Archive for November, 2011

Word to the wise

Sorry I haven’t been here for a while, and this is going to be extremely brief, but it’s important.  I have wisdom to impart, so pay attention:

If you’re going to Target, don’t wear a red shirt.

That is all.

Chewing the fat

I’ve been trying to bring my lunch to work a little more often in an effort to save some money and eat more healthfully. With that in mind, I spent extra time staring at the pre-made lunchy stuff at Trader Joe’s recently. Their salads are good, but I was getting a little tired of them. I had previously bought a Thai chicken noodle thing with peanut dressing that was spicy and tasty, so I grabbed another one of those. Then I saw something new (to me at least): “Cajun Style Blackened Chicken Breast with Fettuccine.” That sounded awesome, so I tossed it into the cart and moved on to the rest of the market.

When I got home, I looked again at the Cajun meal and heaved a disappointed sigh. “Honey, I missed one important word when I got this chicken thing.” “What’s that, ‘mustard?'” she asked (fully knowing how that would ruin an otherwise tasty-sounding dish to me). “Nope: alfredo,” I said. “Ah, yeah, that’s an important word.” I asked if she wanted to split it with me since it was probably going to be heavier and a lot less healthy than I had planned. She picked up the package, looked at the back, and said, “You’re on your own. It’s 100% of your daily saturated fat.” Technically, it was listed as two servings each constituting 50% of my recommended daily allowance, but it only looked like enough food for one person.

I took it to work and told myself I wouldn’t eat the whole thing, because if I did, I would likely be a little disgusted with myself. As it was warming in the microwave, it smelled delicious. I brought it over to my desk and took my first bite. Not only was it very good, but it was also wonderfully nostalgic for me. Immediately, I pictured myself sitting outside a place called “Cafe Orleans” in Santa Barbara, eating my favorite dish there, “Creamy Penne Pasta Pontalba.” (It wasn’t just the alliteration that made me enjoy ordering it, though I’m sure that part helped a bit.) I got that dish every time I went there, and I also ordered it to go more times than I can remember. Oh yeah, and it was twice the size of the TJ’s meal in front of me. I felt retroactively disgusted by how much fat I must have eaten back then. Even though it came with a little side salad and raspberry vinaigrette, I don’t think that canceled out the “more fat than two people need” aspect of the pasta and cream sauce. In any case, I managed to eat the chicken out of my TJ’s lunch and just a little of the pasta (the part with the least amount of cream sauce on it) before making myself toss the rest. My mission of non-gluttony was accomplished.

So what’s the big deal, right? It was one meal and it tasted good, so what’s the real harm as long as I don’t make a habit out of it? Well, that’s exactly the same rationale I’m using right now as I strongly consider getting a McRib sandwich for lunch sometime this week. I don’t know what the recommended daily allowance is for random pieces of meat forced into an unsightly shape and slathered with barbecue sauce, but I think I might exceed that.

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