Spinach Pie, Clamcakes, and Pizza Strips


My friend Brea lives in Missouri. She’s never been to Rhode Island. So when I first mentioned a ‘spinach pie’ in written conversation, she thought I meant spanakopita. Now, I do love spanakopita, especially at the Greek Festival every year, but no, the Rhode Island spinach pie is completely different. It’s more of a calzone, stuffed with spinach, garlic, and sometimes black olives, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.

www.justapinch.com
http://www.justapinch.com

Another thing my friends across the country might not understand is the Rhode Island clam cake, or clamcake. My friend Jeanette in Texas wasn’t sure what I meant – after all, clams and cake? It’s a fritter, but we don’t call them clam fritters. They’re clam cakes, and they’re meant to be eaten (sometimes dunked) in chowder (the debate over red, white, or clear is for another post). Here’s a recipe in case you want to try making them at home.

www.iggys.com
http://www.iggys.com

Finally, the pizza strip. Everyone knows pizza – and everyone knows there are many varieties and toppings, right? But Rhode Island pizza? Sometimes called party pizza or bakery pizza, you can buy a box of it (sold at room temperature) at the supermarket or a single strip wrapped in plastic from your neighborhood convenience store. It’s bread – focaccia or pizza dough with herbed tomato sauce or paste on top. That’s it. Sometimes a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, but it’s not necessary.

Rhode Island pizza strip
Rhode Island pizza strip

So – what’s your pleasure? And Rhode Islanders, past and present – where are your favorites?

Is Your Body a Garbage Disposal?


super bowl 2013

I know, I know, it’s Super Bowl Eve, and tomorrow, following the grand traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas, people all across America will gorge themselves on beer, chicken wings, pizza, nachos, and all sorts of fat and sodium-laden food.  Oh, go ahead – indulge if you want. I’ve certainly done my share in past years.

I thought about writing on this topic tonight after seeing a friend’s post on Facebook. She indicated that she’d eaten a “5 Guys bacon cheeseburger with all the fixin’s and enough fries to satisfy three normal people.” Her statement prompted me to look up the nutrition information online. Well, that bacon cheeseburger has 920 calories, 62 grams of fat (30 of them saturated), 1,310mg of sodium, and 51 grams of protein. The “regular” fries (not the large) will get you an additional 620 calories, 30g of fat, and 90mg of sodium (that seems low for fries, but okay). So the burger and fries, which is presumably only one meal, contains 1,540 calories (nearly your daily allotment unless you’re a super athlete), 92g of fat, and 1,400mg of salt. (P.S. I should not have shared this information with her; she wasn’t at all pleased with me).

The nutritional information of food served at chain-type restaurants is usually available online. And on Super Bowl Sunday, most of will not be crunching celery sticks and rice cakes (me included). But here’s some information to think about:

Three Bud Lights = 330 calories

Four chicken wings = 200 calories, 340mg sodium

nachos

Nachos supreme (6.7 oz)  = 430 calories, 690mg sodium, 23g fat

Couple of slices of pepperoni pizza = 680 calories, 1,800mg of sodium, 28g fat

No wonder we’re so unhealthy.

So what will you do?

This year I let my husband know that we’ll be making an effort. No pizza! No eating all day (he’s working anyway, but should be home in time for kick-off). I’ll be making fajitas, using salt-free spices, lots of onions and peppers, thin-sliced lean beef, low-salt salsa, and black beans with cilantro and lime. Because I struggle with my food choices every single day. And while none of us wants to feel deprived (deprived? really? we all have so much food to eat, don’t we?), there are options to keep the food choices reasonable. And keep the sodium levels down!

With the Patriots out, I will root for San Francisco to win, for Beyoncé to sing well live, and for memorable commercials. Happy Super Bowl!