I am writing this column to post on my refrigerator as a tutorial for son Steve, and for anybody else who will benefit from it. Yes, this is the son who took his PHD at Yunnan University, and spent most of his adult life so far teaching in Chinese Universities. When he arrived last July looking absolutely skeletal, after 10 days in a Chinese hospital with intense pain and unable to keep food down. Chinese doctors had been unable to do anything for him except to give him pain killers and acupuncture. He hoped to see an American doctor who would give him a diagnosis and a prescription, gain enough weight and strength to get back to China within a month, and at least be able to do a little tutoring and earn earn enough yuan to live on. He didn’t think he would ever be able to do classroom teaching again.
So he is here to enjoy foods he can digest and get well. I asked him, “What do you want to eat?”
“Not stir-fries,” he said, “That’s all we get to eat in China.”
It didn’t take long to see that he’d been seriously shorted on protein and salads. Chinese stir-fries usually feature 2 ounces of meat per serving, yielding only 10 grams of animal protein. Chinese do not eat raw vegetables. After 5000 years of eating little animal food and only vegetables with most if not all of the enzymes cooked out of them, the survivors descendants evolved to be functional, on a little meat and on lightly cooked vegetables. Retirement age in China is 45 for women and 55 for men. And life expectancy is something like 60 years. Steve comes from a long line of meat, seafood, and egg eaters who live into their 90s and beyond.
We celebrate Easter because back when hens took long winter vacations it was about the time of year of the vernal equinox, in the spring, when the hens and the wild birds begin to lay eggs again.
Steve’s first American doctor prescribed two large eggs (yield 12 grams complete animal protein) for every breakfast, 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt during the day, high-protein snacks, and a total of 60 grams of protein per day. A mere 4 ounces of sirloin steak gives a diner almost 21 grams; 4 ounces of salmon yield 28 grams of protein. A large Easter egg fits into the menu, and healthily, especially as at least a pair of eggs.
How to cook perfect Easter eggs: Put fresh eggs into a pan of cold water. Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar. Bring to a simmer. (If the water boils madly, the eggs bump into each other and crack, the white that leaks out solidifies in strings, and the egg inside the shell has shape imperfections. Cook 20 minutes. At once scoop the eggs out of the pan and into metal bowl of very cold water. Leave under a faucet running a thin stream of cold water until the eggs are cold. Voila! Perfect “boiled” eggs that will come out of their shells easily. Dry and refrigerate them until you are ready to dye them.
What can you do with the colorful eggs left over after Easter?
3 Tablespoons chopped bell pepper
3 Tablespoons sliced green onions
3 Tablespoons sliced black or Kalamata olives
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons green pickle relish or to taste
Lettuce leaves, washed and dried