Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Easy food

As I get more into cooking, I find myself thinking about food issues more. For example, even though I am a self-identified carnivore, I find myself eating more and more vegetarian food all the time – not because I “should” or “it’s good for me,” but just because the dinner I want to cook on a given night happens to not contain any meat. As I dabble in different cuisines, I find the convergences among and differences between them interesting. As I get older and my metabolism starts slowing down, I find myself pondering eating more healthily as old standbys such as burgers, chocolate and junk food of all stripes seem less appealing. I guess my food habits are changing, not out of an intellectual desire to change, but just because my body wants something different. It’s kind of weird and kind of interesting at the same time, and I’m not sure I’m expressing it well. Expect more of this kind of rambling on this blog in the future.

I’ve been unemployed since the middle of last year, but am currently working a temp office job (which explains the less-frequent updates here). Back in the office environment again, I find myself eating what I think of as “easy food.” It’s what’s on hand in your typical office setting. Coffee. A vending machine with soda and junk food. In my last full-time job, there was an actual soda fountain in the pantry and a very high-tech coffee machine.

Now, I’m a tea drinker. At home, I don’t usually have junk food hanging around because I don’t buy it at the grocery store. But here I am at work and here I am putting my quarters into the vending machine for an overpriced helping of salt, sugar and preservatives. It’s somehow easier to get a cup of coffee in the morning rather than bring some of my favorite teabags with me and use the hot water. Is it really that hard to organize my life so that I can bring the food I want to eat with me to work, rather than opt for the easily available alternatives that don’t satisfy me? I wouldn’t choose to eat this food on my own time. Why am I doing it at work?

These are rhetorical questions, but I wonder if anybody else out there is wrestling with these same issues. Maybe it’s just as simple as mindfully trying to change your habits, over and over again, until the new habit becomes engrained. At least I brought some of my own teabags to work with me today. It’s a little step, but it’s a start.


obachan said...
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obachan said...

Hi winslow,

I’ve been enjoying your blog recently and this is my first time commenting. About the change in food habits, I guess I’m going through the similar process. Though I still have cravings for unhealthy junk foods from time to time, generally my body seems to be wanting healthier foods much more than before. I also grew on some herbs that I couldn’t eat when I was young, such as green perilla and mioga. My efforts to stick with a better eating habit really have ups and downs. Hope the overall pattern is heading for a healthier direction.
I like the way you write so I'm sure I'll be coming back often :)

Winslow said...

Hi obachan,

Thanks for the kind words. Mushrooms are a food that I used to hate when I was a kid, but now I feel quite differently about them. Then again, I didn't get to eat mushrooms like shiitake, porcini or tree ears then. "Mushrooms" meant the universal kind of bland brown mushrooms that get put into packaged food. I'm sure these mushrooms can be good if cooked well, but shiitakes were such a revelation when I first tasted them.

What I find particularly interesting about my changes in eating habits is that it's not something I'm trying to do, it's something that's just sort of happening. But there are times when I just want something familiar that doesn't require any thought. So things are moving in a good direction, but I'm sure there'll be many episodes of "backsliding."