When my husband and I moved to Saratoga Springs, NY, we were immediately enchanted by all the wonderful food available. Lovely family owned restaurants with delicious food, an impressive farmer’s market that features fresh-grown produce, meat and dairy, and several specialty food stores with an impressive selection of locally crafted food. I wouldn’t quite call it the foodie center of the world, but for a couple of novices the selection is quite dizzying.
We’ve always eaten fairly simply, sticking with staples such as spaghetti, tacos, chili, and fried rice, but we both really enjoy cooking and baking. Inspired by all that’s available here, we agreed that this was the place to overhaul our eating habits. Because if the changing number printed on the inside of my jeans is any indication, our diet could use some changes. So we decided that we would approach food a little differently here in Saratoga; we would try eating smaller portions, but of fresher and better quality food. We’d be healthier in no time! We’re such good people…
And then I started working.
And now, living in the middle of a foodie metropolis, we’re eating more processed and fast food than we ever have before.
It starts at breakfast. Kyle, who’s incapable of waking up more than three minutes before he has to be somewhere, just grabs a Cliff bar. If I’ve got time, I make myself a bowl of instant oatmeal, otherwise, (or if I’m extra tired,) I stop at either McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts for some grease and caffeine atrocity.
For lunch, Kyle sometimes comes home for a ham or grilled cheese sandwich, or if he’s lucky, leftovers. But often, he’ll just stop by a local deli or family pizza place before heading back to work. And I? Don’t usually eat lunch. I know, it’s bad, but generally the time that the world denotes as “lunchtime” is right about when the road crew is rolling in and the truck is being unloaded. There just isn’t time. So my “lunch” generally consists of an assortment of crackers, fruit, and whatever we were able to pilfer from catering the night before, or, if I’m lucky enough to get a real lunch, something from either the McDonald’s or Subway on the concourse level of my building.
And dinner…well, that’s a bit of a sore spot. Kyle’s a kick-ass cook, who loves to experiment with creating his own recipes, and I love to bake fun and comforting desserts. We enjoy making dinner together, with Kyle manning the main dish and me usually whipping together a nice salad and a batch of biscuits. It’s time that we enjoy spending together. Unfortunately, most of my gigs last until at least 10pm, and many of them even later, which means that my dinner is eaten backstage out of a lunch box. A far cry from Kyle’s gourmet meals, it usually includes peanut butter and something, or some variety of leftovers nuked in a dilapidated microwave. And Kyle? Well, let’s just say it’s hard to justify cooking an elaborate dinner for one. Especially when neither of us gets home in time to catch the specialty food store or farmer’s market before they close. Which is why often times, his dinner is delivered from the Chinese place down the street.
It pains me, to have so much wonderful food and ingredients available to me and to be eating so much…crap. Not only is it unhealthy, but it means missing out on a part of my relationship with Kyle that we love so much: the making and sharing of good food. But what it also means is that when we do get to share a meal, we cherish every part of it; tonight, Kyle made mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts in a garlic cream sauce, while I put together a salad chalked full of fresh vegetables, dried cranberries, and feta cheese. We enjoyed the experience of making dinner, and eating it together. I guess the blessing of eating crap alone all week is that when you do get to share a good meal with a loved one, you truly appreciate the joy and comfort of being surrounded (and filled with) yummy, yummy love.