Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why My Stomach Hurts This Morning

"A good resolution is like an old horse,
which is often saddled but rarely ridden.”
Mexican Proverb

I found AntiJen's first Food post for NaBloPoMo much more positive than mine. She attacked the challenge with gusto. But then for a girl who buys cat food 200 cans at a time, I'd say gusto is her middle name!

Yesterday I had a bit of a vacation. My sister took over all the household duties from making lunch (and dinner) to discussing Dad's constipation. My sweetie and I took off for St. Augustine with one goal in mind. Well, two actually. The first was to enjoy some time together and the second was to purchase some tea bag holders that I saw months ago and have been unable able to forget. For some reason found I am unable to live without them. [I want to have a tea party and how can I do such without all the table accouterments? Thus the lust for tea bag holders!]

While being with my sweetie was indeed refreshing, I've got to say not much else about the trip was. St. Augustine in the summer is just plain hot, and usually steamy from a storm that is either brewing or just passed over. Walking down crowded St. Georges street with other summer tourists in various stages of tourist garb and sweat really isn't refreshing at all. We got half way down the street, found the items I drove 50 miles (with gas at $4.00/gallon) to get, turned around and headed for home. What does it say about my state of mind that 3 hours in a car can be considered a vacation?

But what's a vacation without food? Isn't the best part of time away eating what one wants without giving thought to calories or pocketbook? We passed up the dripping waffle cones and chocolaty treats that others were wearing in St. Augustine. We ate Subway sandwiches instead of partaking of the famous 1905 salad at the Columbia House restaurant for which my mouth had been watering. Sadly I got so hot, I couldn't even think about food - even yummy, famous food.
After we got home and cooled off we continued our longing for some good Mexican food. Our favorite restaurant closed down a few months ago and we were at a loss as to where to go to get the look and feel of authentic Tex/Mex food. You know, a place where the aroma of lime, tequila, chilies, cilantro, fried corn chips and sizzling fajitas meld into a cloud of taste-tempting delights; where mariachi bands strum twangy guitars and serenade you with Latin love songs.
Much to our delight while letting our fingers walk through the yellow pages we discovered that the original version of our closer-to-home-but-now-gone-forever-favorite Mexican food outpost was still up an running at Jacksonville Beach. Visions of corn chips danced in our heads as we headed East for the 15 mile drive to the beach. Gas schmas. We were still on vacation!

We walked into Campche Bay with our mouths watering. We knew we'd leave not only feeling, but actually, being stuffed to the gills, [do people have gills? I don't think so, but if we did, they would have been overflowing.] yet we didn't care. We nearly kissed our waitress, Sara, when she welcomed us like the long lost patrons we were. We drank only water but gorged ourselves on everything else. To my detriment I ate like I don't have a problem with acid reflux. Living high on the hog [no pun intended but probably appropriate] I topped of the evening's gastronomic delectation with a dish of fried ice cream that must have been kissed by Aztec gods. A little but warm, a lot cold, cinnamon-sprinkled, chocolate-covered, whipped cream topped and cherry studded fried ice cream. Mmmmmmmmm.

After an hour or so of unadulterated gluttony, we faced the hardest part of the night. Standing up. I am sure every chip I ate was stuck between my sternum and stomach. The carbohydrate overload made my feet feel like lead. I needed to walk but couldn't make my legs remember how. My brain was swimming in salsa. We trudged to the car. We made it home and sat in our appointed chairs, looking and feeling every bit the couch potato - or in this case the a couch burrito. Can you imagine how I feel this morning? Let me just say that I believe food hangovers are every bit as painful as alcohol overindulgence.

Gone are the days of spending a lively evening at Murriettas [a favorite Bonita, CA eating and drinking establishment] downing margaritas interspersed with Tequila shooters and a wedge of lime. All this alcohol interrupted only by a handful of corn chips and a scoop of guacamole. But then, that's the way of life isn't it? When we're young we can eat, drink and be merry. When we're old we can still eat and drink, but pay the price unless we do so with a measure of Nexium and Metamucil.

Which brings me full circle. One of the reasons I needed some time away was to put out of my head for a few hours the excretory problems of a man in his 90's. It's not that I am not compassionate. It's just that, well ... I needed a different point of view .. my own!

Merry Me
July 2: Mexican Wedding Cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes)
1 cup butter or margarine
½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup finely chopped nuts*
Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour and salt together blend in. Mix in nuts. Chill dough.

Heat oven to 400 degrees (mod. hot). Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. (Cookies do not spread.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set, but NOT brown. While still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again. Makes about dozen 1” cookies.

*I usually use pecans because that’s what we have an abundance of at Christmas time.
Note: DO not use self-rising flour in this recipe.
Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book
A Complete Collection – for all Occasions, for Every Taste, Golden Press Copyright 1963, pg 25

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