Sunday, February 19, 2012
Quick rye bread
It's always been my tendency to lie to doctors, as if good health consisted only of the ability to fool them.
"Are you hearing any unusual sounds or voices?" the doctor asked.
"Help us, oh God it hurts," the boxes of cotton screamed.
"Not exactly," I said.
-Denis Johnson, Jesus' Son.
I never go to the doctor, but I did recently, reluctantly go to a dermatologist for him to look at a strange, circular red rash that had been bothering me since the beginning of the year. Of course, as soon as I made the appointment, it immediately began to clear up. After testing my skin, he found out that it was nothing worse than dermatitis, caused by an allergic reaction to something. But he's not an allergist, so he just knew I was irritated. By something.
He clearly regarded me as one of those neurotic women who go to the doctor when afflicted by a hangnail and I left, feeling vaguely irritated within, although no longer without, as if I had been taken in by all of the Internet health websites that say, "if it doesn't clear up within four weeks, have a professional take a look at it."
I have to say, I've only said to myself once in my life, "thank goodness I went to the doctor," and that was after getting antibiotics for an ear infection.
Whenever I go to the doctor, regardless of how dissatisfied I am with the treatment or lack thereof, I always feel a sense of relief, as if I've gotten away with something. I skip out of the office. From the doctor's perspective, my appointment is a mundane occurrence in his or her workday. In my mind, as I flee, I'm like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man, Jack Nicholson from One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest and Girl, Interrupted (the book, not the crappy film version) combined. I vaguely remember as a child feeling that doctors were friendly people with lollypops on their desk, but that's since been replaced with the cinematic memory of Laurence Oliver looking at Hoffman saying: "Is it safe?"
I'm sure pediatricians no longer have candy dishes in their offices. I do complain about my childhood all of the time, but I'm glad I lived when banks and doctors would give you lollypops and they used to have machines that dispensed stickers and dangerously small plastic toys near the supermarket registers.
Anyway, the rash is gone, and whatever cased the spontaneous reaction, it wasn't food-related so at least that's a good thing. Perhaps I just naturally break out in spontaneous irritation. That's how I tend to feel in yoga class.
Is it possible to like what yoga does for your body but not like the culture of yoga, as it is practiced in the United States? Sometimes, the upbeat rhetoric, combined with the subtext of "your inability to get into a handstand has nothing to do with your weak chicken arms and everything to do with your refusal to wear cute Lululemon clothing, smile, and get regular pedicures" really irritates me as well. I mean, I get the fact that I have weak chicken arms is rooted in the fact that I had an overprotected childhood and did very little physical activity until my twenties, and even then I've only started doing upper body stuff in the past year or so. So there is a mental-emotional fear component to it all in that sense because I bet I'd be much more physically confident if I had lived a different, healthier kind of life. On the other hand, if I had started working out seriously in my teens yet retained my love of dry, British humor versus sunny, vague New Age platitudes, I bet I could still look quite a bit more Enlightened upside down. Without turning my frown upside down. And don't even get me started on a post-yoga comment someone made about my feet. I run everyday, so me getting a pedicure is like trying to cure beach erosion with a spoon. It's a miracle that I have any toenails at all.
This is another quick rye bread, a riff on another rye bread I posted on Cookie Madness. I upped the fiber content a bit, since I made it for my father on Valentine's Day and he needs it. I gave Valentines this year, but received none. Even this was irritating, since my father told me when I gave him the bread that he thought it was a stupid commercial holiday (primarily because it involves men giving presents to women, presumably, since he's perfectly delighted to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, which involves, in his view, women cooking for men while they watch football). But he really liked the bread.
Fortunately, March Madness is coming and that always makes our relationship very, very warm until the end of the tournament, since we talk about that instead of argue about inconsequential things. I'm still doing yoga and--who knows--maybe the studio will have a March Madness tournament and the conversation will be about that, instead? At least it wouldn't get me in trouble.
Hint to blog readers: Don't bring up the fact you don't believe in astrology and/or the principles of Ayurvedic nutrition after a yoga class.
2 cups rye flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 large beaten egg
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan
2. Sift flours, salt, baking powder and soda, flaxseed together.
3. Combine butter, yogurt, honey. Slowly spoon dry mixture into wet mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
This bread is particularly good if you cut it in the center, like a cake round and layer it with cheese and other toppings, cutting it like a wedge 'sandwich.' (For a visual of how to do this, see my Cookie Madness post).