i have porage for breakfast pretty much every morning, topped with tinned peaches at this time of year, but fresh peaches when our averagemarket stocks something that tastes less like turnip. i'm not much into crisps or chocolate or indeed, sweets of any shape or size. i'm rapidly getting fed up with cheese, but that selfsame averagemarket stocks little else that the intrepid vegetarian could put on the lunchtime rolls.
the girls in the office have accused me (grudgingly) of viewing food simply from the point of view of fuel for the ride. that's certainly one aspect of it all, but basically, i don't really care for what passes as junk food. it's not a badge of honour, simply a culinary choice. i've no idea if this is an addendum to being a vegetarian or not, but many of these distastes have been a part of my nutritional make-up since childhood. maybe i'm just weird.
yet despite apparently fussy food demands (so says mrs washingmachinepost), my cooking skills stretch about as far as opening a tin of baked beans. as a flatmate once opined, "you could burn water", and i'm not altogether sure they were much wide of the mark. so on the rare occasions when i've started to pay attention to my calorific intake, all the healthy cookbooks in the world would find it hard to make any tangible difference. at least, not until now.
matt fitzgerald is a certified sports nutritionist, has consulted for a number of sports related companies, and peer reviewed for various scientific journals. and though i've no idea what this means, he is currently a training intelligence specialist. despite all these handicaps, and in conjunction with professional nutrition coach, georgie fear, they have produced a damn fine cookbook, if for no other reason than the proffered recipes look and taste marvellous even to those who have no earhtly desire to maintain or even achieve any form of racing weight.
perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of the included delights are slightly heavy on the calories. but then, if in the midst of a serious, periodised and relentless training schedule, you'll probably need all the body fuel you can lay your teeth upon. and to make life even simpler for those of you like me who bring new meaning to the word ineptitude' in the kitchen, the book is divided into three distinct sections: the athlete who doesn't cook, the athlete with some cooking experience, and finally, the athlete who loves to cook. despite the knowledge that i'll probably never live outside section one, i do so love a book that refers to me as an athlete.
the connection between the recipes in each section and the book's intent to keep us leaner, lighter and faster would be somewhat tenuous were it not for the comprehensive introduction as to just how we ought to conduct ourselves throughout the remaining chapters. admittedly, the chapter entitled food shopping made simple has a distinct north american slant (the book is published by velopress), categorising likely our principal or only choice, the supermarket, along with farmers' markets, wholesalers, and natural foods grocers. there may be pockets of such across the uk, but the hebrides isn't one of them. however, on perusing the recipes, all of which are illustrated with mouth-watering images of what marks and spencers would entitle serving suggestions, there were few ingredients that could not be found or substituted on this side of the pond.
all the included meals are subdivided even further in the book's appendix into high-carb, high-protein, recovery and vegetarian the latter of which there are an impressive 67 recipes. a far cry from the dictum of the late usa cycle coach, eddie borysewicz, whose mandate included steak and pretty much nothing else. though i cannot claim to have been the chef du jour, i can thoroughly recommend the black bean and cheddar burgers as well as the nectarine and sweet cheese stuffed french toast, even if that which sat on my plate for a few moments looked not as aesthetically pleasing as the photo on page 186.
basically put, if this is the kind of food we ought to be eating during a bout of rigorous training, perhaps i ought to rescind my mantra of never training, only riding, because not only does this lot look way too yummy to avoid, i still have another 65 vegetarian recipes to consume.
i wonder if it's too late to enter the commonwealth games?
wednesday 19 march 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................