My failures

The stunt is only 14 days. Two weeks. And as I’m nearing the finish line, I’m realizing there have been failures.

1. still have muffin top. even my fattest jeans are tight. i didn’t think the pounds would fly off–but i may have even added more. lesson: cheese diets don’t work and exercise might be a better idea.

2. acorn flour. my dear wonderful friend D brought me some acorn flour. I immediately began eating it. I made a weird gruel first with some milk. I ate it but reluctantly. then i remembered my failure with the gnocchi and tried again. I mixed egg, baked squash, and the acorn flour. it turned a strange brown color. i paid no attention and boiled a few in salted water. they sank like tiny turds and stayed that way until i prodded them. then they warbled up to the top, floating and glistening. as i brought one out of the drink, i thought: what if i’ve discovered some new genius recipe that chefs will soon be imitating? what if they’ll name the gnocchi after me? (starvation diets make delusions of grandeur). then the brown ball passed my lips and was chewed. it was, dear readers, a monstrosity of sog combined with grit. tasted like dirt. then i thought: i should fry these brown balls. like falafal. which i did. they actually tasted good, like a falafal type food. nutty and crunchy. then i went to bed and developed the most splitting headache i’ve ever had. failure.

3. i visited the good students at USF the other day. they have planted a beautiful garden, and some freshmen farm and live in the dorms as an interest group. they are adorable, and grow food for a farm stand and make value added products, and learn how to graft. it made my heart sing to see these good citizens fired up about growing food. And then, they offered me lunch. it included, homemade foccacia and soup with (sweet baby J) barley. i lost all resolve and sucked down all those forbidden carbs, comforting myself that at least the vegetables had been grown on their little farm. failure, but i would do it again.

however, i’d like to report one success in the last few days: i accompanied tamara wilder (the instructor for the rabbit hide tanning workshop here at the gt farm this weekend) to a dim sum restaurant post-class, and watched her eat approximately 27 dumplings. and never once, never, did it cross my mind to grab one of the pillowy pork and cabbage dumplings, dredge it into the sweet soy/ginger nectar, and have it explode in my mouth. not once. i swear.

14 responses to “My failures

  1. forget the rabbits, you. are. killing. me. with your hilarity.

  2. These are not failures. You have successfully identified your weaknesses and can now begin to address them!

  3. mmmmm. dim sum. slurp. not finding a lot of that here in the French countryside.

  4. Fun post, Novella. :-)

    Hank Shaw (Hunter Angler Gardener Cook) has posted some great info on acorns and acorn flour!

  5. The fact that you even try to eat a hundred yard diet for a month is a success. I see no failures in your adventure, and by the way, screw all the people who got down on you for eating rabbits that you lovingly raised. At least you know where your food comes from. Cheers to you Novella!

  6. Losing weight is such a bitch, and only gets harder the older you get. The only thing that seems to work for me is low carbs, lots of veg during the day (and lean protein) and broth for dinner, maybe with a salad if I’m hungry. Maybe try again when you can get more vegetables out of your garden. Which, if it worked, would mean you hadn’t failed; you merely deferred your success.

  7. The reason you haven’t lost weight this time around is that you actually had plenty of proper food. That’s probably a good thing, on the whole.

    Also, the gnocchi will work once you’re able to use wheat flour, but it’s probably going to take more than you think. I was inspired by your first post on the subject, so I tried it out myself using butternut. Could benefit from a brandy sauce or somesuch, though.

  8. Hello Novella,

    i have a lot to learn and enjoy your blog. I plan to put a beautiful urban farm into the “heart” (literally) of downtown Livermore. I have no experience in what I am doing but I have plenty of passion. Maybe I could visit your farm sometimes, buy a signed copy of your book, and snuggle with one of your goats. My project is described on my webpage. The executive abstract: combine laser technology with goats and chicken to make children happy while teaching them high-tech skills …

  9. Congratulations on your effort. There is no failure but not to try. I admire your audacity. Just an idea: Food is a great thing that feeds our bodies and our senses. The problem that most of us Americans have is proportions. If we want to shrink our waistlines, we must shrink our portions. This does not take long to accomplish, just an effort at first, keeping wonderful delicious local meals small. Hope this doesn’t anger you, or sadden.
    I learned something this last year when I outgrew my jeans. Portions. Now I enjoy butter, wine, homemade french bread, fresh cheese, whatever… I changed the amount. I am back in my jeans. BTW, I am not starving, I am not fat, nor skinny. I am probably medium sized and enjoying my over 40 life very much.

  10. ghosttownfarm

    hey alice!
    yes, totally. i started using small plates for my meager potato meals and noticed i actually got full from just a few crusters. i think, too, i eat too much when i go out to eat. same problem: portions are too big!

  11. Hi Novella–

    I just finished your book which I enjoyed a lot, so your bunny bit in the Times was very timely for me and got me remininscing–I used to serve a lot of bunny when I had a restaurant in SF years ago–with mustard sauce, with olives, with fennel, whatever. But one of my favorite things to do with the legs was to confit them in duck fat–it makes the lean meat beautifully moist. Also Paula Wolfert has a great recipe for rabbit rilletes in one of her books (Cooking of SW France?) Good luck with your challenge!

  12. I just finished “City Farm” then visited Biofuel Oasis, where I was delighted to find organic chicken feed and beekeeping supplies at a reasonable cost! Anyway, you are an inspiration. Also wanted to mention that mixing acorn with corn in porridge and breads makes it lighter, a better protein combo, and way tastier, in my opinion- they should taste close to hazelnuts, if properly prepared.

  13. Hi, Novella. Have you read My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George? In the book, this young boy goes off into the woods to live by himself, foraging and fishing and hunting. In the book, he makes acorn flour and uses it to make pancake (among other things). He eats them with homemade jam. Maybe you could try making some pancakes with the flour?

  14. ghosttownfarm

    hi tara;
    cool, i’ll have to check out that book. thanks for the tip!

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