On Eating

I've never been fond of eating, really. I've been told that I can't possibly enjoy my food because of how fast I eat. In informal settings, I can put down a full meal in under 5 minutes or so (while still being polite and not making a mess). In formal settings, I find myself spending more time remembering my Ps and Qs during the meal instead of enjoying the meal.

I can count on one of my hands the meals I've truly enjoyed in my life. Meals where the food was so good, that you couldn't just ignore the fact that you were eating. One of those meals has been here in the Philippines. That place is Antonio's, and I recently went with my wife here for our 6th wedding anniversary.

Imagine this meal:

  • Arugula Salad with Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomato Bisque Soup
  • 800g Grilled Certified Angus Beef Prime Ribeye Steak (Medium), sides of Mashed Potatoes and tomato tortellini, paired with a 2006 Penfolds Bin Shiraz
  • Double Chocolate Truffle Souffle

Oh man, what a great meal. The steak was cooked just right, seared a bit, with a good flavor. The chef also prepared his own special steak sauce that was also really tasty. The entire meal is a 2 hour long duration, plenty of relaxing and enjoying company and the meal. It certainly didn't hurt that I had an attractive lady with me. However, I can't eat like this all the time. For starters, I'd become as fat as a balloon in no time flat. I'm already working to lose a lot of weight I've gained over the last 5 years. I want to be healthy, and I know I'm not.

I've certainly had some other great meals that I know. I really enjoy eating food my dad prepares. He's become a sort of chef, and I think he could really go the distance and open his own place. I'm not sure the market he is in right now would support him the way he wanted/needed it to, but the skills are certainly there. Likewise, I do enjoy most of my wife's meals.

However, It just seems like a massive waste to me. Sure, I understand that I need food to survive. If I were to take the time to eat every meal, enjoy it - when would I get anything done? Preparing a meal is a job in itself - often taking 60-120 minutes to prepare, only to have it disappear in half of the time.

This has been bothering me a lot recently. I've found myself not really attracted to eating at all. I'm never really super hungry, nor do I have cravings for anything in particular. I've eaten enough takeout to suffice me for quite some time, and food just isn't feeling particularly attractive to me. With all of the time and energy devoted to food production (on both the macro and micro level) - I have to break concentration to take a break and eat something. That's also bothersome to me, given that I've been finding myself very locked into whatever I've been doing, and taking a break is to do something that I'm not particularly engaged to do is a pain.

Whenever there is a problem, there is also a solution. My first attempt at resolving this involved taking a stab a cooking a local favorite: Chicken Adobo. It turns out, the recipe is very simple, and the results are okay. I'm sure a local would take one taste of my food and laugh, but given it was my first attempt I think I did pretty good.

Here's the recipe:

  • Chicken: 2 kilo
  • Crushed Peppercorn: 1 Tsp
  • Crushed Garlic Cloves (9)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Bay Leaves

Take the chicken, and cut it up into manageable chunks. For me, I purchased a whole chicken and had the butcher cut it into 'adobo' slices. Keep the bones intact. Grab a big pot, stick in the crushed garlic, soy cauce, vinegar, water, bay leaves, peppercorn, and the chicken. Combine (no stirring- this is key) along with the chicken. Cover and let sit for around 1 - 1.5 hours. Then, bring to a boil (again, don't stir). Once at a boil, stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Then, take off the cover, keep at a simmer for another 20 minutes, continuing to stir. Serve it up with some fresh steamed rice.

It's a good recipe, and I was actually impressed with the food. Every family has their own slight adjustment to how they cook it, but that's the basic idea. The lack of stirring is to prevent the vinegar from 'spoiling' during the settling process. One preferred way to prepare is to omit the vinegar in the marinate phase, and only include it while boiling. I'll try that next time to see the taste difference.

I kind of enjoyed cooking - it was almost a nice solace. However, I can't help but think that I could have been doing something more important/interesting while cooking.