News flash: two flat tires don’t make for a good bike ride.
Also, surprise, surprise, it can be difficult to successfully get to your destination via bike if you don’t actually know where said destination is.
I know, I’m such a font of knowledge…!
It started with an innocuous but evidently ill-fated plan to eat at 2 Amys in Northwest DC, a place that’s gotten rave reviews and is just a mile up the hill from my boyfriend’s apartment. We hopped on our bikes and had gone about a block when I realized I didn’t have my ID with me, and thinking about how much faster of a biker Kris is, I volunteered him to go back and retrieve it from the apartment.
“Ok,” he shouted after me as I started speeding off (why in such a hurry, self?!), “Just bike up Wisconsin.”
I interpreted that to mean that the pizza place was right on Wisconsin and I’d bike til I saw it. After pedaling and pedaling and pedaling and still no sign of pizza ahead or boyfriend coming up behind me, I realized I must have way overshot our destination. Oops. I turned around and backtracked until I found the restaurant (on a side street), but still no Kris. Obviously, at this point he was biking up and down the stretch of Wisconsin between 2 Amys and his place. This comedy of errors finally came to an end after I broke into his apartment (yes, I lifted up the screen and window of one of the front windows, and hoisted myself – while wearing a dress, naturally – into the living room) to retrieve my phone.
Rather than bike up that bleeping hill again, and since at that point it was 9:30 and we had been biking for an hour and we were starving, we ended up at a burger joint right by the apartment instead. It may have been the most delicious tasting burger I’d ever eaten. I’m conflicted about eating meat (that will have to be a later topic) but I sure do think it’s yummy, and that night it was just what I needed.
Here’s the thing: In my professional life of finding, replicating, sometimes even “creating” recipes, my palate is up for anything. But when the work hat comes off, I fall into old and completely beloved habits… Finding a comfort zone in cooking — any comfort zone — is better than not cooking at all.
After a second biking mishap just a few days later (that whole flat tires thing… I had to abandon my bike on Riverside Drive en route to work, and go back and pick it up at the end of the day), I was ready to cook up some comfort food of my own. Lucky for me, I had pleeeenty of time to brainstorm on my 30 block walk home. I knew it was slim pickings in my pantry, but I was craving something green and preferably cheesy. Enter: mac & cheese, spruced up with the last of a bag of frozen peas.
I used whole wheat pasta and mixed in cheddar and parmesan, plus the peas and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Nothing fancy, but like Bittman says, “…These [examples of comfort food dishes] are all modest but real options, especially when compared to fast food, takeout, and the like.” Aka, my dish > boxed Kraft mac ‘n cheese. And in my (frugal) case, they were also all ingredients I already had on hand.
I still haven’t decided what to do with my gimpy bike, but I ate the pasta leftovers for lunch today and they were still delicious.