I am healthy. I am not perfect. But I am thin. I am fit. And I’m tired of holding myself up to an impossible standard.
I eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than anyone I know. I exercise regularly. I don’t drink alcohol on weekdays. My lifestyle now is healthier than has it ever been.
And yet it is not enough. Not enough to feel confident in a bathing suit, not enough to lose this bit of pudge around my belly, maybe not enough to balance my slowing metabolism.
I’ve spent most of my life convinced I should exercise harder or more intensely, I should eat as healthy on weekends as I do on weekdays, I shouldn’t eat until I’m overfull. I should be perfect, or at least perfecter than I am now.
It will never happen. It isn’t worth it to me. I won’t give up baking or the batter-eating that accompanies it, I won’t give up sharing a bottle of champagne with Dave on Sunday afternoons, I won’t give up the too many hobbies that keep me from longer workouts, I won’t give up eating sushi rolls until I nearly burst, I won’t give up pasta, I won’t give up butter, I won’t give up cream.
Instead, I will give up bikinis. I will give up pants that don’t quite fit. I will give up guilt. I will not eat differently than I do now, but I will stop believing I should.
I am healthy. I am thin. I am fit. And I can eat pasta coated in cream and still be all of those things. I will never give up pasta and cream, but I will give up feeling bad about myself for eating it.
Printer Friendly Recipe
Fettuccine Alfredo (from Cooks Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe)
6 appetizer servings
I’ve reproduced Cooks Illustrated’s recipe exactly below. But, in step 1, I found I needed to heat the cream-butter mixture over higher heat (medium-low to medium) for the cream to simmer.
To heat the bowls, either put them in a warm oven for a few minutes or ladle some of the hot pasta water into the bowls; leave the water in the bowl while you mix the pasta and sauce.
1⅔ cups heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe fresh egg pasta, cut into fettuccine (below)
2 ounces (1 cup) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Bring 4 quarters water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
2. Combine 1⅓ cups of the cream and the butter in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted and the cream comes to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside.
3. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until almost al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Add the remaining ⅓ cup cream, the parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the nutmeg. Cook over very low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the fettuccine immediately in heated pasta bowls.
Fresh Egg Pasta (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
You can mix this in the food processor, but for me, it’s easier to mix two ingredients by hand than it is to wash the food processor (even in the dishwasher).
You can also use store-bought pasta dough instead of making your own. You’ll need a pound for the amount of sauce in the alfredo recipe.
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1. Measure out the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Use a fork to break up the eggs slightly. Use a rubber spatula to mix the eggs into the flour until the dough is smooth. If it’s sticky, knead in more flour. If it’s too dry to mix in all the flour, knead in water ½ teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together.
2. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Spread dry kitchen towels under the pasta roller and over the counter. Set the pasta machine at its widest opening. Working with one portion of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, roll the dough through the pasta roller. Fold it in thirds like a letter and roll it through the wide setting again. Repeat four more times, adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the machine.