7 Simple Ingredients

According to Cooking Light, “When you make your ingredients count, there’s no need to go higher than seven.” I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013 and I didn’t realize what a “thing” this was until after I scrambled my brains for a photo that fit both the theme of “seven” and my 1000 Words + a Picture challenge theme of “seven.” Yes, I was desperate enough to take a picture of my sandwich. What an Internet clichΓ© I’ve become. Aren’t you lucky?

In between meetings, I ran down to the on-site cafe that provides custom-made sandwiches on artisanal breads. I wonder, though, if any commercially prepared and packaged bread could truly be called “artisanal,” as opposed to “artisanal style”? Another word co-opted by the folks in advertising and marketing – pretty soon, it’s going to mean any sort of sliced white bread that has maybe been touched by some human’s grubby hand. I’m pretty sure that this is a debate that would only get blank looks from the lady behind the lunch counter, and exasperated sighs should any coworkers be standing behind me in line.

Seriously, though, the sandwich was tasty – soft ciabatta bread, savory sliced turkey, smoked gouda cheese – all toasted together – garnished with ripe red tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, red onion, and tangy yellow mustard. That’s seven. Never mind the dill pickle spears and spicy banana peppers on the side, you get the idea. And it was yummy. But it’s hardly enough to bring this post to 1000 words, even with all those delectable adjectives, now, is it?

7 The Magic Number

And then I remembered breakfast (I’ll spare you the photo): frozen banana, orange juice, baby arugula, baby spinach, ground chia seeds, Kellogg’s All Bran buds, and the juice of a fresh lime. I didn’t plan that one.

So I did a bit of searching and found lots of posts touting the virtues of recipes with “7 ingredients or less” and figured simplicity’s a good thing. I’m still wondering how they arrived at the notion that seven was the magic number, but there’s a great deal of Google search result evidence to suggest that it is.

Your Lucky Number: 7 Ingredients or Less from Cooking Light

7 Ingredient (or Less) Suppers from Parents

7-Ingredient Dinner Recipes from Diabetic Living

7 Ingredients or Less, a free cookbook from The Minimalist Baker

Some ingredients are better than others. Here are 7 Ingredients That Make Any Dish Healthier. Oooh, look – chia seeds! That reminds me – I’m out; need to add some things to the grocery list.

Two places to find the best ingredients would be the World’s Healthiest Foods List and NutritionData.com. There, it’s less about calorie count and more about the nutrients in the foods we choose to eat.

When Buffaloes Fly

I can’t mention food without sharing the humor of last night’s dinner out at Buffalo Wild Wings. They have a new menu item which they are bravely calling “Poutine.” I say “bravely,” because I’m envisioning a large party of Canadians ordering this and proceeding to explain to the staff all the ways in which this is so wrong – and so not poutine. It was their regular fries, topped with battered, deep-fried cheddar nuggets, a paltry amount of gravy, bacon, and pico de gallo.

We ordered the hot dog slammers with chili and cheese, the veggie basket, and the poutine. I could tell by our waitress’s expression that she wasn’t processing the word “poutine” at all, even when my husband also pointed at each item on the menu while ordering. We got the hot dog slammers and the veggies, but no poutine. We asked the guy who delivered it, and he pretended to check – “Oh, it’s coming!”

I smiled and made a bet with my husband. “It’s not coming, and not only that, she has no idea what poutine is – you might’ve had better luck calling it poo-tine instead of poo-teen.”

And a while later, our waitress came back to take our dinner order.

“What about the poutine?” my husband asked.

“The what?” she responded, looking confused.

“The poutine we ordered.”

“I don’t even know what that is.”

We showed her on the menu – again. “What is that? Poo-tine?” she asked.

“Called it,” I said, smirking.

She got the last laugh. It was not anything like Canadian poutine.

The wings, of course, were excellent. Hard to go wrong with BW3’s Mango Habanero wings, extra crispy. If you’re like me, and hate limp, greasy chicken skin under otherwise sublime sauce, be sure to say “extra crispy.” Perfection!

Right behind our table was one of those electronic arcade games – something like “Big Game Hunter.” A young couple stood behind us while we ate – he played while she offered helpful suggestions from behind the butt of his play rifle. “Oh my God, look at that big one–” I glanced over my shoulder to see the most intense look on the woman’s face. “You missed it! How could you miss that?”

“Caveman’s not bringing venison tonight – bet he’s got to sleep out on the cave ledge in the rain,” I whispered into my husband’s ear. He smiled. “Oooooh, baby, I wanna buck!!” I whispered. He wisely pretended to ignore me. Fortunately, our food arrived.

Where Do They Find and Train These Kids??

Our waitress was a sweet girl. She kept returning to the table. Often. “Do you want a refill on your drink? Would you like for me to clear this? How about this? This too? And this? Would you like the check? Can I get you more napkins?” All the things she pointed to were empty; we had begun piling them in the center of the table, segregating them from drinks. We were wiping our fingers on wet-naps. We were clearly done.

“Does she need me to write a manual for her? A numbered task list, perhaps?” I whispered in my husband’s ear. I think he was getting a little tired of me whispering in his ear, but he smiled. We agreed that perhaps it wasn’t entirely her fault; after all, what restaurant adds odd new menu items like poutine and forgets to give their servers the orientation tour? Makes sure they can pronounce those strange, foreign words for things? Or maybe just slaps a sticky label over it and changes the name to Fried Cheese Balls on Shoestring Taters with Bacon Bits and Pico” – or would that be too much like admitting they have no idea who’s going to order this so they’ll just go with the shotgun method of marketing? Maybe management ought to give all servers a taste, so they can make informed recommendations? Even Girl Scouts get to sample what they’re selling, ahead of time. Most of the wait staff is like that, and we never did get our appetizer last time we were there, though the manager apologized and took it off our bill. That’s why we refused to order wings before the appetizers came, last night.

I suppose a truly informed recommendation on the poutine would have required the poor girl to travel to Canada, because she still has no clue what it is – no matter how many baskets of that stuff she eats.

The pico de gallo was pretty good, though.



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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14 thoughts on “7 Simple Ingredients”

  1. I like the idea of seven ingredients or less but I have no idea what chia seeds are, do they come from chia pets?

    I’d hate to be your server πŸ™‚

    1. How do your comments keep ending up in spam?

      And yes, chia seeds are the same ones you find with chia pets. They’re quite good for you, and they don’t taste bad, either. (Hardly notice them in a smoothie.)

      I’d kind of hate for you to be my server, too – unless you’re inviting me for a home cooked meal, Dave.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7 Pictures + 1000 WordsMy Profile

      1. This whole seven thing has me perplexed and looking for significance in the number seven. Clint Eastwood has seven children by several different women–one of whom is a flight attendant I think and this wasn’t covered in “Dirty Harry” or any of the sequels. That’s a stone cold accomplishment for Rowdy Gains considering that Rawhide played once evry seven days.

        I’m hoping this longer comment makes it’s way through Holly’s filters using my personal mail address. This would explain why my comments haven’t been showing up on blogs when I’m not trolling πŸ™‚

      2. I was a poutine fan back when I used to cross the border between I-Falls and St. Francis in high school without a passport. We just called it fries and gravy in the states but it was an elevated experience in Canada like Elsinore Beer.

        There are pockets of displaced Canadians in North Central Minnesota that make poutine with fingers of ellpout meat which tastes exactly like lobster but is a much uglier catch.

        I can’t imagine ordering poutine in Texas. Some foods should remain regional and far away from states that don’t know how to Curl πŸ™‚

    1. Hah!! Good one, C. ME, of course. I got rather hooked on poutine in Canada, so I was very disappointed in this misnamed substitute. Oddly, the only good review I saw of it, while writing this post, was from a Canadian woman who loved it. I can only figure she was more desperate for a pale imitation poutine than I was!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…7 Pictures + 1000 WordsMy Profile

  2. I am not into magic numbers. They are not very scientific. 7 or 11, what matter?

    I made a stir fry the other day, for Noella. It consisted of leftovers, and whatever I found in the fridge. It was delicious, and she loved it. I even gave a bit to the nurse that was visiting. She loved it too. Because I tossed it together, cooked it and served it in under 30 minutes, she asked if I was a chef. Hardly. Although I did work in a hotel catering kitchen when I was young. I should count the ingredients…

    Diced onions, and diced green and red peppers. Diced pickled beets and olives.
    Fresh carrot slivers.
    Chopped up nuked potato.
    1/2 small can of Bush’s beans
    2 small diced pork chops.
    (Arnold – the OTHER white meat!)
    On top of that, I put some diced cucumber and shredded lettuce.

    Then I drizzled on my signature dressing:
    Sour cream, mixed with a little French and a little Ranch salad dressing. Toss in a table spoon of the beet juice, and a shot glass of water. Shake in a covered container. It comes out watery (which is what you want) and a nice bright pink color. I add no salt, there is plenty of sodium already. You can add a little bit of pepper, if you like.

    I think I count 16 items.
    If you stopped at 7, you’d have no beans, meat, cuke, salad, or dressing….

    As to cooking, I add a little bit of butter to the frying pan, and once it is melted, I start add in the ingredients. 1st the meat, then the carrots, then the onions and peppers. and finally the rest, one at a time.

    It is simple, and may sound silly, but I had no complaints. The plated were wiped so clean, I was tempted to just toss them back in the cupboard…. But I washed them anyway.

    As for poutine in Texas…. Ugh. That’s like asking for ranch chili con carne in Montreal. Everybody knows the best chili comes from Arizona. with Texas coming in a close 2nd. After that Oklahoma, New Mexico, and so on.

    Shoulda just asked for potatoes with gravy and some cheese on top. Oddly, I am not a big poutine fan…. Stompin Tom Connors told us how to eat French Fries, and so, here you are:
    Stompin Tom and catsup song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkZ62XvJHVQ

    As for my being a spammer, that depends on your attitude. Some says I am. Some says no.

  3. The only ingredient that I need in my sandwiches, is cheese…all the others are just after tatse… By the way loved that “Poutine” story

  4. It’s fun reading this post. The staff can hardly be blamed coz the management should have trained them on all the menus and new additions. Of course, it’s irritating and I get all charged up when somebody doesn’t know his or her products:)
    vishalbheeroo recently posted…Never say Goodbye to, SEVENMy Profile

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