I just spent three days in Los Angeles with friends, living out of a suitcase and eating out all the time. Last night’s dinner, of local little-gem lettuce and medium-rare rack of lamb at Church & State, which the critic Jonathan Gold recently called, “the closest thing to a first-rate French bistro that Los Angeles has seen in years,” was noteworthy for its flavor, but the others stood out for a different reason: portion sizes.
I know I’m a bit behind the curve on this, but when did three eggs become a standard offering for a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, and who thought it was a good idea to make a common omelet the size of a throw pillow? And if I wanted a seaside lunch of tacos, does it have to fill a platter large enough to hold a suckling pig? It’s no wonder that nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. This has real consequences. For example, the medical costs related to obesity now exceed the costs associated with smoking. Being overweight is more than just a personal problem.
I don’t have a grand solution, but I have a small one. Learn to cook, and make meals for yourself. That way, you can control the portion size and what you put on your plate.
Cooking does not have to be complicated. Take a basic dish like scrambled eggs. If you don’t know how to prepare them, here’s a link with an easy-to-follow recipe. Here is my even easier way of making them: I crack two eggs in a bowl, add a bit of salt and pepper, combine the eggs and their yolks thoroughly with a fork, and cook the mixture in a buttered frying pan on a medium-high heat, moving the eggs about with a spatula, until they are the consistency I like. It takes about two minutes. One of the nice things about eggs are their versatility. Best known as a breakfast food, they can also become a dinner by making a few additions.
The other night, before my trip to LA, I came home late from work. The kids were in bed, and Santa Maria was out of town. I paid the babysitter, and gave some thought to dinner. I wasn’t that hungry, because I’d had a late-afternoon snack at my office, but I needed something. In the refrigerator, I spied half an avocado left over from earlier in the week, and there’s always a jar of salsa on my shelves. The carton of eggs caught my eye, and a package of soft-corn tortillas called out to me: I could make scrambled-egg tacos. I whipped up two eggs, laid them out on two warmed tortillas, topped them with slices of avocado, salsa, and some fresh cilantro, and I had dinner made in about ten minutes.
As I sat down to eat the tacos, a funny thing happened. I couldn’t finish them. They were delicious, but I had overestimated my hunger. Because I was at home, it was easy for me to control my portion size. I ate one, and put the leftovers in the fridge.
- 2 eggs
- 2 soft-corn tortillas
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- jar salsa
- fresh cilantro to garnish
Warm the tortillas in a frying pan.
Scramble the eggs.
Assemble by putting eggs on tortillas, and topping with avocado, salsa, and cilantro.
Serves one (or more, depending).