I am starving.I get that way on business trips to far away time zones that mess with my blood sugar. This is typically any trip that takes me more than an hour outside of Pacific Standard Time.I managed to not eat much while in Orlando, Florida, mostly because while Disney knows how to animate and to market, they cannot cook their way out of a Rescue Ranger sequel.For the most part, the hotel I stayed at for a trade show had horrific food and that is meant kindly.Even if they had picked up the call to room service which they often did not even an hour or more prior to room service closing, it was not worth eating.I had one marginally decent meal and I had to shell out $52 to get into Epcot Center to get it.Then, onto Munich, where this slightly hypocritical vegetarian was not interested in most of the food.Cheese plates from the Hilton Hotel, sure, but little else.German food is clearly not my thing.
Once in Paris however, I made up for lost culinary time as well as excess calories.There is nothing like Paris to awaken one’s culinary senses as well as one’s taste buds.Paris you may recall, is actually where I got my sense of taste back after chemo.Trust me, after chemo you really will get your appetite and sense of taste back, it just takes some time.For me, in case some of you survivors/new readers were wondering, it took about four and a half months post chemo before everything started tasting ‘normal’ again.I bit into a plain, ordinary baguette while walking down the street, literally in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and viola!The taste of warm, freshly baked bread filled my mouth and I could taste not only the baguette but Paris itself.I stopped dead in my tracks, stupefied and excited.I wanted to scream to the world, “Heyeveryone I can actually taste this!!” Instead, I hurried back to the hotel to feast on the gems I’d bought and called my BFF. I had not been that thrilled in a very long time and it gave me genuine hope that I was really starting to recover.May every cancer survivor experience a similar moment of gastronomic joy.
But back to this trip.Having arrived in Paris on a frigid Saturday afternoon, totally exhausted, I lay down in my room for a nap and when my stomach harkened, I bundled up and wandered down the street to buy what I could.
The totally cool thing about Paris is that on every street there are always a handful of little markets and a decent bakery or boulangerie.There you can get your daily baguette as well as tiny sweet filled tartlets and various delicious pastries.I remain thankful that they are no such institutions near my house or I would truly be as big as my house.But in Paris, after walking miles every day I never seem to gain weight and I really do indulge.My favorite food in the entire world being of course, any kind of French cheese.I can buy the absolute best at any local Parisian market and when in Paris, I do.I find a simple meal of bread, cheese and wine absolute perfection to my taste buds.I try and do it every chance I get, eschewing fancy French restaurants. Give me some Fromage and a baguette any day and I’m good.This past trip, I managed to do this almost all weekend long.It was heaven.I even found the energy to buy food on my way back from an exhausting day at the Louvre.Sitting on my hotel bed, a bathroom towel serving as a tablecloth and a glass of simple French wine to warm me from the bitter cold and assuage my aching thighs, it was heaven.I actually only ate out once this past trip while in Paris, a lunch that was Italian which was an odd choice since I was headed to Milan that very evening.But pasta is a good thing.A modest plate full can smooth out jumpy blood sugar long enough for me to get to my next port of call and sustain me through a night’s sleep without wanting to rip someone’s head off.For me, low blood sugar is that kind of hunger, theget out of my way before I beat you over the head, I see a cookie in that four year old’s grubby little hands, sort of hunger. I do not have this happen very often but it is the reason I suffer the pitiful existence of power bars, the so-called cardboard-y food fuel that is an affront to every decent chef the world over.They too, can keep me from chewing through my luggage tags and I will admit that is what I mostly subsisted on while in Orlando which surely has better food than what Mickey and Minnie had to offer. Someone tried to convince me that the food at the Coronado Springs Hotel was actually aimed at kids.My response was to point out that with the exception of the occasional bagel, I would not feed my kid or grandkid the garbage they claimed passed as food.I’d rent an apartment and slave over a seriously hot stove making three square a day before I’d feed my family the kind of food that hotel had to offer.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect Orlando to be Paris though you can find a rather silly replication of The City of Lights at Epcot Center.I do, however, expect marginally decent food and that was in very scarce supply.Sub-zero Munich and heavy German fare were looking better and better. Until of course my trip brought it home by taking me to Milan, Italy where suddenly, magically, my blood sugar smoothed out, I was not hungry and I fell in love with a raw artichoke salad that I am scheming to master upon my return home.Which brings me to my point, the famed epicure and gastronomeJean Anthelme Brillat-Savarinwas oft quoted as saying, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”
If this is even remotely true, I must be…wait for it….the head cheese.