A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Funny Little Fruit Crackers

Recently I'm eating my way through Cara Brotman and Markus Rothkranz's Love on a Plate: The Gourmet UnCookbook. Yesterday I made fruit crackers, an odd snack if you're not used to raw food. I soaked golden flaxseeds (also called linseeds) with an equal amount of orange juice for a couple of hours, added a bit of maple syrup and some chopped-up pineapple and dried cranberries and spread it on two big trays, then dehydrated the whole business for a couple of hours. At that point I could flip it over and pop it back in the oven for two more hours to dry the other side.

If I had dried it out a bit more, it probably would've been crispy, but I was impatient, so I ended up with a slightly flexible product, almost like a thick fruit leather. I broke it into pieces and I've been nibbling at it ever since.

Golden flaxseeds are identical, nutritionally, to the brown ones, but a bit prettier I guess. Flaxseeds are the most widely available botanical source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the richest dietary source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. They have been called "nature's hormone replacement therapy." I eat plenty of flaxseeds and can testify that menopause, for me, consisted of two brief hot flashes. No sweats, mood swings, sleep disruption, depression, pain, or any of that. No prescription pills, no worries. I attribute my easy ride to high intake of flax and soy.

Flaxseeds are hard little mothers, so I was surprised that soaking them resulted in a gooey bowl of glop. You're usually advised, for most nutritional benefit, to eat them raw, grinding them just before use. Flaxseed oil seems like it would be handy, but it goes rancid very fast, at which point it's worse than nothing at all. Already-ground seeds pose the same danger. Whole flaxseeds pass through your system undigested, unless you chew them thoroughly. And that's what I've been doing. It would seem impossible to gain weight on this snack (which becomes strangely addictive) because it takes a really long time to chew and swallow! And that's all beneficial fiber you're chewing and chewing, so you get remarkably full after a few little pieces.

p.s. If I make these again, I will add more fruit (as recommended in the book, actually). The recipe calls for dried blueberries and fresh raspberries as well. I just used what I happened to have.

p.p.s. For some reason, the dog is wild about these. She is following me around and begging a lot.

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