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A Whitman Quote, A Manifesto.


Recipes, thoughts and rants from Mallow & Hop.

A Whitman Quote, A Manifesto.

Karen Marshall

At the risk of becoming a cliché, I got my second tattoo in the weeks before I left New York for good. It's a Walt Whitman quote, from a poem I've in all honestly never read all the way through (like your typical teenage girl getting the chinese character for "Noodles" on her shoulder). "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself,

I am large, I contain multitudes."

I am a bit of a zealot about health. Ever since discovering weightlifting in 2012, I've been a champion of the sport, preaching of its benefits to everyone I know. Yes, I am one of those Crossfitters you hate. But in my defense I was that person long before I joined a box: Amazon informs me that I have bought no less than 4 copies of "The New Rules of Lifting For Women"... all replacements after I kept giving my copies away to friends I was trying to convert. "The New Rules of Lifting" was gifted to my best friend for his birthday in 2014. He has since lost 40lbs. Success!

It's the only body you have. When it can DO things, things you never thought possible, the feeling is overwhelming. And it can't do those things if the only fuel you're providing is Cheez-Its (personal weakness) and soda. Vegetables! Vegetables are wonderful. Eat your vegetables.

Oddly enough, this newfound interest in tossing around barbells and healthy eating coincided with the first time I decided to taking baking and confectionary seriously. I was counting my macros religiously, making sure to get 120g of protein a day, and keeping my sugar under 40g. Greek yogurt! Egg whites! Chicken breasts! Except on baking days. Baking days were a MyFitnessPal nightmare. Especially when developing recipes: it's actually vital that you taste the marshmallow batter! What if you haven't added enough peppermint extract? The batch will be ruined! It took a long while to find balance.

I lost weight. I gained muscle. I'm healthier than I've ever been. Do I eat strictly Paleo? Hell no. Pie isn't paleo. You'll rip that pie from my cold dead hands.

When people ask me how I can reconcile going to the gym and my love of the sweeter side of the culinary arts, I give them one of two answers:

  • "My goal is to make the rest of the world fatter so I'll look skinnier. Baking is simply the means. Here. Have a scoop of ice cream."
  • "I am large. I contain multitudes."

But the real answer is

  • Moderation.

As Cookie Monster says in the modern era, "A Cookie is a Sometimes Food." And if I'm only getting a cookie as a sometimes food? It won't be Chips Ahoy. It won't even be Entenmann's. I am here because I want my food to be your sometimes foods. I want every bite to be worth it.

(As an addendum, I feel obliged to note that my dental health regimen is way under par, especially for one who has to taste marshmallow batter all day. How is this possible considering my otherwise dogmatic obsession with taking care of my body? I am large, I contain multitudes. Don't worry - my boyfriend reminds me to floss now.)