I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Way to Joy and Peace Involves Hashbrowns

The fifth promise in AA is that "the feelings of uselessness and self-pity lessen" and I am truly experiencing that promise right now through my cooking for my family. It feels really great to make meals that people appreciate and are tasty. This is a meal that my dad absolutely loved-hashbrowns with bacon, onion, cheese, and apples. Apples?! I know you're skeptical. Everyone I told about the ingredients did a double take when I said the last one, but believe me when I report that apples are perfect for cheesy, bacony hashbrowns.

I got the recipe from my usual site-allrecipes.com But first, a word of caution: this recipe is called "hash brown apple pancake," but if you are planning to truly make it like a pancake, then use a small skillet. Otherwise, the pancake shape will not work.

Obviously, I did not use a small pan! But that does not matter, because the shape really does not influence the taste and the taste is fabulous.

This brings me to another word of caution: double the recipe! The recipe is supposed to serve four, but it barely serves two, which is very sad, because besides those two things, this is a great recipe.

Also, I added bacon. I thought it would go great with the other ingredients and I was right.

1 1/4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped apple
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 slices of crumbled bacon

In a small bowl, combine the hash browns, apple, onion, chives,bacon, salt and pepper. (Although I did not use chives...)
In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Spread half of the hash brown mixture in an even layer in skillet. Sprinkle with cheese; top with remaining hash browns. Press mixture gently into skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until bottom is browned.

Invert pancake onto a plate. Heat remaining butter and oil in the skillet. Slide pancake, browned side up, into skillet. Cook 5 minutes longer or until bottom is browned and cheese is melted. Slide pancake onto a plate; cut into wedges.

As you can tell, I tried following the directions and I even tried to flip it, but it totally did not work. Oh, well-as long as it does not affect the taste, then I don't really care.

I've been thinking about how everyone was surprised that the dish tasted good when I told them about the ingredients, specifically the apple, but it is a lot like recovery from an eating disorder. Relapse rates are really high. They're high for any kind of addiction, but especially high for eating disorders. I remember the last time I was at the hospital, I got very sad on the last day and I asked my case worker, "What if I relapse again?" Her response was, "Statistically, you probably will." At the time, that answer did not seem helpful at all. In fact, I was a little resentful towards what seemed like a very insensitive remark, but she was just being truthful.

And her answer did help, because it made me angry. It got me out of my pity party and I was instead angry at the disease. I did not want to be a statistic, but I did want to be useful again. I wanted my life to have meaning and I have found it by putting one foot in front of the other and by cooking one more meal after meal. "Feelings of uselessness and self-pity" have lessened and are now being replaced by feelings of joy and peace.

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