Hodgepodge or Health Bowl?


I thought I invented it, but I guess I didn’t. Has this happened before? Was there somebody out there, someone whose name we’ll never know, who was inventing the light bulb at the same time as Thomas Edison? Did he pick up the newspaper one day and read about Thomas Edison only to realize that this amazing thing he was working on just fell into the already-been-done category? I’m also intrigued when I hear a new song that sounds exactly like an old song. I wonder, does this band not know they copied another performer’s song? Are we all supposed to pretend it doesn’t sound exactly the same? Or, was it on purpose? If you watched any football playoffs this year, it was hard not to be fascinated by the song “The Man” being used in the Beats by Dr. Dre commercial. Every time it came on, it confused me: Elton John on purpose. . .or not?

Then there are leftovers. If you’re from the Midwest, you were born knowing how to make an art form out of serving leftovers. I consider myself a real whiz at using all the food that’s in the house, making a nice dish with leftovers that also looks appealing, and making it healthy. I even came up with a name for the dish that is born out of these three humble beginnings. It’s called “The Hodgepodge.” It’s gotten to the point, when I get asked, “What are we having for dinner?” and I answer “hodgepodge,” everybody sort of understands what they’re going to be eating. Added to the excitement is the pride I feel that I came up with this inventive dish.

Only, I didn’t. I’m the guy behind Thomas Edison. I’m probably the person about 100 people behind the guy behind Thomas Edison.

It’s being called a “health bowl,” and if Real Simple magazine didn’t even it, they sure made it look cute. Here’s the idea, in their words: “an ingenious mix of grains, vegetables, and anything else in the pantry and fridge (leftovers!)” The salmon health bowl they made included roasted salmon, barley, smoked paprika fennel, Swiss chard, chick peas, basil, scallions. Their chicken health bowl includes shredded chicken, farro, lemony carrots, marinated mushrooms, romaine, snap peas, avocado, Feta, walnuts, and mustard vinaigrette.

My “hodgepodges” are just a little bit more humble than Real Simple’s “health bowls.” I don’t use too many big words. There are no “lemony carrots,” just plain carrots. There’s definitely no “smoked paprika fennel.” Mine are almost always centered around that most gourmet of main courses, cottage cheese. When that’s not available, a hard-boiled egg nicely centers the meal. Not included on the list, but usually making its way into my stomach after eating the hodgepodge—a piece of dark chocolate.

Here’s a sample of the items I use to put together a quick, healthy dish—the hodgepodge.

makes one healthy hodgepodge

1 scoop cottage cheese and/or 1 hard-boiled egg

1 organic carrot, ready to eat rabbit-style, with the leaves on

black or green olives

radishes, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper slices, etc.

plain Greek yogurt with berries

steamed broccoli or cauliflower

2 tablespoons almonds or walnuts

roasted squash seeds


orange quarters

apple, pear, banana slices

cheese slices and crackers

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