When You Are Hungry You Eat
Most people don’t go out for three lunches in one day. Nor do they regularly indulge in second breakfast. Recently Little Miss Fussy and I passed some time at the counter of my favorite diner on a little father-daughter date. But we had both eaten just a couple hours before. So we didn’t order a lot of food, just a couple of things to tickle our fancy.
I’m not like most people, and that’s fine by me.
Although sometimes people confuse me. Take for example the food lover who happens to be in Troy and checks into Dunkin’ Donuts. Troy just isn’t that big. On the north side of town you have Bella Napoli with their pillowy yeasted donuts and crisp cake ones (just avoid their glazed). A bit to the southeast is The Cookie Factory with its light as air glazed donut with a crackling coating brightened with a hint of citrus. Over the river to the southwest is Schuyler Bakery that has been making the same old-time donuts since before I was born (while I’m not the biggest fan, this style has its backers).
The point is that regardless of where you are in Troy, you can’t be further than five minutes away from a great freaking donut. And donuts are one of those foods that are so bad for you, so loaded in fat, sugar, and refined flour, that if you are going to eat one, it best be delicious.
But this person was hungry and said, “When you are hungry, you eat.” I’m not convinced.
Above I’ve already talked about the inverse of this, because I eat when I’m not hungry all the time. Sometimes it’s for the sake of science. Occasionally I just want to get a certain flavor out of my mouth. Other times it’s for sheer comfort, like that guilty slice of Buffalo chicken pizza I had earlier this week.
When hunger hits and there is no good food around, what do I do? I wait.
Not everyone can do this. Mrs. Fussy can’t. When her blood sugar falls, she needs to get food into her quickly, otherwise she (and others like her) become rather insufferable at an alarming rate. And for some it’s a medical necessity.
But not for me. Short term hunger doesn’t bother me that much. If I was really hungry and I knew I could have a mediocre taco right away or wait thirty minutes to have some exceptional ones, I’d choose waiting without hesitation. Maybe it’s because I eat something for breakfast. Or perhaps it has something to do with my acceptance of snacking.
This isn’t to say that I don’t get hungry. I do.
Some days I lose track of time, and don’t get around to eating a proper lunch. On those days I end up not eating until the mid-afternoon, and, famished, will eat a few handfuls of nuts, usually standing up. And those days are the worst.
I generally gauge the quality of my days by the quality of my lunch. Those days that I’m able to sit down to something amazing at a proper time, and am really able to enjoy are it, are great and make life worth living. The days where I end up eating nuts I find totally demoralizing.
I’ve even found myself on days when I’ve inadvertently skipped lunch walking by a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Subway. And with my stomach rumbling, I still don’t pop in for a disgusting sandwich or a fried dough ball that is a donut in name only. Actually, on that particular day I stepped into the CVS for a bag of SmartFood to hold me over until I could get to my nuts at home.
Luckily I’m fortunate enough to know that a sensible dinner will be had at the end of the day with my family. It may not be gourmet, or terribly relaxing, but it is almost always delicious and wholesome.
My lapses, the errant stops at places like McDonald’s, are not moves of desperation resulting from hunger. Rather they are calculated decisions while on the highway or providing a small treat for a couple of kids who deserve some passing semblance of normalcy in their lives.
So yeah, you’ll find me at Taco Bell with my Fresco-style bean burrito and a kid or two in tow. I could even conceive of a situation where I would take a kid to Dunkin’ once in a blue moon.
But you only have so many meals to eat in this life. They can’t all be spectacular. But if there’s a choice to wait a few minutes for something better or take the lousy thing that’s right in front of you, I hope you have the patience to hold out. I assure you, it will be its own reward.