Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beginning


For those who don't know the back-story, here it is to the best of my knowledge:

When Anthony was younger, his mother (via his uncle) once acquired lentils in bulk at a discount price. The lentils were many and thus Anthony learned the perils of eating lentils for every meal. Sure there was diversity, in such forms as lentil lasagna and even lentil juice, but the frequency and sheer volume of lentils steered him away from their leguminess to this day (although he has reached the point where he no longer flees screaming upon their very sight.)

The discussion:

While hanging out after Anthony and Maggie had finished their Canadian adventures, the topic of lentils was addressed. Half-jokingly, I proposed the idea of recreating a lentil odyssey myself. But laughter fueled the cogs of thought and soon the idea seemed plausible, well.... not impossible, as a reality. Perhaps it could and would, if not should, be done.

The challenge:

40 pounds of lentils (dry weight), 30 days.

That's it. No restrictions on type of lentils or what else I can eat. As long as the lentils are consumed, the challenge will be completed. I felt it best to leave it bare-bones, both to allow for a little more flexibility (since there is no prize or reward for finishing) as well as provide a more monolithic challenge: like climbing a mountain, it doesn't matter how long it takes or what route one climbs, but reaching the summit that means everything.

The why?:

Honestly, several reasons. A little to function as a culinary experiment. Lentils are very versatile food that, despite fueling much of the world (particularly vegetarian populations), are rarely used by the American home-cook, let alone the monstrous American microwave-cook population. Be they in stews, sides or even ground into flour and made into baked goods, lentils should provide an ample palette with which to create a full-month worth of meals. Mostly, though, I'm doing it for an adventure. I haven't had a good one of those in a while and maybe it is just from the shouting "LENTILS!!!!!" all day, but this does seem quite exciting. I may regret these thoughts over the next thirty days, but given my demeanor, I doubt it.

Day One

Breakfast: Ahhh, after cooking a batch (~2.5lbs) of lentils last night it's time to start off breakfast with.....a peach danish. A lentil peach danish, you ask? No. Just a peach danish. No lentils. Sure this might seem like a slightly lackluster way to start an undertaking of epic proportions, but I didn't wake up early enough for a pre-breakfast breakfast and David brought tasty danishes to lab meeting for breakfast. So I'm one meal in and still 0-40lbs, but still optimistic.

Lunch: First meal of lentils! Since this adventure was thrown together rather quickly, I didn't have time to figure out any elaborate lentil recipes before last night. So the first lentil meal will start much like the framework for this journey: simple. Just boiled lentils. I brought two 0.5lb aliquots of lentils in to work-- one for lunch today and one for lunch tomorrow. A quick microwave and I dive into the lentily goodness. Boiled green lentils unleash their tasty, healthy richness on my tongue as the outer shells rolls around. Simple, but tasty. Luckily, they were not as filling as originally thought. Potential for a second lunch....

....yes! A few hours later, one more aliquot down. Now I'm one pound down, thirty-nine to go. 2.5%! Huzzah! Although I experience a little lentil overload in the form of minor stomach discomfort (next time I should probably wash/soak them first), it feels like a good start.

Dinner: Had to let the lentils digest a little longer than desired before going to the gym, but no problems arose. Back home it is time for dinner of lentils. Again simple, I chopped some mustard greens and then heated up another half-pound of lentils on top along with some balsamic vinegar, raw blue agave nectar and black pepper. Nice to have a little something else to go with the lentils. Perhaps tomorrow I'll make lentil burgers for dinner as the first processed lentil meal in honor of the start of football season (FOOTBALL!), er, uh... LENTILS!!!

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