Monday, April 21, 2008

Popovers and Out

There comes a time in every former dieter’s life when she takes a good, long look in her boyfriend’s full-size IKEA mirror and comes to the realization that her thighs are slightly thicker than they were a year ago, her arms a tad flabbier, and her butt, while not quite epically proportioned, is definitely nearing a novella.

It is not a fun realization.

Ask any Weight Watcher, South Beach devotee, or heaven forbid, Slim Fast quaffer, and they’ll tell you straight up: the problem with dropping pounds isn’t necessarily doing it in the first place. Rather, it’s keeping them off. Maintaining that level of discipline over the long run is, for lack of a better term, really, really hard. Some ridiculous percentage of dieters pack the bulk back on within a couple of years, and I hoped that between the blog, the cooking, and my ever-burgeoning awareness of food, I could avoid that pitfall. Alas, a few too many beers and nachos later, and I’m at a delicate crossroads. Namely, do I address this minor gain now (before it gets worse), or do I hope a future of healthy eating and raised consciousness will right my nutritional wrongs?

This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. My body’s oscillated in heft since the mid-‘90s, a 40-pound swing I’ve strived mightily to halt. In 11 years, I’ve donned everything from an itty-bitty cocktail dress to a what I’m pretty sure was a burlap sack once worn by the Incredible Hulk. And I know it’s not good. The dietary see-saw is bad for my heart, my self-esteem, and womankind in general. I don’t want to care as much as I do. But I do. For all kinds of reasons.

Which brings us to popovers? (How’s that for a segue?) I remember Ma making these for my siblings and I when we were little, and being totally stoked at how huge and puffy they grew in the oven. Soft and chewy and warm, I didn’t know until yesterday that they’re also pretty healthy for a baked good. (Thanks, Betty Crocker!) You can eat ‘em anytime, and what’s more, at $0.14 a pop(over), they’re one of the cheapest foods ever to be featured on this here blog. Sweet.

I expect I’ll be eating a lot of popovers the next few months, but I’m not sure. I’ll keep y’all updated on my gluteal magnitude, though (lucky you), and hopefully we can make some sense of it together. Whee!

Makes 6 popovers.
Adapted from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook.

1 teaspoon shortening
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 cup skim milk
1 cup all-purpose flour (Do not use self-rising flour)
½ teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 450ºF. Grease 6-cup popover pan or 6-cup muffin pan with shortening.

3) In a medium bowl, beat eggs a little. Then, add rest of ingredients and beat until smooth. (Don't go crazy - overbeating is not so good.) Split batter among pan cups. Each should be about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

3) Bake 20 minutes.

4) Drop oven to 350ºF and bake 15-20 more minutes. Popovers should be brown and puffy when finished. Remove from oven and get popovers out of pan a.s.a.p. Serve immediately.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
115 calories, 2 g fat, $0.14

1 teaspoon shortening: 37 calories, 4 g fat, $0.02
1 egg: 74 calories, 5 g fat, $0.17
2 egg whites: 34 calories, 0.1. g fat, $0.33
1 cup skim milk: 91 calories, 0.6 g fat, $0.25
1 cup all-purpose flour: 455 calories, 1.2 g fat, $0.05
½ teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
TOTAL: 691 calories, 10.9 g fat, $0.83
PER SERVING: 115 calories, 2 g fat, $0.14


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