Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nostalgia is the best seasoning

I know food is a big issue for me and I need to strive to make improvements in this area. I'm usually a fairly decent eater who loves to cook things from scratch, but I'm too willing to give into my cravings. A little bit here, a little bit there and it all adds up through out the day/week/month. My department at work is notorious for our food days, something we do almost bi-monthly, and as healthy as many of us try to be there's always someone who forgets and just picks up a bag of chips on his/her way in to work. Potato chips are my weakness as I love savory. I like sweet; I enjoy sweet. I love savory; I crave savory. To combat this on our last food day, I brought in nothing so I ate nothing. Well, that's not totally true; I was badgered into trying some guacamole. "It's the best you will have ever tasted." "It's heavenly; you have to try it." My coworkers were falling over themselves to compliment the guy who made it, and after the fifteenth time of being told to try it, I gave in. It was mediocre, at best. I faked an 'mmmmmmm', returned to my desk and was more than happy to ignore the table for the rest of the day after that waste of my taste buds.

So I know that food is an issue that I have to work on and what am I eating as I type this? Rice. White rice. Which I fried in oil after I cooked it. I have taken the unhealthiest rice option and made it worse. Why didn't I just serve it on a donut while I was at it? I have brown rice in the apartment (I actually prefer the taste of brown rice, I find white fairly bland... like the guacamole I mentioned above), but it had to be white rice and it had to be fried. I am having a nostalgia meal, and this meal takes me back to Tanzania and my roommate, K.

K and I met volunteering at the same orphanage outside of Arusha, TZ. We were roommates and immediately hit it off. When it came time for her to leave and continue on her travels, I took two weeks off to join her for part of it. We had a great time and by the time we hard parted ways, we had spent 51 days together. Because we were roommates, there was only 2 days that we were not together for 24 hours. Oh, how I wanted to go all the way to South Africa with her and when she extended the invitation it pained me to say no, but I had made a commitment to the orphanage that I had to honour. We've kept in touch through emails and the occasional letter, especially lately as she's thinking about coming out to Victoria/Vancouver this summer. In the meantime, she's off on another adventure; she's been in Egypt for a month and is about to cross into Jordan, and will make her way up to Turkey. After an exchange of emails about things to do when she's in Victoria (I suggested surf lessons up in Tofino, she thought that would be great... what have I gotten myself into?) I receive the following: We had so much fun travelling in Tanzania, why don't you come meet me in Turkey? That was it; just one simple sentence and I spend days dreaming about the idea.

I can't go to Turkey, not that I don't want to, but I've got school and a glaring lack of money staring me in the face. I turned down the offer and instead took a trip down memory lane. Not as exciting or glamorous as just packing up and heading off for adventure, but much cheaper and just as smile-inducing. That's were the fried rice comes in. See, we didn't have a microwave in our kitchen and K and I both had a horrible habit of cooking too much rice (they don't have brown rice in Tanzania... at least, not readibly available at the market. You have to go to the expensive "western shops" to get it), so breakfast often ended up being fried rice with a fried egg and a fried tomato (although I was the only one who had the fried tomato... Irish family) all cooked in Blue Band "spread" (a margarine product, what ever that means).

The good thing about K coming out to Victoria is that she's a very active person and it's giving me an added kick in the pants to get the food thing sorted and to stop letting exercises slip just because I'm doing something else (not nearly as) active. Now not only do I have the Juan de Fuca trail to do this year (in a matter of months--eek!) but now I'm probably going to have to do a pop-up on a surf board. That would be a heck of a lot easier if I'm carry around less weight. Come on self, you can do this... as soon as I finish my rice and fried egg dinner.

Addendum: K, incidentally, makes the best guacamole I have ever had. She'd make it and we'd eat it on toast for dinner.

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