Monday, November 22, 2010

A Slight Obsession with Food....

It has come to my attention, once again, that I think about food entirely too much.

I've always enjoyed food although, as a child, I was a horribly picky eater. I was one of those children that only ate 'safe' foods like fishfingers and chips (fishsticks and fries to my American readers), beefburgers (hamburgers), pizza (cheese only, please) and other kid-friendly foods. I simply didn't like my food messed around too much. I liked things plain, simple and kept quite separate on the plate.

When I was in high school and I went on one of my first real dates, I thought it was exotic to eat at the Olive Garden restaurant. Still being a picky eater, I was slightly alarmed and all the fussiness of the descriptions on the menu. I ordered fettucini alfredo which, at the time, seemed wonderfully fancy and grown-up. It became my staple at any Italian type restaurant. When in doubt, order the fettucini alfredo.

Then I went to college and...something happened. I began to eat everything. I don't know if it's because I was suddenly always hungry and there was always food or because my tastebuds changed but, suddenly, I began to try new things. I no longer just ordered fried rice and egg rolls in Chinese restaurants or cheese quesadillas in Mexican restaurants.

That's how it's been ever since. I try almost everything once. I've learned that sushi is not scary but actually rather delicious. I've learned that the Filipino typical breakfast of bangus fish with spicy vinegar, rice and longanisa sausage is pretty fantastic even though it's quite different from the traditional British breakfast of everything fried with a side of baked beans.

In short, I learned to eat because, well, food is just delicious when it's cooked well. I've learned to cook which also helps with the food factor.

It's just...well...that I now think about food. A lot. I mean, I suppose most people do, right? If you're hungry, you try to decide if you're craving something in particular or you're just generally hungry.

However, in my case, usually by about 9 a.m., I've already planned my lunch and dinner. Usually lunch is leftovers from the night before. Dinner's the fun part. I like to do a mental sweep of my pantry/fridge/vegetable drawer and decide what I feel like cooking.

For example, last night for dinner, I made a mini Thanksgiving meal for myself. This may seem slightly excessive for a single woman living alone but, well, if I don't cook for myself then a) I don't practice my cooking skills and b) I live like a bachelorette on microwave meals and take out.

It wasn't like I even had to buy anything special for this meal. I had bought a cornish game hen on sale a month or so ago. It was in the freezer. I already had parsnips in the cupboard because I generally like to keep root vegetables on hand because they're useful. I had potatoes. I had brussels sprouts. Voila. Put it together and you have roasted game hen with roast parsnips and potatoes and a side of brussel sprouts. The whole thing took about an hour to cook. I also have to admit that I made it because on Thanksgiving day, my mother and work together to get the dinner ready for our large family. By the time it's on the table, we're both so tired and sweaty from cooking the meal that we never really eat as much as we'd like because we've lost our appetites somewhat. Since I am a big fan of the roast turkey and trimmings, I figured it didn't hurt to spoil myself a little because that way, I won't feel so disappointed when I don't eat as much on Thanksgiving.

Hey, it makes sense in my head. That counts for something...right?

The nice thing was, I had leftovers of my vegetables and thus, today, I had my leftover vegetables for lunch. This meant there was no need to figure out what to have for lunch.

Instead, I decided to plan dinner. I've been wanting to try a recipe I had for Thai curried chicken soup. I had all the ingredients because I've been planning on making it for a while. All I had to do is defrost the chicken.

The soup turned out to be...fantastic. I know it sounds like I'm singing my own praises but, really, I'm singing the praises of Food Network Magazine who provided the recipe. It was the kind of soup where you just can't get enough of the broth.

I have leftovers for lunch, naturally.

I suppose my question after all this this normal or am I just a bit food obsessed? Am I feeding my slight loneliness and tendency to be a bit of a puppy-loving hermit by indulging in food?

Whatever the answer, I blame the Food Network. Honestly. If my parents hadn't put Iron Chef America on while I was staying there a couple of years ago, I'd probably still be thinking that Tyson Chicken nuggets and McCain Smiles were a good dinner. Instead, I'm trying new recipes, finding new flavour profiles and trying things I never thought I'd ever eat.

It's not so bad. Of course, I have to be a lot more careful than I used to because with age comes a slower metabolism. Yet, it's still fun to watch Iron Chef America and learn something new.

It's also fun to treat each day as a new canvas for that day's meals. Tomorrow, for example, I have leftover soup for lunch. I haven't planned dinner yet. It'll give me something to think about tomorrow when work is a little slow.

Although maybe I should think about work instead.

But it's more fun to think about food.

Happy Tuesday!

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