Diabetes-Compatible Food Inspired by Memories

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This guest post was written by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper. It originally appeared on his website, The Decadent Diabetic, and was republished on Information About Diabetes with permission.

Some time ago, there was this terrific response to my recipe for Carrot and Pineapple Salad. It seems that this recipe brought up memories for many of the readers:

My mom made a carrot and pineapple salad that was not exactly like this but reminiscent of this one.

We were raised on this salad.mom made it often. Added raisins or just had carrots w/ raisins.

My Mom used to make this all the time during the '50's. It's really good

I was raised on this salad....

my mother in law always made this

My mom used to make this growing up. My brother in law loves it because is her. Didn't think anyone else ate carrot salad
We've been doing this for years. Delicious!

Have eaten this with raisins (golden) since I was young

My sister loves carrot and raisin salad.....

Keeping Memories and Recipes Alive

There are so many memories attached to our lives. Food is a big one for most of us. That dish that Grandma used to make, the first dish you had in a restaurant, the meal you shared with your first love. Most of them don’t need to be erased from your life.

There are quite a few food memories for me:

  • My grandmother’s sponge cake every Friday night. “It fell, a little, but it is good in taste.” It was true it always fell in but always tasted great. Nowadays, I make a Moroccan Sponge Cake with ground nuts replacing one-third of the flour. It, like my grandmother’s cake, “falls in a little,” but it is “good in taste.”
  • Meatloaf was always a favorite. Whenever I asked my friend, Tony, over for dinner, he always wanted meatloaf, mashed potatoes and squash. Then came the “cholesterol days,” and meatloaf got replaced with turkey loaf. Oddly enough we found it just as good. I can’t even remember the last time I did a regular meatloaf. With diabetes, the mashed potatoes got replaced with mashed cauliflower. For me and my friends and family, this was more than a necessary replacement; it was a new and wonderful taste treat. The squash got replaced by any number of green vegetables, and the meal (and the memory) was saved.
  • Desserts were, and still are, a big deal for me. The memory of my father’s restaurant still lurks in my brain. You walked in the front door and were greeted by a case full of Hortense Spier’s delectable cakes. Lemon meringue pie (replaced with a Lemon Tart), Nesserole pie (closest to my Italian Crème Gateau), a dense rich chocolate cake (my King of the Night Cake), and then there were the cheesecakes: strawberry cheesecake, pineapple cheesecake, cherry cheesecake.

Well, my friends, let me tell you that as a man and a chef with diabetes, I DO NOT LIVE WITHOUT CHEESECAKE. I even made cheesecakes for my wedding. People are still talking about them.

But above all, for me the memory is my grandmother’s chicken soup. Just thinking about it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. She always made it with noodles, which are now a bit of a problem for me. But I have discovered a bean-based product that actually gives me the same feel and volume to my chicken soup.

So, since you ARE my friends, I share my updated recipe with you this week. It is intended for those who don’t have the time or the big pot it takes to make it from the whole chicken, but it tastes like you worked for hours.

Enjoy, be happy, be healthy, be creative, and BE DECADENT!

Click here for Ward's Grandma's Chicken Soup recipe!

Get more nutrition tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

Photo credit: Scott Ableman on Flickr