MY SWEET LORD JESUS, this has been a crazy couple of months. Me and the lady have been busy buying our first house and moving into it, leaving me no time for anything else at all. But it’s totally worth it. Check this place out.Fecking beautiful, right? I think we’ll be here for a good long while.
While we were in the midst of all the insanity, meal planning and regular cooking went right out the window. We were eating frozen pizzas and fast food on a pretty regular basis for a few weeks, because it’s hard as hell to maintain a functioning kitchen when you’re busy uprooting your whole life.
My body was none too happy. Is this really how some folks live on a daily basis?
But it’s better now. We’ve got our IKEA bed and dresser put together 1, I’ve got my Iron Gym up and I’ve got a dead-simple workout getting me ripped with just five minutes a day 2, I made a run to a restaurant supply store to build up my kitchen a bit, and last week, I finally started cooking regularly again.
Oh my good Lord, what a relief. To be able to know that I’m putting real food in my body, real stuff made from fresh ingredients, without preservatives or other junk… When I was on the Industrial Food, I felt terrible inside and out, I was groggy all the time, my midsection was beginning to get soggy… It was just gross. I felt gross.
But now I’m back and fighting again. I had an intimate view of the Industrial Food lifestyle, and it drove home to me just how important this is. To think that thousands of men and women in my generation are suffering the greasy yoke of Imperial Establishment Cuisine, just because they don’t believe that they have the time or the skills to cook, enraged me.
So I cooked up a furious meal.The pork is Roy Choi’s Cuban pork (SEE THE MOVIE CHEF RIGHT NOW, then make the pork and use it to make Cuban sandwiches. No words. None.) I didn’t really change that at all, it was really good as-is.
The whole wheat tortillas are my gift to you, though. They are 100% whole wheat, and they have become my go-to quick flatbread. They’re just flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour), salt, baking soda, lard, and hot water. That’s it.Don’t substitute the lard. Or you can, I guess, but definitely don’t substitute it with Crisco or other hydrogenated shortening. Lard is not bad for you, if it hasn’t been too processed. Some brands have been hydrogenated, but if you look in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store, you can probably find one that hasn’t been hydrogenated at all.
This is one of many steps in establishing a regional midwestern U.S. cuisine, using seasonal and sustainable local agricultural products to create our own unique regional set of flavors and dishes. Eating right should come naturally and be simple and delicious. It shouldn’t involve wrestling with nutritional fads or imposing rigid dietary restrictions.
I’m not in this alone. Chefs like Dan Barber and organizations like The Land Institute are innovators in the Real Cuisine Revolution. You are a part of it, too. Shoot me an idea for a future post, or tell me what Real Cuisine movements are happening in your community, by sending me an email at email@example.com.
Enough from me. Let’s get to those whole wheat tortillas.
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup lard
- 1/2 cup water
- extra flour for dusting
- Heat water to boiling.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the lard and rub the flour into the lard with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the 1/2 cup hot water and mix with a rubber spatula until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead until it is smooth.
- Cut the dough into eight roughly equal pieces. Put a piece of dough between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, and flatten the pieces with a rolling pin, wine bottle, or tortilla press.
- Heat a dry skillet to medium heat and drop in a tortilla. Cook until it begins to brown, then flip and cook the other side until it begins to brown. This should only take a couple of minutes to a side. While it is cooking, flatten the next ball of dough. Follow this process with the remaining dough.
- Have a plate with a dish towel handy. As each tortilla finishes cooking, put it onto the plate and cover with the towel to keep them warm.