We are all afraid of something. I mean, as New Yorkers, we’re afraid of more things than people from other cities – quote ‘Rent’ ‘I’m a New Yorker. Fear’s my life.’ But, everyone is afraid of something.
Some of these fears are totally rational: falling, heights, being buried alive, cockroaches, zombies.
On Live! With Kelly and Michael, Michael Strahan admitted that he is afraid of needles and, oddly, pain. In spite of the fact that the ex-Giant must have endured great pain and doled some out as well during his football career, Michael Strahan fears pain.
Some people are afraid of things that crawl; mice, rats, gophers, gerbils etc. Some fears are so common that they can draw huge audiences at the box office – Fear of spiders, Arachnophobia. Fear of snakes – Snakes on a Plane. Fear that your house was built on a cemetery where the builder ‘moved the headstones but not the bodies’ : Poltergeist.
It’s amazing where our heads can go in times of great fear. One minute everything is fine and safe, then, a loud noise in the distance and you think ‘Gun fire! Take cover!’ Generally just a car engine backfiring, but, sure, it could have been gun fire.
Growing up I was most afraid of Witchy Poo. She was the evil witch on HR Pufnstuf’s television show that ran in reruns on Saturday mornings in our house.
I spent my nights shaking in fear, waking in a pool of sweat from the nightmare of Witchy Poo. I mean, look at her…very scary.
Some fears, however, are less than rational. In California, it’s pretty common to have an awareness and fear of earthquakes – because they happen out there with relative frequency. This is a geographically rational fear.
Earthquakes in New York, however…not so common. We had an earthquake in New York last summer – like summer of 2011. I was home and the building started to just shimmy shake a little. Then, I heard a rattle-y noise and noticed that the handles on my dresser were shaking. I thought it might be an earthquake, but my head went to a completely different place. At that moment, as the rolling 5.8 earthquake rolled through my apartment, shook my floors and rattled the handles on my furniture, I thought….
Another fear that is not wholly rational is a fear of Vegan cuisine. Last night I went Vegan for no reason and made…
Vegan Fusilli Alfredo with Roasted Vegetables (serves 4)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
1. Cube 1 medium sized sweet potato and cut the florets from one stalk of broccoli into bite size pieces. (Note you can save the broccoli stalk for vegetable stock if you so choose.)
2. In a bowl, toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper…you can use Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt as well. Just toss enough to lightly coat the veggies.
3. Arrange the vegetables on a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for :20minutes, turning the vegetables about halfway through the roasting. Once the veggies are softened and gently beginning to brown, remove from the oven and set aside.
4. Once the water is boiling, drop in about 1 cup of fusilli per person. Then season the water generously with salt and a little olive oil.
NOTE: Waiting to add the salt until the water is boiling will help prevent salt stains on the bottom of your pot.
NOW – time to make the sauce…
5. While the pasta is boiling…In a food processor, puree 1/4 cup of raw cashews until fine.
6. Add in:
- 1 TBSP of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 TSP of Dijon mustard
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 TSP of Soy Sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 TBSP of Nutritional Yeast
- 1 cup of boiling water from the Pasta Pot
- 1/2 cup of Almond Milk (at room temperature)
Puree until creamy – you’ll see gentle bubbles of frothiness form. This can take about a minute or so…
7. Drain the pasta, but reserve at least one cup of the pasta water
8. Put the pasta back into the pot over low heat and pour the sauce over it. Stir to combine and heat through. If the sauce is too thick, use the pasta water to thin it just a bit.
9. Once heated through, transfer to a serving bowl and add the vegetables on top. You can also add some sliced cherry tomatoes. Very pretty!
10. Toss and serve. I served with a side of garlic bread and should have served a salad as well…but didn’t.
When I was about 10, I awoke from a dream in which I had witnessed the exile of Witchy Poo. In the dream, the evil witch was sent off to an island in the middle of the ocean. With her in exile, I took back the nights and could finally sleep without fear.
Last night, my guests for Vegan dinner were two cautiously supportive friends. When I served the Vegan Fusilli Alfredo, they each politely took about a spoonful and a half onto their plates. Each smiled through their fear as they went in for the first bite…I waited.
We had a back up plan to order in if the meal proved to be inedible.
‘Wow. It’s actually good.’ One of my friends finally said with surprise breaking the silence and the mystery aura surrounding Vegan cuisine. The other agreed and each helped herself to and finished a real portion of the dish.
I admit…I was skeptical too. I am not a Vegan, but wanted to give this dish a shot. And, I’m glad I did. It was a great, low-calorie option…And, more importantly, I am no longer afraid of Vegan Alfredo.