Cooking With Myra: Control your appetite

By Myra Starkey
Feb. 26, 2013 at midnight
Updated Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:26 p.m.

Chicken Khao Soi

Chicken Khao Soi

Every now and then, Taylor and I visit estate sales and thrift shops. We are not looking for any certain thing because there is nothing we particularly need. But it is fun to see the stuff that belonged to others who either died and didn't take with them or perhaps are still alive and were just plain tired of looking at. And sometimes it's just one of those sad situations when their mini-storage unit is already filled to capacity. As is often said, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

One of our favorite places is in Rockport and called Castaways - appropriately titled for the merchandise sold there. This is a place that is run by volunteers from a number of different churches. They take in donated items that they resell and then donate the money to charities. There are all sorts of things in the store including furniture, books, glassware, knickknacks, trash/treasure, old shoes, hats and tons of clothes. You never know what you will find, and that's what makes it fun to go.

Several months ago, I found two handmade Mexican embroidered dresses for $2.50 each, which I gave to my daughter. Taylor found some silk neckties for a dollar each, which he gave to our kids since they have to wear them sometimes for work. He also found a really nice blue wool suit that fit him almost perfectly. He bought for $3.50, and he even wore it to a recent Valentine's dinner party.

Taylor often finds really good shirts. The men's clothes seem to be a lot better than the women's. Or maybe Taylor isn't that picky about what he wears. Or perhaps the women who donate clothes to Castaways just give away their husband's good stuff when they clean out their closets.

I found myself there last weekend, looking among the women's blouses, hoping to find a bargain. The rows are about 15 feet long, and several women can easily shop next to each other.

I noticed two younger ladies at the end of the aisle, and since they were talking very loudly, I listened in as I perused the merchandise. The first lady was very overweight, and the second gal was a good 100 pounds heavier than the first. Both were fairly short, which is good for nothing more than one's center of gravity.

They were lamenting the misery of being overweight. The first related how she had just been in a wedding where she had to be a bridesmaid. She told her friend that she had dieted for two months preceding the wedding just to get into the dress. She had not had much success in terms of actual weight reduction or inches lost and was still too big for her dress until the very end when she contracted a nasty stomach virus.

This resulted in a week of nausea and other unmentionable intestinal derangements, which pushed her to diet victory, and she was able to slip into her bridesmaid dress with only moderate effort. I smiled at this dialogue, knowing that women everywhere feel the same way no matter what their size.

I moved on to the next row, and so did they, and I continued to catch snippets of their conversation. I was not being nosy. They were just speaking loudly. The less heavy gal was relating her fear of diabetes. The disease had already claimed the life of her overweight mother, and the doctor told her that if she lost weight it would greatly reduce her risk of suffering the same outcome.

Her friend recounted other heavy people she knew who had either died young from a heart attack or cancer. They both seemed in agreement that their obesity was a medical problem but probably knew well how difficult it was to change long-established eating habits.

I had a recent experience several weeks ago. I was going to a party, and everyone there was going to be really dressed up. I went to my closet and pulled about five outfits I had worn over the years, hoping that surely one would look good enough. Party dresses never really wear out unless you go to lots of parties. I have to have a really good reason for buying something new since I already own a few.

The first dress was really tight, which I figured must be because of the way it was laundered.

The second had no sleeves, and since the weather was chilly, I figured having a sleeve would be more comfortable. It really did not matter either because it also did not fit. I was beginning to believe in closet shrink bugs, which invade wardrobes and render them too small to wear.

The third dress was black, had some sequins missing on the back, and it was obvious.

The fourth was a long skirt and too formal. It fit because it had an elastic skirt.

The fifth outfit was elastic black pants with an eggplant sweater. The sweater had black seed beads sewn around the neck. I thought it looked great, but my friend Susan, who was giving me style advice, said absolutely "no." She commented that I looked like I was wearing something from my grandmother's attic.

I ended up wearing a dress my daughter in Houston sent me in the mail. She found it on sale and thought it was a great dress. The best part was that it fit perfectly. The dress had not yet been in my shrink-bug-infested closet.

I am not saying that we cannot have a bite of dessert or a snack, but we must learn to control our appetite, or our appetite will control us. Sugar and starches taste good, but they aren't worth the weight gain or health problems they cause. As I write this article, I am sitting in front of the computer, and my mind is straying to what I can eat.

I had lunch several hours ago, so I do not need any calories for energy, but my brain is trying to tell me that I am hungry and need to get up and eat. I know that I have Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in the refrigerator, and they are chilled and crunchy.

Instead of succumbing to my desire, I pulled a copy of Bon Appetit off the counter and turned to the soup section. The March 2013 issue had several good soups on the cover, so I decided to put my perceived hunger to good use and start on supper.

This recipe is taken from Bon Appetit magazine, so I cannot take credit. It is delicious.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email



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