Thursday, July 22, 2010

Edible Distractions...

So it’s occurred to me that I think a lot about food.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to people who personally know me or, even, if you only know me by reading this blog even only semi-regularly. However, how much I actually do think about food is something I never really noticed until today.

Case in point: We had a meeting at work. It’s perfectly normal for people’s minds to stray during meetings. It’s even more normal for mine to stray since we all know I’m not the biggest fan of meetings unless they’re, say, to give me a raise or a promotion and since those NEVER happen, I tend to not like meetings much at all.

Well, that’s a bit of a fib. I do like those staff meetings where people get snarky and snippy with the management and I can sit back and be amused but we haven’t had one of those in a while. Lately our staff meetings have been a lot of people either on Team Yay!, Team Sullen or Team-I-Don’t-Really-Care-Just-Give-Me-My-Paycheck. I’m on the last of those teams. Team Yay! is composed of the people who cheerfully think all is rosy with the company and always will be. They don’t understand why anyone is worried or why anyone thinks it’s possible our company might not be doing fanstastical. Team Sullen is the team where people are worried about their job and have stopped trusting what the management says. They look for hidden meanings in everything and mostly expect that the company is going to go through some massive changes and they might not be good. I used to play on Team Sullen but now I play for Team blah blah paycheck. Seriously. At this point, I’m not in love with my job but I don’t despise it. It pays the bills. I don’t have to force myself out of bed (unless it’s a day like yesterday’s blog where I just feel like sleeping longer).

Back to my original point. I think about food a lot in my meetings. Today, for example, I was trying very hard to listen in my meeting. Then, before I knew it, I was thinking about the quiche I made last night. I have to say it was rather a good quiche. I used sweet mini baby bell peppers, bacon, parmesan, ricotta salada and cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, shallots and a hint of nutmeg. It sounds like a lot but it balanced out. It was a delicious quiche and I decided to have a piece for lunch. This of course led me to the internal debate as to whether or not I should also have a piece of the fig tart I made which also was quite yummy but that was due to the fig jam, not my baking prowess.

This led me to wondering if Tom Colicchio would like my quiche. Yes, I am serious. I think he just might, actually. It wasn’t dry, it had a good crust and a good balance of flavours. I came to the conclusion that he would probably declare me safe for the week if I were on Top Chef.

Which of course, I’m not on Top Chef and am never likely to be. I wondered then if I was on Top Chef, what I could say my specialty was. I suppose it’s soup. This is not a good specialty for a Top Chef. They need to know how to make a really good bowl of soup but after a contestant’s done it once, they can’t do it again or they get nicknamed The Soup Lady or some such silliness. Also, Tom Colicchio frowns on contestants who make too much soup.

I make pretty good pasta so that would be an asset. However, I’ve never made gnocchi and most of the Top Chef contestants make gnocchi. I began to try to remember what was entailed in gnocchi and, as I recall, Mario Batali makes it seem quite simple. You need potatoes, mostly. I decided that I’d put it on the list of recipes to try over the next couple of months .

I’ve never eaten gnocchi which, of course, I realized as soon as I’d decided to make it. It’d be hard to know if mine was decent if I hadn’t taken it. So then I started to think about trying it. They have the premade kind in the grocery store but I’m sure it’s not as good as the homemade stuff. So I began to wonder where I could find good fresh gnocchi in Cincinnati and I made a mental note to Google it.

Thankfully, I pulled myself out of my food haze in time to realize my coworker was speaking to me and asking me to confirm something. I confirmed it, nodding my head sagely to indicate I was in complete agreement. I’m not sure what I was confirming but this particular coworker is very smart and not wrong very often so I trust her.

I realized it might be a good idea to listen then. I mean, sometimes it’s not good to agree with someone just because you don’t want to look like you were daydreaming. I managed to listen for a few more minutes. Then my boss and the same coworker got into another rather intense discussion involving technical stuff that I’m aware exists but wouldn’t be able to tell you how it actually worked. I probably could learn how it works but, well, I don’t really fancy that. Part of what makes me good at the part of my job that consists of breaking our software to find bugs before our customers do is that I don’t get too technical with my tests. I try to approach it like one of our clients would and thus, I find weird problems that the technical folk never think about.

So, while she was going into intimate detail regarding a bug she was trying to fix, I began to think of what I might make for dinner. It was only 9 a.m. but it’s never too late to plan. I had, after all, decided to have the leftover quiche for lunch and was looking forward to that. It wouldn’t do to have it for dinner. I began to think about chicken. I could make honey ginger soy chicken which is tasty and somewhat nutritious. Then I realized it involves scallions (aka green onions) and I don’t have any.

This of course led me to how I could obtain some. There’s not a convenient grocery store on the way home from work. I now have a Costco membership (FABULOUS!) but Costco don’t have green onions very often. I could make a sidetrip to Jungle Jim’s but that’s not really a sidetrip as much as an evening-time-suck since I can never resist a quick browse which usually turns into a full fledge look which ends up being at least an hour or more. Usually more.

Then I thought about Kroger which, while not convenient, is closer than Jungle Jim’s and quicker to navigate. I love Kroger. They have a nice produce section even if it isn’t on par with the massive one in Jungle Jim’s. Also, I have a Kroger club card. I love my Kroger club card. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to Kroger though. I thought about the Marsh store that’s a bit closer than Kroger but that place is the sort of grocery store you don’t really feel comfortable buying meat in because it’s very run down and it smells a bit funny. Also, it sort of gives you a wee bit of a creepy feeling when you’re inside. I only go there when absolutely necessary.

Since the onions might be a problem, I thought about whether I could substitute bell peppers instead. I bet I could though it would change the flavour profile a bit. Then I remember that tonight is the Farmer’s Market.

I decided it might be worth going there. I like the farmers market in my parent’s town better because it’s cheaper and there is one particular vendor who has the best veggies for super good value. My farmer’s is ok but it’s a bit hoity toity for a farmers market. While most places are currently charging about $3 for a dozen ears of corn, last time I was at the farmer’s market near me, they were charging $6 a dozen or 50 cents an ear. I bought two ears and, let me tell you, it wasn’t any better than the grocery store kind.

This got me thinking about the Pumpkin lady who sells her produce at my parent’s farmer’s market. She’s not really a pumpkin but her farm is called Pumpkin kingdom or something like it. She has the BEST corn ever. It’s so sweet, it just makes you gasp with delight. She hasn’t had any corn for sale yet this summer but I wait in greedy anticipation.

This, of course, led me to think about the fact that I already have corn in the fridge that my sister gave me last weekend. Her husband stopped and bought a dozen ears and she didn’t think they’d eat all of them. I contemplated making that for dinner but my stomach had already asked for the honey ginger soy chicken.

So I decided I’d stop by the farmer’s market after work anyway. You never know. Someone might have green onions. If not, I’ll settle for peppers.

At this point, I decided to listen to the conversation in the office again. They’d moved on and I realized I should pay attention. I tried.

I won’t bore you any more with the strange, twisted food-based nature of my mental distractions but lets just say they’re not limited to meetings. I found that even sitting at my desk, working away, I still managed to get distracted by food whether in the form of trying to find a good black bean soup recipe, of trying to remember how many zucchini’s I’ve picked from my garden already this year or trying to remember if I had any celery.

I think I might have a bit of an addiction. It’s not an obsession with eating as much as it is with figuring out what to eat. It’s just too bad that thinking about food doesn’t benefit me in my job at all. Otherwise, I’d be phenomenally good at it. I suppose I should try to stop thinking about food for a while but it’s not like I can really help it. It just sort of happens. Perhaps I should make Tom Colicchio give me a stern talking to like he does with the Top Chef contestants sometimes.

I give up. I think I should just accept that I’m losing my mind.

Oh well, even if I am, I’m having fun while doing it. And planning some excellent meals.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

No comments: