Like many social media denizens slash foodies, I like to take pictures of my food. Mostly these turn out decent, but I learned yesterday that it is virtually impossible to make split pea soup look even remotely palatable. Regardless of how delicious it might taste, it’s going to resemble something regurgitated by a baby. Case in point:
Trust me when I say it tasted much better than it looked. I had never made split pea soup before, but because Tara was partying it up with her friends on the Oregon coast, I took advantage of her absence by making myself food that she would never eat. Considering she’s such a picky eater all I really had to do was throw open the pantry, but I digress.
So this was a smoky ham and split pea soup that simply cooked in the crockpot all day. I topped it with a dollop of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (who needs sour cream, anyway?) and a dash of smoked paprika. Good stuff! I’m assuming I’m not the only one who eats things they otherwise would not when their spouse or significant other is out of town? Feel free to weigh in on that (and share your go-to solo indulgence if you’re so inclined).
I missed my wife, but made sure to keep busy over the long weekend. I took Friday off and drove to the Oregon coast for a hike up Neahkanie Mountain. The view from the summit was breathtaking, despite the thick cloud cover.
After that I drove to Cannon Beach, where I proceeded to set up my beach chair and kick back with a magazine. Well, that lasted all of ten minutes, because it was cold as hell and started raining. So I returned to my car, changed into warmer clothes and a jacket, and walked past Haystack Rock and back. Because, why settle for a five-mile hike when you can add a three-mile walk to the mix?
By then it was approaching dinnertime, so I drove half an hour south to Garibaldi. My destination? The Ghost Hole, a little dive-bar some coworkers told me about. I was a little intimidated when I first walked in because the place was clearly inhabited by locals, but I grabbed a seat by the window, ordered a Bloody Mary and a cheeseburger, and settled right in. Ended up staying for a couple more drinks before leaving. I thought I’d stroll around town for a little while afterwards, but it was dark, rainy, and cold. Too bad – I found Garibaldi to be quite charming. Tara and I will have to come back and do some exploring.
Saturday, I spent the afternoon strolling through the Hawthorne District, my favorite Portland neighborhood. Browsed through a couple of vintage stores and bought records from the used record shop we frequently frequent. Is that redundant? Oh, well. Sunday was more relaxing, though I did walk to Target in pursuit of a pair of gloves, a strange (and ultimately fruitless) mission considering it was sunny and 80 degrees. Hey, fall – come back! I made the aforementioned soup for dinner and ended up watching a documentary on Netflix called Fed Up. Fascinating look at America’s obesity epidemic and the proliferation of Type 2 diabetes in people of all ages. It was very eye-opening, and made me feel genuinely sorry for the handful of kids chronicled in the doc. All were morbidly obese and wanted to get healthy, but were having difficulty thanks to many obstacles in their path, such as:
- Soft drink lobbyists testifying before Congress that soda is not unhealthy and is, in fact, part of a balanced diet.
- School lunch programs that are reliant on exclusive contracts with fast-food chains.
- Food manufacturers making up the lack of flavor in their reduced-fat items by doubling or tripling the amount of sugar.
- Companies targeting kids through false and misleading advertising.
- Parents enabling their own children by buying junk food or products they erroneously believe to be healthy.
It’s somewhat maddening. Take the whole school lunch thing. It boggles my mind how different things are now from when I was a kid. Not only are there vending machines in the hallways; my daughter can order Taco Bell, Burger King, Pizza Hut, or Subway for lunch. In the cafeteria. WTF? We got choices, too: eat or don’t eat. That was it.
It was also interesting to see old commercials featuring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble smoking Winston cigarettes. And then they cut to the present day, where Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble are peddling sugar-laden Fruity Pebbles cereal.
Based on my own personal experiences, I already know that sugar is evil. This documentary really drove the point home. I highly recommend it to anybody interested in learning more about nutrition and how the “American diet” is contributing to so many serious health issues.