Self-control. Isn’t that just the hardest thing? I was at a gathering today with some of the Women of St. Paul’s and we were talking about the cardinal rules of weight control. If you are eating standing up, there is no caloric intake. If you are eating something that has broken off of the whole, as in part of a cookie, that does not count either. Then there is my own personal theory that if you have existed on twigs and sticks for several days, the body requires a jolt of fat, as in a cheeseburger, to keep the metabolic balance in check.
We were discussing this as I was eating the last shreds of a Velveeta, cream of (fill in the blank) soup, spaghetti casserole out of a sheet pan with a plastic fork. Of course, that doesn’t count either since it falls under the “eating something that has broken off” rule. In this case, the entire sheet pan was the whole and the 18 delicate forkfuls were the part.
But at some point, even with these dietary laws, you have to pay the piper, I’m afraid. So how about a nice, light, healthy cracked wheat salad. Oh, you know what cracked wheat is. It’s the good stuff in tabbouleh, which always contains way too much parsley, in my opinion. Who am I to argue with the peoples of the Mediterranean who love all that parsley? But I have a personal resentment. When my father died, and we were all drowning our sorrows in a luncheon before the funeral, one of my dad’s friends started making his way around the room with sprigs of parsley that he urged us to eat to mask the smell of alcohol on our breath. At the time, there wasn’t enough alcohol in all the world and I didn’t care one whit if anyone smelled it on my breath. If I could have smuggled a box of Chardonnay into the funeral I would have. Is that inappropriate?
At any rate, make this salad. Cracked wheat, or bulgur, cooks like couscous. Easy and quick. It has a nice nutty taste. You can substitute any kind of nut for the hazelnuts. I just happened to have some in the freezer. And you can substitute or add any kind of vegetable.
Cracked wheat salad
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup cracked wheat (bulgur)
½ cup roasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts
½ cup diced orange pepper
¼ cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons golden raisins
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the cracked wheat. Cover and let stand until the wheat is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to thoroughly combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.