In the gay world of food where colors dazzle, spices seduce and flavors wow, fiber is fuddy-duddy bespectacled friend wearing turtleneck and tweed. A humble character to my way of thinking, cellulose resides in an austere category cloistered and shunned yet deserving of at least a soupcon of recognition. To contribute towards this undervalued end I will eschew an otherwise mouthwatering meal option in favor of something with a bit more tooth even when it foretells far from perfect polish. Peculiar but true, my food choice decisions are in deference to the essential inelegant, sometimes stern body friendly fiber.
In a society which trims bread crusts off of children’s sandwiches, strips the hulls off of wheat kernels and unthinkingly trashes edible peels off of fruits and vegetables, we’ve become a people whose palates have gone mute and pasty unable to discern the vital from the not necessary. The far reaching cultural attitudes of our forefathers had people prizing delicacy and equating this with impressive virtues such as beauty and goodness. In the resulting efforts to banish the coarse and crude from the culinary world, denatured grains became triumphant golden staff of refined civil diets leaving base whole foods to the poor few, a down spiraling trend which has continued to pervade tender minds as well. Consider the blemished and indigestible skin, pod, peel, rind, and husk which have been hulled, peeled, popped, and skinned to reveal pristine interior landscapes, the incidental reluctantly bearing way to the elemental. Like a richly textured fabric which offers marching grooves of warp against weft, fiber is the thread which binds and strengthens, interlaces and joins. Not only does it connect this to that, but it is a grain of interest, contrast providing doorway into another world. Imagine a vista or a viewpoint with no differentiation in sight, plastic ho-hum drudge barely worth the effort of engagement. It seems to me that our fiber-thin world has us wanting to be filled, saturated and touched and that the insanity of same has us under siege from an explosion of variations of the truly non-essential kind. Within or without, upon our naked backs in the form of a scruffy nubby fishermen’s sweater or sating our appetites full, the organic dross of plant matter with its unpretentious tooth and cuff, satisfies our most primitive need to enter unerringly into life.
Surprise Morning Glory Muffins:makes 12 muffins Adapted from Whole Foods Recipes
To lead a truly fiber rich life, I often reach for cooked vegetables first thing in the morning. But lest you think I wear a hair shirt while pontificating upon the virtues of flax, I present Whole Grain Morning Glory Muffins which updates the exceedingly dull and puckish bran muffin of day’s yore to tantalizing new heights. While muffins, scones and the such generally leave me cold (too much fluffy bread matter), these nutritious, jeweled and textured treats are kind of like a merry fruitcake without the booze or bother. And with a name like Morning Glory, even grumps must yield a little.
1 1/3 C whole wheat flour (can do parts of oat flour/ ground flax seed/ spelt flour)
¼ C evaporated cane sugar
¼ C packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp Chinese five spice
¼ tsp sea salt
½ C grape seed oil
3 Tblsp of lowfat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
½ C drained crushed pineapple
½ C dried cranberry (fruit of your choice)
½ C shredded carrots
¼ C unsweetened flaked coconut
½ C chopped walnuts
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together breaking up any lumps. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, oil, yogurt, and vanilla together. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Blend in the pineapple, cranberry, carrots, coconut, and walnuts gently. Line a muffin tin with paper cups and fill them ¾ full. Add a dollop of jam (I used apricot/pineapple) in the middle of each muffin top and slightly push it in. Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure to avoid the jam center when testing.