God willing, I’m not going anywhere any time soon, so I don’t have a bucket list in the traditional sense. However, I am turning 30 this year, and when one of my best friends suggested we do a 30th Birthday Bucket List, I immediately loved the idea.
This was at the end of last summer, around August-ish. There are a number of folks we know who are turning 30 this year or who have already turned 30 this year. So we put together some fun categories that we could each pick something from to embrace and bid farewell to our 20s.
I won’t bore you with all the categories now– there are 10– but I will talk about them as I cross them off the list. Even though we set this up over 6 months ago, it’s been slow going for me to really start crossing things off.
I enjoyed my 20s tremendously, and I’m really looking forward to my 30th birthday. Even though I chose bucket list items that pushed my comfort zone, I still had to dig to find the motivation to just make it happen.
But enough about my 20-something hesitancy, let’s talk about what I’ve actually done (or rather, tried to do).
One of the categories is Culinary Exploration. This category came out of the idea that we all have some food item we were afraid to try. Your 20s is a time where you embrace new experiences and expand your horizons. It’s kind of hard to expand your horizons when there are things you won’t even try.
For me, culinary exploration only had one option: tofu/soy. I decided to find one tofu/soy item that I could truly enjoy and maybe even love.
I have tried tofu on many occasions, with several cuisines, in multiple countries. My mouth just no likey.
One or two (or five) had experiences with it, and I had given up. I lived in a world where soy sauce was the only soy product to cross my lips. I’ve never tried soy milk, I can barely swallow tofu of any kind.
I hated feeling defeated by food. I’ll eat pretty much anything. Except white sweet potatoes from Asia or the Caribbean. I just don’t like that grainy texture, yuck. I’m a texture person, and there’s no saving that awful veggie.
But tofu was a different story. People who eat it talk about its ability to take on whatever you want to give it. Grilling, frying, baking, etc. it supposedly has a lot of options.
In my experience tofu just always tasted like flavorless powdered scrambled eggs. No matter how they cooked it. But upon further review, I realized the majority of the way I’ve tried it is sautéed in Asian food.
Since tofu/soy ended up on my 30th Birthday Bucket list, I’ve tried. I ordered a tofu roti, which is a delicious dish from Trinidad at this amazing West Indian restaurant. I mentioned it in a previous post. I got the tofu on the side, and while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, which is a huge step forward.
I’m thinking if I could get it cut into even tinier pieces, kind of like how I get Easy to eat tomatoes and onions, I could maybe make it work.
I’m not giving up on soy yet though. I think my next attempt is soy milk. Maybe I’ll love it and then I’ll be done with this bucket list item.
I’m not holding my breath, but I”m also not giving up.
You hear that soy? I’m not giving up.
At some point soon, I’ll talk about the second 30th Birthday Bucket List item I tackled, which is reality TV. I never watch reality TV that’s not a competition (i.e., American Idol and Dancing with the Stars), but I went there.
Three words. Bad. Girls. Club.
Last month, I started talking about the series of articles in the New York Times they are calling Wine School. I was pretty excited about participating, and so far it’s been amazing.
Last month was Bordeaux. This month is Beaujolais, which is currently en route to my house for much more than I wanted to pay in shipping. I’m hoping next month’s wine is found locally. Cross your fingers for me.
Before I even get to April’s wine, I have to talk about what an experience March was.
Bordeaux is tannin-ful wine. A quick trip to Wikipedia will tell you about tannins. The short version is drinking something with tannins in it feels like your mouth is dry.
Then they pour sand into your dry mouth.
Then swallowing feels difficult.
Then they add more sand.
Then they let your tongue bake in the sun until it feel like a raisin. Not a juicy raisin though.
Then they add more sand.
At least that’s how I felt with my very first sip of the wine.
But Eric Asimov is a genius and thought to warn lesser-than wine drinkers such as myself to prepare for that reaction.
So I let it happen, and leaned into the feeling. After the sandy moment passed, I felt thirsty, so I took another sip. And another, and another.
At this point, I felt like a character in The Phantom Tollbooth, you know, the one eating subtraction soup, so I stopped drinking and started eating.
I prepared pretty much the exact meal I wanted to prepare to go with this wine. Delicious and mouth-watering red meat really is the perfect accompaniment to this wine.
I used a recipe, also found in the New York Times, for a great skirt steak recipe. I’ve used it again since that first night, and the steak is always flavored perfectly.
Easy and I had a delicious dinner that night, but honestly, I only liked the wine, I didn’t love it.
When I got home from work the next night, I poured myself another glass.
Things had improved. I went from feeling only dry and nothing else to feeling good.
The wine was now fruity, though I couldn’t tell you which fruit I tasted. It was still dry, but now enjoyably so. I suddenly wanted a hunk of cheese to enjoy with it.
I’m not sure how much wine you should pour into one glass while drinking at home, but we never get more than 4 glasses of wine out of a bottle. That meant with dinner the first night, and my glass the second night, there was one left.
I decided to leave it for the third day.
It was even better the third day. The tannins I was cursing on day one were now good friends. They encouraged me to eat mouth-watering foods that were rich and full of flavor.
And when I finally finished the bottle, it was with regret. I missed it already. There was no way I was buying another bottle of this same wine, the cost was prohibitive for me.
So instead, I dreamed about the wine like a summer-only boyfriend from camp. Wondering if he’d think of me like I would think of him once we were forcibly parted.
I went the next day to my Midtown Manhattan wine guy and had him select another Bordeaux for me to try. I had to try to move on. I was hoping recommended Bordeaux wines were as interchangeable as summer flings
Luckily, the second Bordeaux was also good. Actually it was great. And it confirmed for me that I’m now a Bordeaux drinker, like officially.
So now I’m a Bordeaux drinker. I think it is my favorite red wine for now.
But April is almost over, and I will have to see if this month’s Beaujolais can take the place of Bordeaux. It’s low in tannins though, so the frenemy-turned-best-friend wine ingredient that I have come to love won’t get to play a role in this month’s food drama. I guess we’ll see what happens.
Can I just say, things have been so crazy at work that I’ve been trying to write this post for a month? I never have time to finish it and just click publish. If only I had more time to post at home.
I know I’m overdue to post my pictures of my progress. To be honest, I just don’t see much progress. Maybe it’s because my eating habits haven’t improved as much as they should. I’ve cut out carbs that come from flour and white potatoes, but that’s about it.
I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating mostly home cooked food. It’s when I don’t have time to cook that things go awry. Vending machine food is the enemy!
Sometimes, I run to Wal-Mart and grab some groceries to make myself some easy lunch or breakfast. This usually means salad fixings. And that leads to the point of this post.
After doing Tracy Anderson cardio one day, I was starving. I felt weak and knew I needed to eat something, like NOW. I rushed to put together a good salad, with bacon of course. Because I purchased all the good salad fixings, I needed a good salad.
That involved heating up the bacon slices and making my own fresh bacon bits, getting shredded cheese, shredded carrots, and dried cranberries. And it also involved cutting up an apple for which I neglected to bring an appropriate knife. So I grabbed one in the employee lounge.
Next thing I know, I slipped and cut myself.
With a plastic knife.
I didn’t even know they were sharp enough to do that. I guess it was because I was eating a Fiji apple. those things are quite firm and required a lot of applied pressure to cut. As I watched my finger begin to bleed, I contemplated stopping the salad preparation.
But I was just so damn hungry.
So I grabbed a napkin to press against the cut and kept slicing the apple. I have to tell you, it was so worth it because that salad was delicious. And I had the whole time I was eating to contemplate how in the hell I managed to cut myself with a plastic knife.
Eventually, my hunger subsided enough so that I could properly clean and bandage my finger. The problem is that I do a ton of typing at work, and not just my never-ending attempts to put out a new blog post.
Imagine trying to type with a hurt and bandaged finger, feeling all the worse because your dumb ass cut yourself with a plastic knife.
Because I like to learn from my mistakes, this led to better meal planning so I’m not so ravenous when I finish working out. I’m still super hungry, but not so much that I will literally let myself bleed just so I can eat some food.
It’s different working out at work compared to at home. At home, I can just turn on the shower, throw off my clothes, go grab some food. I can do all that in any order. At work it’s a very clear order. I can’t exactly walk around the building in my workout gear so I can grab a pre-shower snack.
So now I try to eat and apple or banana 30 min before I work out. And I have something for lunch that I can start to munch on while whatever else I’m preparing the rest of my food. And so far, I haven’t cut myself again yet.
With a plastic knife.