.

And here’s another one. Get this: You take some tofu-based “Smart wings,” towel off the nasty red sauce, and COMBINE them with sliced portabello mushrooms. Mix it all with greek yogurt, and you’ve got something that approaches Beef Stroganoff!

You’ll notice, I use Greek yogurt for everything now -- I lotion it into my HEELS, I put some in the VOLVO – it’s never run better! Anyway, ALL this goes on a bed of shirutaki mushroom noodles—just 25 calories, people, 25!

It is true that these noodles, when heated, extrude a LIQUID that smells FISHY, and they ARE oddly springy. Instead of al dente they’re sort of more BILL dente, or CARL-- Sauce doesn’t ADHERE but rather slips and sluices off, as though the noodles -- like frightened amphibians -- are trying to swim away.

What ARE shiritaki mushrooms anyway? Merrill Markoe—WHO HAS A NEW BOOK COMING OUT--feels these “noodles” taste like “heavy water.” Says Jonathan Gold about shirutaki: “That’s why the Japanese call it the devil’s foot jelly.”

Fine. As long as it’s not a fat foot.


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