Today i want to talk about food. And what else can there possibly be to say about food, you ask?
I know, i know, people write books about food, they blog on and on about the best way to cook risotto or truss a chicken; numerous articles and essays are written on chopping, prepping, baking and eating. What is there left to say???!!!
Oh plenty, plenty my friends.....pull up a seat, munch on something sweet and read on.
I seem to perpetually be in a food dilemma. I find myself constantly (and consistently) conflicted between eating in and eating out. I love going to the the grocery, farmer's market and specialty food stores. Aisles upon Aisles of delicious possibility. Every product in a neat row, labels aligned and promising flavor nirvana to those who choose to partake. Fancy condiments and jams galore, exquisite pasta from Italy, fresh farm asparagus so green you start to wonder where the murky green asparagus comes from that you are forced to buy in the dead of winter. It's just too much for one food loving person to take! When i really start to ponder exactly how many food options exist, i freeze, mid aisle. My feet don't move, my eyes glass over, i hear a voice "can i help you miss?" When i realize i have just been staring blankly at a box of preservative packed snack cakes for the last five minutes, i know it's time to go. Who actually buys this stuff anyway?? Or more accurately, who actually thinks it's a good idea to concoct and feed this stuff to our children??
Clearly somebody or the product wouldn't be staring back at me in prime eye level location. Just another evil marketing ploy...but not this time delicious yet horribly bad for you snack cake...not this time!!
All of these products and ingredients can be enough to make anyone crazy excited to throw them together and ta da...you have a meal, or something resembling a meal. What constitutes a meal anyway? I'll leave that for open interpretation.....
As you can see i have a passion for buying food, and occasionally actually doing something with the stuff i do buy, but more often than not i don't feel like cooking. This could be due to just pure laziness on my part, but what is really lurking in the back of my mind is knowing that there exists so many delicious options for food where all you have to do is decide, pay and eat. Whether it be in restaurants, deli counters or food carts; food that tastes amazing and results in basically no dirty dishes is absolutely fantastic in my book.
One day i feel like eating pad thai with shrimp, ok, i can eat it without buying a bazillion ingredients and turning my kitchen inside out, then being left with an awkward half lemongrass stalk and a full bottle of fish sauce. Actually i did attempt pad thai...definitely the first and last attempt, unless i want sub-par dry rice noodles with no flavor again. Some things are better off left to those who know what they're doing and who do it everyday.
A lot of cooking shows now like to do segments on 30 minute meals, especially one's where they re-invent take out. First of all, they don't take in to consideration the shopping time it takes to get the ingredients or how long it takes to prep and store the ingredients after bringing them home. After all is said and done, at least an hour has gone by and your starving husband has asked you three times in the last 10 minutes when dinner will be ready. Sorry, the recipe never mentioned how long it takes to get everything ready needed to cook the actual food! I say if it was originally meant for take out, leave it to the people who do it best, the restaurant.
It's a tough and a pretty consistent dilemma of what to eat. Usually it's an enjoyable process for me, but in the end you have to just listen to your stomach. Consider the effort you want to put forth and either go to the grocery store armed with a plan or pick up the phone and tell that person on the other side that you soooo need some spicy yellow curry or your day won't be complete. I'm sure they'll understand, they are there to fulfill your food cravings morning, noon and night. And rest assured they won't judge you, even if you do order the same thing for a week straight. It's ok if you just really couldn't be bothered to pick up a frying pan. No judgement, even if you did just pay a hundred bucks for that sparkly stainless steel one at the gourmet cooking ware store. It will get used eventually and until then, it will at least look nice as part of your kitchen decor!