Thursday, September 24, 2009

On Food... Traveling... Exploring... Even by bike!

Several of the folks who have kept up with our blogposts here on have shown particular interest in the video posts and blog posts that deal with food. Some folks left a comment, others shared their comments on Facebook, and one other even went so far as to send us a text messaage (called "Tex mex" by my lovely one, Luna) that cried out: "Stay away from that sh*t food."

So, I thought it was time to address the issue of this creature comfort: food.

At the very moment that I write this, there was a PSA on the Arkansas channel that said, "Savor the flavors of Arkansas," and featured a beautiful, shiny close-up of... fried chicken.

I share this to illustrate some of the points that I would like to make:

1) We actually enjoy most the foods we brought along with us. Prior to leaving California, Luna set out by making a ton of pasta, a garbanzo bean salad, a little bit of tuna salad. He also roasted several bell peppers and made a pico de gallo with tomatoes. We have a bag of apples and clementines, raisins/etc. and we just polished off a container of mixed nuts. We lasted on this for almost a week--in some cases, almost two.

(The following video was taken two days ago at a rest-stop in Arkansas. For whatever reason, Luna was a little camera shy this time. I made a quick showing of the food.)

2) But I think the physicality of cycling an average of 100 miles a day gets a person hungry for grease. I can't speak for myself, because I fulfill the roles of "scout" and "sweep" vehicle--and the most physicality involved in that is waiting, waiting, waiting; but after about a week of consuming his own healthy meals, as well as Advocare's energy-enhancing vitamins and products, he started hanckering for "fat". (Of course, I had to oblige.)

3) When in Rome, politely smile and nibble when you're totally outnumbered. Seriously, though, I enjoy a half-rack of ribs. Actually, when it comes to meat, I like preparation to be kept simple. When in Texas, for instance, the only thing on the menu is beef, beef, beef, and chicken. So, we just asked them to keep it simple, putting all secret sauces "on the side". It's our secret way of saying, "we would love to taste your culinary genius, but we don't need a punch in the face."

4) In my humble opinion, restaurants and food communicate the bulk of any community's culture. It's one way we learn about where we are and what literally fuels the people in it. So, we have found we enjoy going into places that seem as authentically local to the neighborhood we're in. (Trust us, in some of these towns, a diner is it! (On another--more disturbing note--we haved asked folks for their recommendations and we literally have been sent to some chains: disappointments like, "Taco Casa" or "Taco Bueno". ))

5) Last, when you travel with a chef, he still has to bring his kitchen with him---even when he's traveling by bicycle. Luna was embarassed that I took this picture, but I think it drives home our main point, which is: once we've had our fix with grease, we're more than ready to settle back into good hotel-cooking. Hot pasta is always awesome and just too easy to make. (The only trick: try NOT to set off the fire alarm and sprinkler system. Hotels tend to frown on that.)

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