During the Christmas crush, my employer provides lunches in our break room. I have always been very impressed by this largess, since anyone who wanted to could bring their lunch from home.
Never-the-less, these generous meals that are brought in are subjected to the sort of scrutiny that one would expect from a New York Times food critic.
This is especially amusing since the lunches we are talking about consist of sandwiches, chips, cookies, and sliced tomatoes and lettuce. In fairness, though, the sandwich, which used to be low-man on the totem pole, has been elevated to a more gourmet status, and with gourmet possibilities and the attendant prices to be paid, come great expectations.
How thick is the bread? Is it soft enough? Flavorful enough? What kind is it? There seems to be far more angst spilled over the bread than what goes between the slices.As long as there are enough chicken salad sandwiches, then there is generally peace in the break room. The other thing that tickles me is when folks make a rhetorical announcement (in a stage voice), “I can’t eat a whole sandwich”, or “I am only eating half of mine!”
Each day heaps of sandwiches and a staggering array of chips of various flavors greet my appetite (and me, too, but my appetite is in the lead and gets there before I do!) as I enter, toting my white Royal Panda bag containing my Wu Food du jour.
There is something so appealing about sandwiches all wrapped up “fancy-like”, in shiny cellophane, or in crisp, white paper–with sparkly, tinsel-tipped toothpicks holding them together. There is a clear difference between the exotic store bought sandwich and a domestic sandwich that was slapped together on your kitchen counter.
All this is to say that the sandwiches are EXTREMELY seductive to me. One of the great things about the Wu Food Project is that it does not include bread, which for some reason was always an issue for me. I really love it. In an unreasonable way. We are talking raw emotional attraction here.
But here’s the good thing! Once I get the brown rice heated up–which I do in a bowl with some extra water to reconstitute it into warm and tender nuttiness I am okay. Mr. Wu’s entrees are so pretty to look at (everyone always comments on how good my Wu food looks) and it is such a good feeling to know that it is good FOR me, that I am perfectly content with what’s on my plate.
Someone asked me today about that, and I told them that I have learned to shift my urge (and that is what is was–a downright primal urge) to eat crunchy potato chips to eating crisp veggies or crisp fruit. No, it is not the same, but it is okay. and better for me.
What has helped me the most, and what has been one of the most valuable elements of the Wu Food Project is the taking stock and the analysis of what it is about certain foods that make them so attractive to me, and then diverting that interest into a healthier food.
For a certainty, hand held food ranks high on the list of my food infatuations. I think it does for everyone, as I mentioned in an earlier entry. So now, instead of French fries, I can take Mr. Wu’s green beans, and roast them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, and they become finger food. Mu shu vegetables have become my sandwich. And brown rice is my new bread.
And the best thing? All this new food is making a new (old) me! So far I have lost sixteen pounds, and it is a real thrill to be wearing so many of my old blouses and pants.
Everything old is new again! And thanks to Mr. Wu, me, too!