Bat Fit

Bat Fit 2017 Day 5: The Power of Food

As I sit here writing this, I have a sore throat (tonsils are infected) and a chest cold that’s making my ribs hurt. It’s been over a year since I’ve been sick like this and well over 10 years since my tonsils “bloomed” — as my Mom would call it — with an infection. I’m sick and miserable, and it’s not helping that we don’t have furniture yet (it’s being delivered on January 16); or that the POD arrived yesterday with a bunch of boxes holding fragile stuff crushed because it seems that the POD was tilted even though the company claims a no-tipping policy; or that I can’t seem to get a good cup of coffee in a restaurant (everything is watered down, BLUCK); or that seltzer seems to be a foreign, exotic drink; or that wraps and paninis are “hippy” foods that seem to be few and far between. As much as I love deep fried, pepper gravy-slathered goodness and the most delicious BBQ you’ll ever eat, I’d like something simple like chicken soup and salad … or maybe a grilled veggie wrap. This unfamiliar food is heightening my sense of displacement and magnifying my home-sickeness. I can’t seem to find Breakstone’s whipped butter or real seltzer water, like Polar or Vintage. Sure there’s Ozarka and Perrier, but order a glass of seltzer in a restaurant and the waitstaff will look at you like you have worms crawling out of your nose. Oh, sparkling water. I get it. I actually had a kid tell me that I can get a Diet Coke because it’s basically the same thing. WHAT. THE. ENTIRE. HELL?

And let’s talk about that Texas water. Why does it taste like ass? Seriously. The stuff is undrinkable, never mind brushing your teeth or taking your medicines with it. Ed and I are looking into getting Poland Spring (or a reasonable equivalent) home delivered just so we have water to drink and to make coffee. On the upside, I love what it does to my hair. I haven’t been losing the black dye in my hair as quickly as I was in NYC and the water makes it super soft and straight. Even Ed’s hair looks better and more manageable.

I guess you can call me a spoiled NYC gal who is used to a certain lifestyle … so this is a big food shock for me. It doesn’t help that I’m feeling homesick, out-of-sorts, displaced, and lonely. I’m always friggin’ lonely, aren’t I? sigh … Being sick is just compounding everything because all I want is familiarity: chicken soup, good coffee, a nice salad … no, I don’t want ranch dressing. Why is ranch dressing the damned default?!? Can I have a lemon wedge and olive oil? No, I’m not from California. sigh …

It goes without saying that I have a very complicated relationship with food. It’s not just something that my body needs to survive. Food, to me, is life itself. It represents where I come from — the place, the people, my family — and it’s what I turn to for comfort. A big salad with a little olive oil and squirt of lemon can cheer me up on a dreary day. Grilled hot dogs on a potato bun with relish and mustard means summertime. And big pots of borscht or chicken soup might as well stand in for my Mom — hugs in a bowl. I never realized just how much Jewish/kosher food I consumed until this week. Mom always bought Breakstones butter, something I can’t seem to find. I wonder if I’ll be able to get knishes or blintzes. I nearly cheered aloud when I saw that the local Kroger’s has Tabatchnick soup and other frozen kosher products. HEB has pita and naan bread, and decent looking jarred pizza sauce and mozzarella. I refuse to by Hunt’s canned tomatoes … yuck … so I’m opting to spend the money on imported Italian tomatoes. Food.

I’ve always joked that I would never be skinny because I love food too much. Thinking about it now, I don’t love food, per se. Certain foods are symbols for much larger ideas, and it’s times like this when I need those certain foods to help me gain my footing in an unfamiliar land with a very foreign culture. I’m not simply lamenting the fact that pizza outside of NYC or Chicago is nonexistent. I’m not lamenting the loss of Breakstone’s whipped, lightly salted butter. I’m looking for something familiar that will help me transition into my new home. I’m looking for a pastrami sandwich with grainy mustard to look me straight in the eye and with a NYC accent say, “How you doin’?”

I’ve said in the past that I have a problem with portion control and that’s something I need to work on. However, Bat Fit is not a diet. I don’t diet and wouldn’t be able to if I tried. My relationship with food is personal, deep, and extremely complicated. “Everything in moderation” was what my Mom taught us and “everything in moderation” has been my mantra throughout this whole process. Yes, I tend to overeat, especially when large portions are put in front of me. But, there’s nothing wrong with food in itself. A small portion of fries won’t kill you, neither will a small piece of cake or pie. Everything in moderation and fresh, good — and SLOW — food has always been the key to my personal weight loss. I never feel like I’m depriving myself. Good food makes me physically healthy … and mentally and emotionally happy. And it’s exactly this kind of food that I’m looking for to help me settle into my new home. I may have to make some compromises like half-and-half in my coffee, but there are some things I won’t compromise on like good water or salads. Here’s to finding my comfort zone in Texas.

11 thoughts on “Bat Fit 2017 Day 5: The Power of Food”

  1. Big hug and good luck in finding and developing comfort in such a new world for you. I understand what you are saying, food is so much more to us than fuel.
    And I’ve lived in California,, San Francisco bay area over 30 years, and a vegan so I can not even imagine how hard it would be to eat in a place like Texas. I’m not putting Texas down at all-but it is a different culture for sure. I visit family in Arizona and bring frozen Amy’s dinners in my suitcase…just in case.
    Hang in there girl, and I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. I can relate. I moved to central Wisconsin! Everyone eats Brats, Fried Brats, French Fries, then of course there’should the Friday night Fish Fry’s. Ask for Bake or Broiled anything they look at you like your from another Country! Spaghetti, spaghetti sauce are in the international Food aisle! A lousy jar of sauce is 5 bucks! Seltzer? I talked with the owner of the supermarket, he ordered it for me, but only one case at a time.
      I miss NYC- the culture, Food, Diversity. When I visit I come back 10 lbs heavier!

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      1. I have to say, I don’t miss NYC at all … I miss NY State. I found better restaurants and farm stands in New Paltz and Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow than I ever did in NYC. There are more farm-to-table joints than in NYC.

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    2. Thank you! We’re slowly finding some places that serve cleaner and more vegetarian/whole foods to call our “regular joints.” And I’m cooking more at home … something that I’m truly enjoying because I have a nice, big kitchen in my new place. I can’t wait to get our furniture on Monday! I’m really going to start baking, making soups, etc. I think I just need some regular time, know what I mean?

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  2. I may be a lifelong hot chip addict but I could not live on deep fried foood I would be ill all the time! I hope you find some healthy options soon!

    My partner and his family are coffee connoisseurs and would be suffering the lack of coffee so badly!

    Feel better soon!

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  3. I feel you but on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve lived my entire life in Florida so I grew up on a weird mix of heavy Southern and Hispanic food. My husband and I just moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in October for his career. I knew I’d experience some culture shock but oh is it still hard. Like no one serving sweet tea, or that salted butter is hard to find but so much more expensive too. Or that everything tends towards organic and gmo free and all that jazz, which would be great if we could afford the price mark up that comes with it. And the closest WalMart or dollar stores are at least 30min. Oh how I miss Dollar General and Publix Grocery stores so so much. (And humidity, dear lord how I miss humidity)

    Also, I don’t know about Texas exactly but you might have some luck with the foods you’re looking for by finding if you have a local farmer’s market or ethnic food store. And could your water source be well water or sulfur water? It smells/tastes awful (like boiled/rotting eggs) but is wonderful for your hair and skin. It’s pretty common in a lot of older or rural southern areas.

    It’s such a rough adjustment and I wish you the best of luck and that you feel better too.

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    1. Aw, thanks sweetie! Don’t get me wrong — I’m loving the pepper gravy! Where has this been all my life and can I have it slathered on everything! HA! We’re brewing our coffee at home and I’m taking big thermoses to work, so that problem is solved. And it’s saving us major money. We just discovered CITRUS SEASON?!? There’s a citrus season here!!! Big, fat navel oranges for 95 cents a pound! HOLY CRAP! And they’re sweet and delicious. The steaks and chicken are awesome and clean and fresh and YUMMO!

      You can’t find salted butter there? What the what?!? Good grief, that’s all we eat in NYC! You can even get the good Irish or French salted butter at Wegmans. BOO!

      I think we just need to explore more. What can I say, homesickness is a thing … as you know. Sending you love and hugs for your transition.

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  4. I feel you. I grew up with the mediterranean diet, with cooked food and my family eating lunch together. I’d feel bad if I couldn’t eat with my family or I couldn’t find the foods I’m used to eat.

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    1. Yeah, it’s been an adjustment. We’re learning new things every day. I do love that folks will just strike up a conversation with you. It’s really wonderful. I also like the fact that time seems to move really slow here. It’s nice.

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