Sunday, October 28

Eating Alone

Just got home from a conference in Charlottesville...even though it isn't terribly far away I stayed up in C'ville so that I could be alert for the morning sessions! I know myself well enough to know that waking up at 6:30 to leave at 7am for a drive will not make me a useful (or pleasant) person at an 8:30am workshop.

Although Lynchburg certainly has developed a diverse group of restaurants - I was excited to skim through the Yelp restaurant listing in C'ville to decide where to eat dinner each night! The only drawback to traveling alone is that I generally ate dinner alone. I realize that I'm one of those people who isn't really comfortable eating alone. Sometimes I can embrace it - sometimes I even pretend that I'm a famous restaurant critic dining incognito. (I don't go so far as to make notes or drop hints to the wait staff that I'm a famous restaurant critic...I just pretend with myself) Most of the time I have a magazine or newspaper with me.

In fact, I pick my lunch spots in town by the availability of newspaper boxes! But the reading material is just a cover...I usually find myself listening to other people's conversations. Not exactly eavesdropping - well...I guess it is.... I just get distracted by what is going on around me!

I have asked friends about eating alone and the majority of my friends don't like to do it either. But I didn't find anyone who also created fantasy roles as undercover critic or spy. At least they didn't admit it!

Speaking of food - now for the THIRD year in a row I've been entrusted with the command of frozen foods for Centenary UMC's Bazaar. Read last year's post to get an idea of what we're doing! But this year's Bazaar is November 10!! And this year's offerings will include the Sausage Breakfast Casserole, Pasta Bake and Chicken and Rice Casserole. The corn casserole and green bean casseroles we offered last year weren't good sellers (tasty...just didn't sell well) so we have eliminated them. I thought we had scratched the Sweet Potato Casserole too...but have gotten several requests, so it's back too! Let me know what you want and I'll reserve your favorites!

Wednesday, October 17

Viva la Difference!!

Had a great dinner tonight with my new sister from Japan, Eriko! The Howell family has "adopted" two Randolph College international students and I missed the big "welcome to the family" dinner last week while I was wasting away in an airport hotel conference room. I will meet my other new sister Proity on Friday, she is from Bangladesh.

When my biological brother Gordon invited me to have dinner with he, Eriko and Denise (with a text at 7am...has he never met me?) I didn't realize that I would be eating sushi with a Tokyo native. Pretty intimidating! In my family I am considered the sushi expert (wine expert, food expert...) but I know that there are some areas of sushi consumption that are very Americanized. I didn't want to do anything that would offend Eriko - but I am very fond of my wasabi/soy sauce mixture...and I know that isn't traditional. She assured me that she would not be offended and laughed that she doesn't even use chopsticks correctly! I think that she was just trying to make me feel better...because I thought she did a beautiful job.

I also had heard (I'm sure it was some Food Network show...) that it was acceptable to eat sushi with your fingers. When I asked about that (after eating most of the meal with my chopsticks) she said that she also ate sushi with her fingers sometimes. Once again, I think she was just being nice...but I ate a few pieces that way!

I was very excited to hear that Proity is planning to cook a traditional Bangladeshi dish for our family sometime (not this Friday - Denise is "cooking". That means pizza, I think.) and that Eriko will also make a traditional Japanese dish for us! I love trying new things. Now I just need to find a good place to help them find the ingredients and spices they will need.

A friend recently commented that her children were such picky eaters that she just served them chicken nuggets and grilled cheese. Seems kind of sad. I know that there were certainly a lot of things that I didn't want to try as a child (and I still refuse to eat oatmeal or applesauce). And, I know that we can chase my sister Karen around a house with a spoonful of mayonnaise because she fears it. But I'm glad that we were exposed to a lot of different foods as we grew up! And I'm always amazed by my nephew Jack, who has tried everything from Chinese to Indian food. He would rather have Thai food than pizza - and that is pretty unusual for a teenage boy.

I can't wait for the next culturally diverse eating experience - as long as it isn't oatmeal!

Tuesday, October 9

Trusting Your Fellow Man

Just returned from one trip and headed out the door for another! I had a great week at the beach and leave tomorrow for a work trip to Baltimore. Hoping for a trip to the Inner Harbor area for a nice dinner - otherwise I'll be in conference rooms at a faceless airport hotel...well, I can survive anything for two days, right?

During my trip to the beach I made an observation one evening while sitting and watching the ocean. I saw two couples walking along the beach with their shoes in their hands. Understand, I am assuming that they were not making a one-way trip down the beach. Most people in the remote area of Duck are not walking TO someplace along the beach. They are taking a walk on the beach and returning to their vacation home at the end of the walk. And since I later observed the same four people walking in the opposite direction - I believe that assumption is correct.

Why do people take their shoes for a walk? Why not leave them with the small piles of other people's shoes at the foot of the beach access stairs? Are your shoes so special that you think other people are going to steal your shoes? Short of inner city kids stealing high-end sneakers...I don't believe I've ever heard of rampant shoe stealing. Personally, I don't want to wear used shoes. I don't even like wearing bowling shoes because the whole concept of wearing other people's shoes kinda creeps me out.

So I shall declare to the world - leave your shoes behind! They'll be there when you get back. Nobody wants your stinky loafers and flip flops that are already formed to the shape of your feet. Chill out.

Next I shall discuss people who feel obligated to carry giant purses to the buffet. The world likely doesn't want your stuff either! And when you reach for the egg rolls and your saddlebags swing into my plate of beef and broccoli, it ticks me off.

Hamster beaten....gotta go pack again...sigh.

The cat is NOT going to be happy with me.