A Taste of Home

28 Jul
Home of many tasty things.

Home of many tasty things.

Right now I’m in the middle of what I’m calling a three-city tour. It started with Chicago and hanging out with the Carters and a few of my Chi-town friends. Now I’m back in my hometown of St. Louis (STL, dog!) to visit friends and family before going to Boston for a conference.

Going on vacation means taking a break from your routine. My routine is work-gym-home. Sometimes it’s run-work-grocery store-home. It keeps me focused on maintaining my fitness level and not getting too distracted in a city full of distractions. Vacation throws all of that out of the window.

When I go to Chicago, I always get Garett Popcorn. I prefer the mix of caramel and cheddar popcorn, but others just like plain butter. Doesn’t matter because is good old corn sullied by sodium and corn syrup. And it’s delicious. An entire bag is probably my daily allotment of calories, but when I have it, I’m in heaven.

Next comes home. Let me explain to you a few things about St. Louis food: my dad makes the best smoked barbecue ever, you’ve never had good Chinese food until you’ve had it at ahometown hole in the wall, the best White Castle on the planet is smack dab in the middle of the hood, and no one makes a thin-crust pizza like Imo’s.

None of this is good for me: we coat our barbecue in sauce in St. Louis, filling ourselves with overprocessed tomato sauce; the Chinese food is full of MSG and sodium; and the White Castle is…White Castle.

I hadn’t been home in almost a year, so I have to get my fill of the good stuff while I’m here. But I’m going to have to work even harder to maintain some modicum of restraint around my hometown comfort foods.

I learned this lesson in Rio. We were eating all the wrong things and laying out on the beach everyday. One day we were out for lunch and found a spot with a salad bar. We thought we were in heaven. Leafy greens, tomatoes, beets, carrots, balsamic vinegar. It was like an angel chorus was singing to us as we filled our plates.

That’s what’s probably going to happen as I begin the third leg of my tour in Boston. I’ll have to cleanse myself with steamed vegetables, baked fish and snackable cashews. But in the meantime, I’ll have my running shoes with me. A lot of my folks back home have started working out again. I’ll be surrounded by people who are taking active care of their health, so I won’t be led too far astray.

Ten years ago, not many of us were taking good care of ourselves. Sure, there were a few who’d maintained their high-school athleticism. But a lot of us let our slovenly ways take over. I’m glad that I’ve stayed in contact with such hard-working people who want to do better for themselves.

If you live away from your hometown, what’s your go-to comfort food? How do you reconcile your desire for a taste of home with your need to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

3 Responses to “A Taste of Home”

  1. Ingrid July 28, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    I will be having all of the Above and Some Red Hot Ripples!!!

    • cicelyd July 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

      I know that’s right!


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