So you already know, I lived in a hotel for five months while my house was being fixed. And the hotel that the insurance company sprang for was fine and all, complete with a kitchenette, but it was hardly the kitchen I have here at the house. It really just consisted of a smallish fridge, a microwave and a 2 coil hotplate. Yeah... When you care about food and food prep, that doesn't really cut it.
There was no oven. The burners were electric. The pans were cheap, cruddy teflon-coated nightmares. There was nothing sharper than a butter knife for any kind of cutting or chopping. There was no food processor, no blender, no juicer, and while they did have a toaster, it wasn't anything I was interested in consuming food from. Unfortunately, this lack of a proper kitchen translated to eating out a lot... Too much, in fact. I know that there are plenty of people out there who would say, "Eating out every day, never having to cook anything? That sounds amazing!" Trust me, the novelty wears off after about a week, especially when you actually enjoy cooking, and prefer to know what goes into the food that goes into you. Sure, you can pick a restaurant that sounds good that night, but you can't really control the contents of whatever dish you pick off the menu and around these parts, 99% of what is on the menu has been frozen and shipped in weeks or months in advance. And you would probably be astonished at how few restaurants actually know how to cook broccoli. Unfortunately, this lack of control led to some really unfortunate weight gain... And I'm working on undoing the damage at this point.
I had to complete the kitchen overhaul before I could really comfortably settle into things the way I wanted to, so that also meant a little extra time eating around the work zone to prevent problems with finishes and stuff...
Since being reinstalled in my own home with my own appliances and my own tools, I admit to not only relishing my time in the kitchen, and the fruits of my labors, but also to transitioning into something of a food snob. I'm not saying that I'm going all-organic-locally grown-vegan or anything like that... I'm just saying that I have a much deeper appreciation for quality ingredients and things being fresh and relatively natural. I don't mind standing and chopping vegetables and fruit if it means I don't have to swallow over-soaked mushy crap from a can. I take the time to seek out fresh ingredients and spend more of my time in the produce section for seasonal fruits and veggies, and at the proper butcher shop for minimally processed meats. I admit that it costs a little more, and it takes a little more time, but it is worth it, and I feel better knowing what I'm putting in my body.
The addition of the new grill has also been helpful to the cause.
I admit that there are some exceptions to the rule... I still drink diet Dr Pepper more than I should, and I do occasionally eat some crappy fast food when I'm in a pinch. (And I admit to having indulged in a trip or two to the local cupcakery, which I justified by saying that if I baked my own, I would just end up with a great deal more cupcakes on hand to tempt me, rather than overpaying for a single cupcake that is distinctly sinful and over-indulgent.)
I don't anticipate this page becoming a "foodie blog" or anything like that, but the transition in my kitchen is what's going on for me, and I have little else to report.
The conclusion of this post is unsatisfying, but that's really all I've got. But since I've got your attention, I would like to issue a special birthday shout out to The Admiral. All the best to the very best friend a misanthrope like me could ever hope for.