Food Fighter

I have accomplished very little over the last two weeks.

Few updates to the blog, no house yet to clean, and even the bulk of the childrearing has fallen on Tom’s shoulders. I have all sorts of blog ideas percolating in my head but scant motivation when it comes to recording them. All I’ve been doing the last few weeks is growing a human and trying desperately to avoid vomiting, with varied success. Since my last post my state of well-being has taken a sharp nosedive. If I were permitted to do so, I could easily sleep 16 hours a day and live off a diet consisting solely of bread loaves and watered-down juice. Alas, I cannot. And I live in terror of the lobby of our hotel, which contains a plug-in air “freshener” that in the last few days has gone from merely odious to unfailingly vomit-inducing every time I pass. I’m afraid to leave the building without a mask over my face, lest I water the garden with breakfast, and thus leaving to explore other places and restaurants becomes a Herculean task.

The one meal a day that I actually feel up to eating is dinner. Dinner is wonderful; Tom’s had Maggie for a few hours so I can recharge and by then I’m starting to feel human again. And since we don’t have a house or a car with which to transport groceries, we’re still on per diem so we can enjoy some nice restaurants. The one where we’ve had the best luck is a place called Prezzo, a chain that I believe originated in the UK. It’s probably the UK equivalent of the Olive Garden, except the food tastes so much better than the Italian-food-for-dummies/sludge-on-noodles the Olive Garden routinely serves.

Since mozzarella is one of the cheeses I can safely consume, I was more than a little disappointed that there was no option to just have mozzarella and tomato salad (is that a genuinely Italian dish or a bastardization? Geraldine?). Whatever. It tastes good. But draping a light, delicious bit of prosciutto (technically a no-no food for me, but I have a relaxed midwife) over their mozzarella more than made up for it. And the carbonara was a delight. No one was more surprised than me that I could handle such dishes, but there you go.

Conversely…Mexican food. Oh, how I needed a little avocado in my life (which I actually found a few days later in Prezzo’s salmon/avocado salad). I had a bad craving and y’know, I’m just not seeing avocado at the grocery store like I used to in Hawaii. Oh, for the locally grown fruits of our former home!

It turns out that Mexican food is one of those cuisines that the further away you are from your home source, the worse it’s going to be. Thanks to immigration, you can find great Italian in New York, Boston, San Francisco, take your pick. You may have to dig, but somewhere in most major cities you can find a hole in the wall where someone’s Italian grandma has relinquished control over her old country cookbook and they’re doing Nonna’s recipes justice.

Not so with Mexican food in Northern England, or at least not in Harrogate. The guacamole was a horrendous disappointment–I think some sort of sour cream or mayo was used as filler, which is an abomination unto avocado. You may be a nice person, but if your guac recipe includes fillers we just aren’t going to be friends–and looked somewhat oxidized. The burrito was dry, with not a bit of bean to be seen. And this is all academic anyway, because it came up as soon as we got home.

Nothing tastes good anymore. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Just salty and sour things, heavy emphasis on savory. There’s a carbonated sour apple juice available here that is making my life bearable, and pancetta bacon makes everything okay again (especially in a garlic cream sauce) but nothing else. Maggie’s asleep and I just had to write SOMETHING, but all I can think about is my poor belly.

Tom is of the opinion that if I just got up and walked around a bit I’d feel springy and happy once again. I’m reminded of a line from “Friends” that I’ll need to quote to him if it comes up again: “Hey! No uterus = no opinion.”

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2 thoughts on “Food Fighter

  1. Honestly, I’ve never had a Caprese salad in Italy. I don’t know what that means – it might be a fancy thing, or completely inauthentic. When I was little, our salads were as follows: Either lettuce, with vinegar and oil, or chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, with vinegar and oil.

    I don’t know if we were poor, or traditionalists, but I suspect it was both.

    • Inauthentic or not, it’s damn tasty. Also awesome: Maggie says “mozzarella” as “moo-za-zella.”

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