Food, glorious food

I don’t know when or how it happened. I’m just glad it did. I went from being a typically picky eater as a child (plagued by food allergies) to being a teen who wouldn’t eat salad to being an adult who eats pretty much anything and everything.

My name is Christine, and I’m a foodie. (Hi, Christine.)

Comfort food, fast food, slow food, home-grown, home-made, take-out, eat-in, Thai-Indian-Vietnamese-Chinese-Italian-Greek-Mexican-Ethiopian, off the vine, out of the box, straight from the carton, organic, laced with preservatives, grilled, baked, broiled, fried, braised, nuked, fish, fowl, animal, vegetable, fruit. It’s pretty much all good.

Why the food obsession today? Because tonight is a free food night! No, I still have to pay for what I eat, but because the hubs is away for the evening doing nice things for his parents, I can eat ANYTHING I WANT.

I’m giddy with the possibilities.

Sure, when I was single, I ate what I wanted all the time (and I was at least 10 pounds lighter, thank you very much). But in my married role as chief cook, I try to make meals that please both of us. But because I have a much wider array of likes than Mike, I’m limited, unless I want to make two meals, and I rarely want to do that.

And I don’t mean to disparage the love of my life — many, many people I know and cook for are what I consider food-impaired. I can recite a list a mile long of who eats and doesn’t eat what — “no cooked carrots, no bananas, no pears, no mushrooms, no beets, no cucumbers, no tomatoes, no tofu, no garlic, no onions, no seafood, no nuts, no beans, no coffee.” No kidding. And no allergies involved — just pickyness.

You know those recipe sites where you enter the ingredients you have on hand and they come back to you with recipes? I need the opposite — a site where can I can enter “forbidden” foods and see what’s left!

It makes planning dinner party fare quite challenging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to tell people, “Grow up and acquire a palate.” Or how grateful I am when I’m around like-minded foodies who appreciate the vast number of tastes, textures, and gustatory experiences the world offers. Or how fun it is to listen to “The Splendid Table” or hunker down in front of the Food Network and watch the pros cook.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a gourmet, or even a gourmand. Nor am I out there chowing down on frog legs or snails or haggis. I wouldn’t excel at the “food challenges” on Survivor or The Amazing Race. I just consider myself a well-rounded eater (oh, that came out so wrong, but so right).

And tonight I get to indulge, within reason. No, I won’t be cracking into a lobster, but I’m considering that last frozen salmon steak I’ve had hanging around the freezer for too long (Mike won’t eat seafood).

Or maybe I could stop and get Chinese take-out — that delightfully mega-calorie eggplant (although I made myself baba ganoush last night because eggplant was on sale at Wal-Mart — it’s heavenly!)

Or maybe I’ll just eat the marinated tofu I have in the fridge that I sometimes sneak into stir fry but Mike doesn’t really like. Or make that tofu and broccoli in peanut sauce I like.

Or mushrooms, something smothered in mushrooms!

Sushi? Sushi would be good, but the Giant Eagle out here doesn’t have it (I know, I know, sushi from the grocery store. But it’s the best I can sometimes do).

I better decide soon, though, or I’ll squander the opportunity. You know what happens…suddenly famished, must have food, so you eat whatever you can shove into your mouth, standing over the sink.

Maybe I should go low-tech. There’s a Subway in the hospital where I have yoga class tonight. A $5 tuna footlong with everything (no onions, no jalapenos — not because I don’t like them, mind you) might be calling my name. Ooooh, or tuna casserole! Yes! I have the tuna, noodles, mushroom soup, peas, cheese…

It’s good to have a plan.

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
~ George Bernard Shaw