Just a note: I find myself actually homesick for the writing process that I enjoyed with my editor, Joe Henderson, over the previous months. I take heart, knowing I have a trove of topics to dig up and write about, because Joe diplomatically left more than a few things on the cutting room floor. I say “diplomatically,” because he did not cold-heartedly reject topics, but instead made comments such as “sounds like the makings for another book!” Now, I am the first one to admit that positive psychology and positive criticism work for me.
So to that end, here’s something completely different from the rest of the book. Recipes were deemed to be tangential to the book’s theme, and I understand that. But if you think of nutrition as a vital factor to training and running, or if you think of food as directly related to travel, and in this case, a traveling runner, then it makes sense that I would include recipes in my training journals -which is exactly what I did.
1) From home: Granola by Adelle Davis; 2) Eugene: Ledbetter’s Zucchini Bread; 3) Boston: Sara Mae Berman’s Date Crumbles; 4) Tunisia: Dinner Recipes, in French, from the Hadjiri family; 5) Honolulu: Hawaiian Mango Bread from Connie Chun
Food, cooking, nutrition and recipes were integral to my life in a whole new way at the start of my training as a runner because I made the assumption that food was my fuel and that “you are what you eat.” Looking back, I see that this belief was not shared by all my colleagues. I was a contemporary of a famous runner, Don Kardong, and I know he fueled his body on Fruit Loops, for example. I don’t remember if he said it or someone else, but the theory was “if the engine was hot enough, it would burn anything.” I opined that one might be establishing bad habits with dire consequences once one was retired from running. Besides, what would Covert Bailey say (author of “Fit or Fat”)?
My collection of books on nutrition and recipes began with three important pieces of work: “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit” by Adelle Davis, “Diet For a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappe, and “Laurel’s Kitchen” by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flanders and Bronwen Godfrey. From there, I grew a vast collection of cookbooks, including one in Hungarian that was sent to me by Sarolta Monspart, a Hungarian marathoner and also world champion orienteer. We became friends at the first women’s international marathon in 1974.
My cookbook collection also includes books on food history and travel. Eventually, my interest in nutrition led me to earn a teaching credential in health sciences, and thus, I became a health teacher. It all began with nutrition.
I gleaned this recipe from Adelle Davis, one that I adapted and continue to make my own granola to this day:
5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (absolutely not the instant kind)
1 cup almonds — I use 1 cup each of a variety of nuts including almonds, walnuts, filberts and more)
1 cup unrefined sesame seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup soy flour
1 cup powdered milk (preferably not instant)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup honey
1 cup oil (vegetable oil, but not olive)
First, combine dry ingredients. Next, in a separate utensil, combine one cup each of honey and vegetable oil.
Then combine dry with moist ingredients, spread on two cookie sheets and bake at 300-degrees for one hour or until slightly brown, to bring out the flavor.
When I went to Eugene, Oregon for the first time in 1975, I stayed with Lili Ledbetter‘s family, and Lili’s mother made delicious zucchini bread with filbert nuts, a loaf that I savored. (This one does not come directly from the Ledbetters, but it was shared with my by another female runner, Debbie Heald, once a national class miler. This recipe is from her mother:)
1 1/4 cup wheat germ
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup nuts
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup oil
3 cups grated zucchini
Mix together wheat germ, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nuts.
Beat eggs until light-colored and fluffy.
Beat in sugar, vanilla and oil.
Stir in grated zucchini.
Gradually stir in wheat germ mixture.
Turn into two greased and floured 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ by 2 2/1″ loaf pans.
Bake at 350-degrees for one hour. (If using a glass pan, bake at 325-degrees.)
When visiting Sara Mae Berman of early Boston Marathon fame one year, perhaps in the late 70s, she made delicious date nut bars, which she willingly shared this recipe:
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
Place above mixture in a bowl.
Mix well and place half this mixture on a cookie sheet.
Filling: melt 2 tablespoons butter, with 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1 x 7-oz. package of dates (chopped).
Spread mixture on bottom layer of oat mixture, and top with the remaining oats.
Bake at 350-degrees for 25 minutes.
On my first-ever trip to Europe for a women’s international marathon, I was invited to stay with running friends from home who were visiting their family in Tunisia. Arriving during Ramadan, daily we looked forward to fantastic feasts for meals which only came after sundown. The recipes below are from those dinners presented by the mother of our friend, Hiro Hadjeri. I shall always remember bowls of pomegranate seeds sprinkled with rose water for dessert, and sweet mint tea, thick with honey, like nectar. And the scents of honeysuckle blossoms everywhere. Pages directly from my journal:
From the Honolulu Marathon, which I ran and won in 1975, I met a then famous running family known as the Hunky Bunch. They were not unlike television’s Brady Bunch, in that Dad and Mom were previously divorced, each with three teenagers, three girls (Mom’s) and three boys (Dad’s). “Mom” — Connie Chun — made the most incredible Mango Bread, and if you were on her “A” list, you could expect to receive loaves in the mail every Christmas. From the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper:
FAMOUS HAWAIIAN HUNKY BUNCH MANGO BREAD
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
· 2 teaspoons cinnamon
· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 cup grated coconut
· 1/2 cup raisins
· 1/2 cup broken walnuts
· 3 cups fresh mango, diced
· 3 eggs, slightly beaten
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 3/4 cup vegetable oil
Prepare four loaf pans (2 1/2-by-5-inch or larger) by buttering them or using nonstick spray.
Very important: DO NOT OVERMIX. Your bread will be dry and hard!!! Mix dry ingredients well: flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and baking soda. In separate bowl, mix mango, raisins, walnuts, coconut. Mix well. add eggs, vanilla extract and vegetable oil until blended. Don’t over-mix!
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir with your hand (yes, it’s fun and messy and you get to lick your fingers!) until JUST BARELY mixed, meaning the flour just barely disappears. DO NOT OVERMIX!
Fill prepared pans two-thirds full and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes for the smaller pans or 1 hour for the larger pans; tops should spring back when touched and a toothpick should emerge from the loaf’s center clean.
Makes 4 loaves, about 10 slices each.