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The High Cost Of Travel

October 11, 2017

Air travel is terrible. I’m glad that these days I seem to be doing it less and less. And I love that by living in Albany, one can have an international vacation by just hopping into a car.

When I talk about the high cost of travel, I’m not talking about the price of gas or plane tickets.

Really, I’m still thinking about my trip out to Canandaigua last weekend to visit a few regional meat producers. Because there was one thing that happened on the excursion and one discovery upon my return, that extracted a heavier toll than I was expecting.

There’s no thing as a free lunch. I think we all know this. Some kind of price always has to be paid. So I went into this recent New York Beef Council outing with eyes wide open. The funny thing is that the biggest price was extracted during the free lunch.

I have no idea where we were. Presumably it was somewhere around Rochester or Canandaigua. But I wasn’t paying any attention to where the tour van was driving. I was sitting nearby Sara Place Ph.D. She is the Senior Director for Sustainability Research at the Catleman’s Beef Association, and I spent a lot of time talking with her about many of my concerns with the beef industry.

More on that later.

So there we were, driving from farm to farm. We had breakfast before leaving the hotel, but amazingly I was getting hungry. I almost never get hungry. However, when traveling, I wasn’t able to have my typical breakfast of plain yogurt, granola, and nuts. That stuff sticks with me longer than half a bagel and a banana. Fortunately, it was time for lunch.

The Beef Council had picked up roast beef sandwiches for everybody. Of course they did. Except, they got them all at Subway.


It must have been over ten years since I’ve had a Subway sandwich. And I have to say, it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as I thought it might be. The bread had a strange flavor. But more than anything, the sandwich just tasted like nothing. The beef tasted like nothing. The cheese tasted like nothing. The tomatoes. The lettuce. That was a little strange.

At least there wasn’t any artificially colored pickles or extra soybean oil added into the mix. And now I know what people are eating when they queue up for a sandwich at this chain in the food court.

The tragedy of course is that deli roast beef can be so good. I’ve been getting a bit of it lately at Whole Foods, where it’s rare and delicious. Especially when rolled up and dotted with a couple flecks of Maldon salt. Little Miss Fussy and I have been enjoying those treats as afternoon snacks.

Speaking of the family, I discovered the other high cost of this trip upon my return home.

During the spring and summer season of the CSA we occasionally get some gorgeous basil from Roxbury Farm. And to preserve this summer bounty, I’ll make a batch of pesto, seal it in an airtight container, and freeze it for the winter.

Winter can be long. And getting a taste of summer in those cold, dark days, can do a lot to stave off the misery of the season. This year I was able to put away two precious portions of basil pesto to get us through.

When I came back on Sunday night, we were down to one.

Yes, yes, I know that I can always go to the farmers market and pick up some BuddhaPesto. And this year, I may just do that. Which is what kept me from tears at the discovery that half of my precious stash had been depleted in my absence.

For what it’s worth, after the fact Mrs. Fussy felt badly about the incident. She was even the one who suggested that I write about it. And despite it all, I’m still deeply appreciative of her for helping to manage the kids while I spent the weekend away pursuing all kinds of meaty knowledge.

It’s not like she put the cast iron skillets in the dishwasher or anything. There are plenty of people who have horror stories about returning from trips to find their precious foodstuffs missing or cooking tools destroyed.

If you would like to commiserate, please feel free to share.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerosena permalink
    October 11, 2017 11:17 am

    Tell me if I’m misinterpreting, but it sounds like you prepared some food for your family, they ate half of it, and then for some reason felt bad about it? Please tell me you don’t make them walk on eggshells for fear of the guilt they will feel when you nearly shed tears because they presumably ate a delicious meal. Made out of food. That was to be eaten. In their home. Just tell me I’m misinterpreting.

    • October 11, 2017 11:37 am

      We all have precious foodstuffs. For my son, it’s meatballs. His favorite meatballs come from Venda Ravioli in Providence, Rhode Island.

      I would never dream of preparing a meal of those meatballs if he wasn’t going to be around to enjoy them. Those are reserved for family meals when we can all gather around the table, and have them together.

      It’s not about walking on eggshells.

      Just this morning, Little Miss Fussy was feeling badly that her brother was having a breakfast of some of her favorite smoked breakfast sausages. But I assured her that Chester’s is just a short drive away, and we can always buy more.

      The same can’t be said for my pesto from the amazing basil grown at Roxbury. Yes, I made the food the feed the family. But then I stored it away in the chest freezer in the garage with a specific intent. That, by the way, is where we keep most of the special stored frozen goods, like those meatballs I mentioned.

      Mrs. Fussy has special foodstuffs too. Most of the time, those are easily replaceable. However, in those rare instances when they are not, I make sure to steer clear of eating them.

    • October 11, 2017 3:03 pm

      In our house we’re on a modified version of the see food diet: If I can find it, it’s okay to eat it. We have a general idea of each others’ favorite foods but hunger/irrational cravings or a bad day and a need to make something fast can overcome politesse. It’s considered good form to replace if you can, but not essential if you can’t. So I do think you’re wringing your hands overmuch.

  2. October 13, 2017 10:34 am

    I’m so sorry about your Subway roast beef. I just came from a business trip in Buffalo, where I managed to work two beef on weck sandwiches into the schedule.

  3. October 14, 2017 12:32 am

    Now Rob that was truly mean! LOL

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