Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tomatoes in February

Six days in the downtown of a big city, and I began longing not only for Missouri but for what I realized was my very high-grade diet instead of oil-drenched, over-salted, very tasty, expensive and calorific restaurant food (I rarely dine out) that was turning my blood to peanut butter. Baltimore's famous crab cakes are crabmeat welded with mayonnaise and fried. I've enjoyed them in the past but choked even thinking of them. The breakfast buffet had eggs fried every way but none boiled. The buffet was $20 so I felt it was okay to ask for one. Still wanting normal food, without exercising (having no energy!), I unlocked the hotel's exercise room and swiped an apple from its fruit basket, getting away with this for two days before someone removed the basket.

The plane landed back in St. Louis at 9 p.m. and I, waistband now too tight, prayed to get to the grocery store before closing for fresh produce: tangerines, apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, escarole, yogurt, almond milk and tofu--grateful I live where I could buy all these in one place for the price of one restaurant meal in Baltimore and more grateful I can pay. After spending that much money on six days of restaurants I will never again skinflint myself and be alarmed by $35 a week on groceries for home consumption. Heirloom tomatoes were $3.99 a lb but I had been dreaming of a perfect tomato sandwich, technically available only in July and August unless I store-bought heirloom tomatoes. Besides, they were pretty. Home at last, I didn't allow myself to sleep until I'd set up a whole-wheat bread, carrot salad, and a pot of escarole soup. The next morning the bread was ready and was made into said tomato sandwich with onion. OMG, I was so happy to be home.

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