Friday, March 6, 2009

What's a guilty food lover to do?

I love food. It's as simple as that. I think about what i will be eating for my next meal even before i'm finished with the one i'm currently devouring. I talk about food, i think about food, i drool over pictures of food and most importantly i eat a lot of food.
I have always had a fascination and appreciation for food thanks to my family growing up. My mother was never a gourmet cook, slaving over the stove to cook us coq au vin every night or anything, but she was a better than average consistent cook. I do remember eating a lot of corn niblets and canned green beans, but most other dishes were edible. What i remember even more so than my mother's cooking is my grandmother's (Gaca) cooking. She was always in the kitchen, either at the stove or washing dishes. There was a pot rack that hung over the sink. It sat above the window, that looked out on to their patio where the yellow checkered deck furniture sat waiting for a nice day to be used, i was always very fond of that furniture. The pot rack was always my favorite though, it gave the kitchen a broken in cozy feel. Like it was saying "come on in and cook with us" and that is exactly how i felt in my grandparents house. Now, I didn't actually cook, but i definitely ate. I ate creamed chip beef on toast, hot dogs (with ketchup from a special dispenser, sooo cool), macaroni and cheese, beef tenderloin and Papa's ribs from the grill. He cooked everything from the grill, they both knew their place when it came to cooking and both did very well in their respected areas. I loved these meals cooked at home but what i loved even more were meals that were cooked somewhere else, like a restaurant! Restaurant's were exciting places, you could choose your dinner yourself. We would go to the country club to have a steak, or get seafood take out and eat the most giant fried shrimp. We'd carry out Chinese food from this restaurant that to this day i haven't found a substitute for. We would eat moo shu pork, governor's beef and cashew chicken to our heart's content. It was all very exciting.
If you were to ask me now, this second, whether i prefer eating at home or eating out, i would be hard pressed to give you an answer because i struggle with feelings of guilt that surround both choices. I like cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but food tastes exponentially better when someone else prepares it for you. You get a nice meal and you don't think about how it took an hour to peel the brussell sprouts that just took two seconds to ingest. Yes, the people on TV make it look like a breeze, well let me just say that there is no such thing as a gourmet 30 minute meal (sorry Rachael Ray). So, since my husband does not cook, i am left with very few options when i don't have dinner planned. In today's world people are spending less and trying to cook at home with increasing consistency, which i think is great, but i don't think that i should have to explain myself when i want to get food from outside my house. I believe in supporting local businesses and if we don't go out, these businesses will fail. According to my husband, you should only be eating out twice a week, at "actual" restaurants, apparently this does not include sandwich shops etc. I personally don't see the difference, the small stuff adds up and i would rather be supporting the local independent restaurant that uses local food, than give my five dollars to the national chain next door. So what is a food lover to do during these difficult times? There is just so much good food that needs to be eaten and there are only so many hours in a day. How do you deal with this quandary or is it just me? Please let me know that i am not the only one that carries the weight of the food world on my shoulders.

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