I thought about The Sun once this summer. As I peeled a cantaloupe rind from the bottom of my favorite sandals and stared quizzically at the war scene in front of me, I thought maybe, just maybe, someone from Cornell with an aptitude for Boston culture could explain to me what on earth just threw down on Hanover street. While on a quest to the Italian fest on the North End, I think I might have been warped into a level of Yoshi’s Story, with melons and bananas and fruit of all sorts literally dumped and overflowing from the streets to the sidewalks. I stood dumbstruck and watched ravenous Bostonians on all fours scrounging through rotten fruit for a hopeful gem.
Picture this. A mythological creature stands before you with three paper bags in hand. The almighty god of the food world forces you to choose one bag. The contents are the only foods you can eat for the rest of your life. One bag is bulging with chocolates, cheeseburgers, cookies, and sodas. The next is brimming with spinach, peas, oranges, and apples. The last bag contains kale, salmon, chocolate, raspberries, and fresh bread. Which do you choose? Could you spend the rest of your life with fat, salt, and sugar dripping down your chin? Could you keep from going insane on a diet that never provided any of these luxurious indulgences? Is there beauty in the bag that represents a balance of both?
I’m getting a little cranky. The problem is that I am spoiled – no doubt in my mind, no question in my head. I am responsible for this gut-wrenching craving that never seems to go away. After all of the fruitless attempts to satiate this relentless hankering, I am still here wallowing with chopsticks in hand and a furious look on my face, silently judging the chintzy plastic container of americanized and replusivized sushi.
It all started on a cold winters night in the Big Apple. All glammed up and trying to fit in with the pretentious NYC fashionistas, I shivered my way through the sleet and snow into a sushi-lovers paradise. I did not know it then but this was the night that would create an eternal craving that I am sure will persist for the rest of my food-loving life.
I’m broke. Most of us are broke. Some of us have thousands of dollars in loans and credit cards that are always in the red. I complain about this just about every day of my life to my parents who have this weird perception that being a broke college student is a rite of passage or something. Its gotten to the point where the twenty dollars of “mad money” my mother sends is like gold. And for a girl who literally has expensive taste, having no money in my pocket is like my own personal purgatory. I can’t survive off ramen or pizza or wings every single night of my life. I need the good stuff to get me by. Freshly baked artisan bread, exotic fruits and vegetables, fresh fish right off the truck. This is where my “mad money” goes.
Being the ultimate foodie and nutrition junkie that I am, I stood in front of the new Green Café on College Ave. and small tear trickled down my cheek. I opened the glorious doors to my new haven and the smells of salvation exploded in my face.
Being the drunk and stupid college students that we are, the dreaded hangover is no stranger to our weekend routine. Dazed and confused after a long night romping around in college town, I wake up to a huge slap in the face by Mother Nature. She’s apparently pissed that I put so much crap into my body. I guess warm beer after warm beer isn’t exactly her definition of natural. So I suffer her angry wrath: a splitting headache, a sandpaper tongue, a rolling stomach, and some weird ache in my legs from my abnormal urge to run around when I drink.
I’ve always been a little set off by tofu. The texture isn’t quite right and the flavor is almost nonexistent. Until now, I’ve been dead set against the mushy mass of protein and would never so much as give it a passing glance. Over spring break, I was determined to find a way to make this ugly food a little more edible in my eyes. While listening to an episode of Martha Stewart Radio (Don’t judge me! They have great recipes!), I heard of a technique for preparing tofu that sounded promising. They stated that the key to making tofu correctly is to really dry it out, marinate it in potent flavors, and bake it until its crispy. So I placed the tofu in a glass dish, wrapped it in a clean towel, and put a fairly heavy bowl on top.
There is a revolution afoot and I’ve picked up my knife and rolling pin in its defense. Call me spoiled, call it expensive taste, call it what you want, but I have such a deep loathing for the fast food chains of the world that this so called revolution is just what I needed. In my head, I’ve personified fast food. The greasy kid from high school with slicked back hair and an odor slightly reminiscent of lunchmeat. There is nothing wrong with the kid, he just kind of skeeves me out. Same with the 1200 calorie Triple Whopper sandwich from Burger King. This strange mash of meat, bread, and grease should just not be allowed to bear the label of “food”.
1:30 PM, 4:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 9:30 PM. I dig through my bottomless pit of a snack drawer and yank out a small bag filled with super powers. I pull out a mug with a picture of my puppy plastered on its side and fill it to the brim with steaming hot water. When I drop the little bag into the mug, a burst of bright green diffuses throughout. A small drizzle of honey and I’m good to go.
The little orange pack of crunchy noodles glares at me. I sigh and succumb to the ugly food I’m about to put in my body. Ugh, college. There is just some moments where I have to put my forkful of dignity down and dwell in the bottom of my lowly bowl of ramen. After all, it’s really cold outside and this “soup” is really warm. Out of a moment of pure laziness, I pour the packet of preservatives into the steaming microwaved noodles and crawl into bed to write ¬reconciliation for this dreadful act to the great world of foodies.