I'm in the middle of reading Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes. It's a memoir-style account of a couple's purchase and refurbishment of an ancient Italian house on five acres of fruit orchards and olive trees. 50% of the story recounts the couple's efforts to renovate and beautify their property. The other 50% is all about food.
There are plum trees on the property. The market sells hand-made cheeses made from the milk of angelic cows. The couple throw handfuls of wild mushrooms and arugula over mounds of spaghetti sprinkled with parmesan and eat it on the terrace in the shade of overgrown pear trees. That kind of thing.
I'm trying to think of a way to segue from Italian locavorism to my diet, but I can't do it. There's no way. The two have nothing in common. I'll put it this way: there are some foods that I enjoy as much as Frances Mayes enjoys her home-made peach confiture, but my foods are not so poetic.
I discovered that my local grocery store offers fresh bean burritos (made with cheese and salsa, and served with a tiny tub of sour cream), 2 for $6. Good deal, eh? Steam up some fresh veggies, microwave a burrito until the cheese melts, and there's dinner. I buy them anytime I'm in the store and they've been freshly made. (That's around once a week.)
The other, slightly further-away grocery store makes a quiche florentine that I'm partial to. Since I can't share it was lactose-intolerant Ken (darn, what a shame!), I get the whole pie to myself. (I don't eat it all in one sitting - that would be gross.) I manage to bring home a quiche just about every other week.
I try not to rely too heavily on prepared foods. But when work has been harsh and I'm super-hungry before I even get home, my dinner of last resort is toaster chicken. I buy these frozen rectangles of processed chicken, approximately the size and shape of Pop-Tarts. They go into the toaster, where they sizzle, spit, set off the smoke alarm (sometimes) and drip grease onto the kitchen counter (always). They're probably not the most healthy thing one could consume, but they're quick and simple. Throw some veggies or fruit alongside them, fill up a bowl with organic, low-sodium corn chips, and you have a dinner that can pass, even if it won't win any awards.
So that's mainly what I'm eating these days. What do you think - should I try harder in the kitchen, or does your dinner menu make me look like a domestic expert?