When my daughter was about three years old we were at a party at her pre-school where there were all kinds of treats for adults and kids. I was the known as the deviled egg mom, thanks to my penchant for retro food, and my secret ingredient (see recipe). As I stood watching my daughter and her friends attack a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies I saw something that shocked and amazed me! Most of the kids were eating those cookies as fast as they could jam them in their mouths; many of them looking around to make sure no one was watching, to try to stop them. My daughter ate a few herself, and then, mid-cookie, she put down what was left of it, and said “I’m full”. She then walked off to play.
WHAT??? I know for a fact, I have never stood, or sat in front of a plate of cookies and uttered that phrase, and given the scene I was watching, most of those kids were more like me than my very sensible child. I was also certain that this behavior was nothing I had taught her, and certainly nothing I had modeled for her. As I stood in my shocked state of disbelief, all I could think of was ‘wow, I don’t have that gene’! I recalled reading Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole many years ago, and thought about the hero Ignatuis J. Reilly and his pesky pyloric valve which never seemed to click to notify him he had eaten enough. I was much more like him than I cared to admit, though I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anywhere near the number of hot dogs I remember him consuming. That being said, I am hardly anyone’s model of restraint especially when it comes to yummy treats.
Years later, my daughter continues to be a paragon of moderation when it comes to food. I attribute her broad and sophisticated palate to both her Asian heritage, and the types of food I’ve exposed her to through the years. She loves food, all kinds of food, and has a healthy appetite, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her overeat. She eats what she wants, she eats when she is hungry (only then) and she stops when she has had enough. How does she do it?
Having spent most of my adult life around readily available food, at work and at home, I eat for a variety of reasons, sometimes even because I am hungry! But when have I had enough? Often, by the time I realize I’m full, I’m too full. Historically I have stopped eating when there was nothing left; using external rather than internal cues. Breaking this habit is work, but also feels good. I like when I get up from a meal and feel like I could take a walk, or get some things done. I think this is what I am supposed to feel. The more I can do this the less frequently I overeat, and the worse overeating feels.
Part of the journey I am chronicling here will involve exploring my own hunger, and satiety. So often diet experts counsel people to measure their hunger on some kind of scale, I have heard that the growling in your stomach isn’t hunger, that true hunger is felt in your mouth. I am familiar with being over-hungry (really I am) as there have been times when I have been too busy to eat for long periods of time, and I know that eventually I feel lightheaded, headache-y, cranky, and sometimes even dizzy and shaky, but that is not a good or goal level of hunger, because I find that if I am that hungry I am no longer able to make reasonable choices. As I practice experiencing hunger, and the end of it I will keep you posted.
Truly Wonderful Deviled Eggs
It is really important that you don’t overcook your hard boiled eggs. A green ring around the yolk indicates that they are overcooked (and will be rubbery). Keep in mind that disdainful expression, ‘he/she can’t even boil an egg’.
Fill a pan with enough cold water to cover 7 eggs by about an inch. Heavily salt the water (about 2 TBL). Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, then remove the eggs from the hot water and put them into a bowl filled with ice and water. I use 7 eggs for 12 deviled eggs because you’re likely to have a broken white, and I like to have plenty of filling.
Once the eggs have cooled:
Slice eggs in half lengthwise (clean your knife between eggs or you’ll get the whites yolky)
(If you don’t have a deviled egg platter you may want to use a peeler to remove a thin slice on the bottom so they sit flat, do this before you cut the eggs in half, it will be much easier)
Gently squeeze the whites to release the yolks into a bowl
Combine yolks with 3 TBL mayonnaise, 1 1/2 TBL Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp of truffle oil.
I like to mix this in a food processor to make it very smooth. If you are a perfectionist once you’ve made a smooth paste, you can put it through a sieve.
You can use a spoon, small scoop, or melon baller to fill the eggs, I like a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip.
Garnish with your choice of paprika (traditional), or finely chopped chives