If you’re hungry, you’ll want to stop reading now. I’m about to share my one true love: soul food.
By now, you know I’m an advocate for enjoyment with abandon. On occasion, I splurge. When I go out for a meal outside of my regular routine, I’m not careful. I deprive myself of nothing. Sweets, drinks, no guilty pleasure is off limits. Life would be so much less fun without intense, decadent flavors. If you don’t allow yourself the freedom to occasionally slip up, you’ll crash anyhow and hate yourself for it.
Now it’s time for a game I call “Fun with Rationalization.”
I’ve traveled the country, sampling cuisine from every corner of the earth, and I always return to a meal famous for its Southern roots. From the African American Registry:
Soul Food is a term used for an ethnic cuisine, food traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans of the Southern United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in “soul food” are also regional meals and comprise a part of other Southern US cooking, as well. The style of cooking originated during American slavery. African slaves were given only the “leftover” and “undesirable” cuts of meat from their masters (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts of ham, roasts, etc.).
I’ve experienced Southern feasts of epic, belly nurturing proportions in cities from Columbus, GA to Jackson, MS to Bakersfield, CA. My must haves in any soul food meal include crispy fried catfish, black-eyed peas (if they’re cooked properly, you don’t even need teeth to eat ’em), sweet and salty candied yams, collard greens with hot sauce and smoking hot flaky peach cobbler with a giant scoop of nutty vanilla ice cream.
But this is a health and fitness blog. I can’t be recommending you indulge in this meal. Here comes the rationalization. The catfish is a protein source, right? Our plate has a green leafy veggie, everyone knows yams are healthy and isn’t there a government body that suggests daily servings of dairy (ice cream)? Check.
So go easy on yourself and let go of the reins once in a while. You’ll be back in the saddle on Monday.
My favorite catfish recipe, courtesy of Paula Deen:
- 8 (5 to 6-ounce) catfish fillets, skin removed
- Crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- Oil, for frying
- Heat a fryer or a deep pot halfway filled with oil to 350 degrees F.
- Sprinkle both sides of each catfish with salt and crab boil seasoning.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and the cornmeal.
- Dredge the catfish in the flour mixture and place in fryer.
- Deep fry for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until done.
- Drain on paper towels.