I have officially left on the book tour for, “What’s Eating Your Child?” and have already learned a lot of new things about myself. The first shocking revelation is that I like being on TV. The whole TV interview idea had me so shaken that I started wondering if I was developing an anxiety disorder but it turns out there is nothing to worry about. It is just like speaking except with a bigger audience. You can still be an introvert and there are an army of stylists to make your hair look perfect.
What I did not like learning is that I have food snob tendencies. When there is not high quality food around I do not like it one bit and most people in this country have limited access to what I consider decent food. No big news here but one does not appreciate the importance of access to healthy food until it is not easy to get. I am ridiculously lucky that if I am willing to drive up to 25 minutes I have my pick of 6 different places carrying a variety of organic, high quality food. While I usually frequent the place five minutes away, I think nothing about driving 25 minutes to get organic grapes or 15 minutes in the other direction to get the best wild salmon because I can.
Contrast that to the suburb I was stuck in recently when my plane got cancelled. All the hotels close to the airport were already booked, so a $70 cab ride later I alighted in any-town, USA off a busy highway. The hotel offered a continental breakfast consisting of cereal, milk, orange juice and grey bananas. I asked the receptionist if there was any place to get a full breakfast. (I did not want to say, “Is there any place to get real food?” and offend their hospitality.)
The only choice was a diner a mile away. I grabbed a grey banana and started walking. On the way I passed 4 gas stations, a health club, a strip bar, two office buildings, two car repair businesses, and a non-descript strip mall (not related to the strip bar). The food choices were McDonald’s, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts. Finally, the diner appeared and it was closed.
Now I was starving. There was a BeKind and Odwalla Superfood bar in my suitcase but I had eaten one of each for dinner. Better another bar than McDonald’s I decided and then remembered that Dunkin’ Donuts advertised egg sandwiches. What they actually have is preformed egg patties that they put in a roll just like the other fast food establishments. The place was busy and this is what most people think of as eggs. Not the blue organic ones I eat at home with a chard smoothie chaser.
I could eat the veggie egg white omelet, I thought but then realized that “veggie” was likely a cute euphemism for “vegetable like” as “shake” in fast food lingo really means fake milk-like syrup drink. Next to the menu board was a prominent sign warning consumers to notify the chef if they had a food allergy. Chef was still another euphemism for bored teenager throwing patties (or pucks as my friend Kathy calls them) into a microwave.
Bravely, I placed my order. The girl behind the counter looked at me blankly. “Omelet? What egg white omelet?” After several rounds of negotiation she asked me to just give her a number from the menu. When my number whatever arrived, I scraped off the suspicious cheesy coating, threw away the bread and ate the egg puck with vegetable-like specks. Protein is protein after all.
On the one hand, I could say I am out of touch with most people’s food reality but at the same time, how did most people come to accept this as food? Just last blog I was commenting about the dead feel of the beautiful food at McMillan and Jones but sitting at the Dunkin’ Donuts I would have traded my watch for some of that dead stuff.