Friday, June 25, 2010

A week in the life of a paleo-dieter

What follows is a very detailed account of my life food-wise the last week. My apologies in advance for the length and feel free to skim!

Day 1
"The Beginning"
7:00 AM -- After carb-loading as if I were running a marathon Sunday night and several "but this is the last ice cream I'll have for a week, so I deserve two scoops" scenarios, I start Monday feeling very ready for a nice cleanse of sorts.
7:15 AM -- Breakfast goes off without a hitch. According to most Paleo diet literature (can you call blogs literature?), breakfast is the hardest meal to transition for most people because we tend to eat a carb and dairy heavy breakfast full of toast and cereals and yogurts. For me, breakfast was probably the easiest meal. In the summer, I usually just make a smoothie for breakfast. A few weeks back when I started trying to eat less dairy, I replaced the yogurt and milk in my smoothie with just ice and juice. Normally, I'd toss in a hunk of tofu, but as heavily processed soy was not part of the caveman diet, I just cook a couple of eggs for my protein fix.
11:00 AM -- Feeling peckish, eat a banana.
12:30 PM -- Lunch! The night before I'd prepared some catfish, which turned out okay, but no matter how many other spices were on it--I certainly miss the salt. This will become a theme of the week. I also have an arugula salad with a little homemade grapeseed oil based dressing.
5:15 PM -- Afternoon trip to the farmer's market and Whole Foods yields a healthy bunch of kale, several snacking apples, a jar of almond butter (it would later be one of the week's most profound regrets that I chose the smaller jar), and some lean steak. Hunters and gatherers never had it so easy.
7:00 PM -- Dinner of steak pan "grilled" with some chipotle-based seasoning blend (as luck would have it, I'd happened to have previously purchased, probably erroneously, some salt-free seasoning) and some kale steamed and then sauteed in lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Dinner verdict: needs salt.
7:30 PM -- Dessert "milk"-shake that I'd dreamed up earlier: bananas, coconut milk, a touch of almond butter, a little ice, and some cinnamon. Creamy and delicious!

Day 2
"The Climb"
7:15 AM-- Same breakfast sans eggs (because I realized I'd run out)
7:30 AM-- Decide to make kale chips with some of the remaining kale for a snack later. Put bite-sized kale leaves in the oven with a little olive oil drizzled on them. In 10, minutes they are perfectly crisp chips. For those of you non-paleo dieters out there considering making these for a healthful snack, I would definitely recommend the addition of salt.
10:00 AM-- Already hungry, no doubt because of lack of protein with breakfast. Fix myself up with an apple dipped copiously in almond butter (my nut butter of choice, for the week, now that legumes are out).
1:00 PM-- Meet friend in the park for lunch with my leftover steak and baggie of kale chips in tow. The kale chips grow old after I've eaten about half of them. Again, I think salt could really help here. Friend asks about my food choices and I have to tell her about the diet. I realize another theme of my week is lying to people rather than telling them about my diet because it tends to lead to too many questions, and I feel like I start to sound a little whack-job.
4:00 PM -- Birthday party for friend on the 5th floor at my office. I don't attend, but due to my ravenous sugar gorging in the past, my absence is noticed. I receive a concerned message from someone upstairs promising me there are more cupcakes left. Rather than get into the whole thing, I lie and say I have too much work. I eat a banana to console myself.
7:00 PM -- Dinner: I still have some leftover steak (as someone who normally eats almost no red meat, I wonder if this will have the biggest impact on my dietary change this week), so I toss it on a salad with some avocado and spinach with a lime juice based dressed. Tastes like a breezy (saltless) summer!
8:00 PM -- For dessert, a more experimental smoothie: Because I have half of an avocado left and have heard that is sometimes used to add creaminess to ice cream, I throw that in along with the coconut milk for a base. I add peaches, bananas, and strawberries for flavor. Verdict: kind of tastes like avocado, but not still pretty good.

Day 3
"The Decline"
7:00 AM -- Smoothie and a side of scrambled eggs.
8:15 AM -- Every week someone on our floor is given $20 from the company to buy bagels for the floor. The girl whose week it was this week was away on conference, so she'd asked me if I'd switch with her. I couldn't say no, which is how I end up purchasing and setting out delicious bagels and scones for the consumption of everyone but myself. I'd brought along a kiwi and banana to get me through this first real trial.
10:00 AM -- Receive instant message from yesterday's birthday girl reminding me that there are still cupcakes available. She gives more details than my friend from yesterday: they are mini red velvet cupcakes from the Cupcake Truck. I tell her I'll try to stop by later, and then eat a spoonful of almond butter straight from the jar to steel my resources not to.
12:30 PM -- Lunch is broiled salmon with a little lemon juice and garlic and a spinach salad.
1:00-4:00 PM -- A blur of fruit and almond butter consumption.
7:30 PM -- For dinner I make a "chicken satay" which basically ends up being (surprise, surprise) under-salted chicken with an almond butter based sauce. I make a little more steamed kale to accompany it. I decide I really don't like kale. For dessert, I make a blackberry cobbler, a recipe I found on this handy blog: Lesson learned: you cannot make an edible cobbler without sugar and salt. No, not even if you add a "drizzle of honey." Probably one of the more disappointing meals of the week.
9:00PM -- Near breakdown is kept at bay by a strawberry kiwi smoothie.

Day 4
"Liquid Cheating"
7:15 AM -- Breakfast is the usual smoothie. I know this sounds boring, but I do mix it up with different fruits every time. I think this diet would be next to impossible to accomplish in the winter.
8:00 AM -- Pile up a distressing amount of Tupperware into my tote bag. I'd promised to meet a friend who's moving for a drink after work and don't want to be tempted by bar foods.
10:00 AM -- Tragedy strikes when I realize I've depleted my almond butter reserves. Sulk through a plain apple instead.
12:00 PM -- Because most of the higher ups are gone at a sales conference, my floor decides to go out to Olive Garden for the unlimited soup, salad, and breadstick lunch. I don't find this too great a temptation to resist and tell them I have to meet a friend for lunch. To validate the lie, I meet up with a friend on another floor to eat my leftover chicken satay and salad. Friend also asks a lot of questions about the diet, and I realize I don't like talking about it that much (except on my blog, of course!).
5:00 PM -- Dinner of salad with avocado and a little more red meat eaten at my desk.
5: 30 PM -- Meet boyfriend (who I should point out was kind enough to mostly follow this diet with me this week) and his friend from high school for a couple of glasses of wine. His friend points out the nitrates in wine are probably just as bad as refined sugar. On the paleo diet, alcohol is considered something of a gray area (they would have had access to fermented fruit, right?). It is suggested to only imbibe in moderation.
7:30 PM -- Leave and meet friend who is leaving town at a bar in the East Village. I order a beer reasoning, at this point, that somehow fermented grain is okay whereas normal grain isn't. Completely pointless distinction.
8:00 PM -- Friend knows the bartender who keeps refilling my beer. I realize that even though I feel full, proteins don't really do their part to soak up alcohol the way carbs do.
10:00 PM -- Friend orders a pizza and offers me a slice. I pretend I'm too full from earlier. Despite all the liquid cheating, I feel like this is my greatest accomplishment of the night.

Day 5
"The Relapse"
8:00 AM -- Wake up hungover. Planned summer Friday beach trip is pushed back in order to sleep in. I'm coaxed into eating a granola bar (processed, refined sugar-filled, salty, delicious), but as hangover foods go, I could have done worse.
8:15 AM -- Make a smoothie with orange juice, banana, and ice. Drink a fair amount of water
2:00 PM -- Eat a salad. It's too hot in my apartment to make anything else.
5:00 PM -- It's my boyfriend's brother's birthday and the family is going out to dinner. I don't want to skip real occasions because of this diet, so I look online for paleo information about eating out at restaurants. One blog suggests using "unavoidable" dinners out as an opportunity for one of your "intermittent fasting" days and just drink water with lemon in it. Because I'm not psychotic, I immediately discount this option. Another blog offers some sensible advice about choosing well. We're going to a French restaurant though, so it's mostly a moot point. I ultimately decide to just call this meal a wash and order whatever I want.
7:30 PM -- Eating corn meal crusted grouper in a light white wine cream sauce over a bed of asparaus and carrots. I don't even feel guilty.
8:00 PM -- Dessert: one of those chocolate lava cakes with white chocolate ice cream on it. Still no guilt.

Day 6
"A Salty Day at the Beach"
8:00 AM -- Awake to make food for postponed beach plans. I've decided to go ahead and include sea salt in the menu today. My reasoning is threefold: 1) I'm a coastal-living caveperson...wouldn't I have access to sea salt? 2) I don't fully know the science behind it, but when it's super hot (say, at the beach in summer) and you sweat a lot, isn't it important to replenish your salts? 3) This chick does it sometimes:
9:00 AM -- Assemble a cooler with a killer fruit salad (blueberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, bananas, and peaches), some guacamole and plantain chips (just sliced plantains fried in a little coconut oil), and some delicious pecan crusted chicken fingers. The chicken fingers I got from here: She totally redeemed herself for the whole tasteless blackberry cobbler incident. I basically followed the recipe except that I substituted chicken tenders for the whole breasts (reasoning that they would make for easier beach eating). They were delicious even cold (probably due to the addition of sea salt), and I'll likely make them again even when I'm back to eating grains.
11:30-2:30 PM -- Constant gorging on snacks and beach lounging
6:00 PM -- Early dinner of salmon cakes (recipe here: Normally I'm opposed to canned fish because it reminds me too much of cat food, but these things came out pretty tasty.
8:30 -- Fry a banana in hazelnut oil with a touch of cinnamon. Not quite as good as banana fritters, but still a decent dessert.

Day 7
"The End"
10:00 AM -- Breakfast smoothie. Just threw in some of the leftover fruit salad with juice and ice.
12:00 PM -- Lunch of leftover salmon cakes and a small side spinach salad.
3:00 PM -- Start preparing dinner for friends. I should, at this point, admit that I never intended to make it all the way to Monday, and that Sunday night had always been my official end point. I had told my friends I was hosting a dinner party this Sunday long before I decided on this project. And it seemed too cruel to subject people who traveled great distances to eat in my un-air-conditioned apartment to full-on paleo food. That said, to suit various food requirements I did make vegetarian and vegan options. I very nearly made a vegan dessert because my roommate is vegan, but luckily she told me she couldn't come before I bought all the ingredients. I instantly scrapped the whole idea and made a cheesecake.
7:30 PM -- Dinner time. I chose to make pizza because it seemed the easiest thing to make both meat and vegetarian options in. Final menu: pizza with sausage, balsamic caramelized onions, and goat cheese (meat option); margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomato sauce (vegetarian option); pizza with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach, and mozzarella flavored soy product (vegan); Caesar salad with shrimp (brought by a friend); arugula salad with tomatoes and balsamic dressing (vegan); lemon blueberry ricotta cheesecake; almond cake (brought by a friend). Delicious way to end the week.

Okay, so I admit, I didn't really make it the whole way. Also, everything I read said that you shouldn't go cold turkey when starting the diet. I was mostly just interested in seeing how possible this was, and it did seem way more tenable than I would have thought. The main thing I learned was how easy it is to make a lunch before work which, for economic if not health reasons, is certainly worth making more of an effort at. Overall, I didn't really feel that different, but most people say it takes 4-6 weeks to really feel a change in your energy level. I did feel kind of tired this week, which at first I attributed to the diet; however, my roommate felt very tired too despite no dietary change, so now I think it's more because of the heat wave making it very difficult for me to sleep. If you thought this was at all interesting and want to see more paleo diet eating, check out this guy: He did not a week, but a full year of this business. I'm definitely a paleo diet amateur.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did cavemen eat cheesecake?

This week, I'm trying a dietary experiment called the Paleo Diet, after having it recommended to me by a friend who said it was helping her make progress with her physical therapy. Basically, the diet involves eating only that which our Paleolithic ancestors would have had access to before the advent of agriculture: lean meats, vegetables (although not legumes), fruits, nuts, and eggs. The theory is that this is the healthiest possible diet because you're eating what humans have evolved to live on. I'm sort of on board with this theory (here's more info, if you're interested:, at least more than most fad diets. Although I think 10,000 years is probably enough time for our bodies to have come around to the whole cultivated grain thing, I must admit 50 years (or even 50,000) is not nearly enough time for our bodies to figure out how to process atomic fire Cheetos.

Probably not food.

Although I've tried to eat healthier for brief periods of my life (sadly always returning to the warm, transfat-rich embrace of processed foods after a couple of weeks or so), I've never subscribed to a particular diet before. This one seems virtually impossible to maintain fully as a lifestyle choice, mostly because we live in an advanced, modern society which is heavily dependent on agriculture, and especially cereals. However, I thought trying it for a week might be an interesting experiment. And then if it works out, I can try to at least scale back on grains and diary a little. At any rate, I've always wanted to try eliminating refined sugars for a week just to see how it affected me because I feel like sugar is as close to an addiction to something as I've ever had. This diet seems like the only way to actually accomplish this, as sugar is in virtually everything. Secondly, one of my greatest fears is of becoming lactose intolerant, as I eat dairy at basically every meal. However, I'm starting to think that I'm eating a little too much dairy, and learning how to make food without dairy seemed like a worthy endeavor for a week. Thirdly, I thought (and this notion could be way off base), it would make for some interesting blogging.

The good thing about this diet is that you don't have to restrict your fat or carbs at all, so long as they come from plant or animal sources (avocado, lean meats, olive oil, eggs etc). The bad thing is that you can't eat any of the following: dairy, refined sugar (or really any sugar added to things except for honey, and then only in moderation), grains, salt, or potatoes (with the exception of yams).

I've actually been doing the caveman thing since Monday (making this, amazingly enough, day 3). I was going to make a post just at the end of the experience, but I've decided to do it at the halfway point instead (2 1/2 days is halfway through a week, right?). For one, I've been keeping a log of my experiences, and I think it might be too long for a single post. Secondly, I need to post it here so that I have some accountability to actually finish this thing. If I know I have people expecting a post on this, it will make me less likely to cave on the fourth day. So tune in this weekend (or Monday...whenever I get around to actually posting) to see me do it up hunter-gather style. There will be whining. There will be pointless revelations about the American diet. There will be recipes for kale chips. Make sure to stop by!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A tomb of our own

A dear friend and reader of this blog, Deepsnaps, visited me over the weekend. Naturally, with an out of town guest in my midst, I had a perfect excuse to do all the New York tourist things that I pretty much do anyway, but sometimes forget about. And what's the one tourist spot you think of when you think of New York City? Thaat's right--Grant's Tomb! Located in far upper Manhattan in Riverside Park, Grant's Tomb is, according to the free guidebook I picked up at BEA, the largest tomb in North America. And to think I'd never been there! Which frankly is rather surprising considering I spent the first month I lived in New York being unemployed and doing basically every free tourist thing there is.

But what were my impressions of the final resting place of our 18th president (and his lovely wife Julia, who affectionately called him "Ulys")? Well really, I think the beauty of Grant's Tomb speaks for itself:

Have you ever seen a more beautiful tomb? Or a larger one? Certainly, not in North America you haven't! Also, I don't know if Deepsnaps would be cool with me publishing photos of her here for all the Internet (you are reading, people-outside-my-immediate-family, aren't you?) to appropriate for their possibly unsavory purposes, so I won't tell you if that's her or not.

The guide book also informed us that in addition to having a nice collection of Civil War memorbilia, Grant's Tomb is the weekend meeting spot of the New York unicycle society. Luckily, we were aware of this in advance.

Grant's Tomb is also home to some of the nicest mosaic art benches I've seen in I don't know how long. Here I was trying for a pose putting my arm around each of these nude gods/goddesses with a lasivious expression. Unfortunately, I realized only later that it looks more like I'm clotheslining them.

Thanks for visiting, Deepsnaps!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ready for the some football!

I've been watching a lot of the World Cup lately. I was reluctant to blog about it because I honestly am just a fair weather soccer fan who only gets excited about it every four years and, even then, watches the games with only a limited understanding. Also, I'm pretty sure none of my readers care. Still, I've realized the World Cup is a lot more fun in New York, no doubt because so many people here are from countries who actually care about soccer. There is such an energy to it. On Tuesday, I could tell the Brazilian team had won just by the raucousness of the party happening in the Brazilian restaurant near my apartment.

I remember the last World Cup, as it was the first one I really took notice of. I was working 10 hours a day at a dead end filing job in the summer before my junior year of college. The property tax place where I worked (6 days a week!) didn't allow us to stream videos, so we would "watch" the games by googling the scores and then constantly refreshing the window to see if they changed. It was so rare that the scores did change, that we would erupt in cheers when it finally happened. It was almost as exciting as actually seeing the goal. This should paint a picture of how bleak that summer was.

This time, due to the South African time difference, most of the games have again been watched during business hours, minused in the corner of my screen. (That I now work at an office job where streaming video is, at the very least, tolerated so long as the work gets done, to me represents how far I've come). Unforunately, this usually means I miss key goals because I'm, you know, actually doing my job. The only game I watched on my own time was the United States/England game on Saturday. I went to the beer garden in Astoria (one of Astoria's most cherished landmarks) for the occasion. I learned that U.S. soccer fans are really annoying. But it was thrilling, and I felt, dare I say, patriotic when England completely screwed up and we got a goal. Better lucky, than good, as one U.S. fan put it.

Before the World Cup started, I called Uruguay to win it. I didn't really know much about the stats, but I always like rooting for an underdog. Unfortunately, I entered a pool with friends who are not such underdog-rooters--they each picked: Argentina, Spain, and Brazil. It now looks like I'll be buying a round of drinks. Nevertheless, the only game I've watched with my team was the one in which they completely pummeled South Africa. I'll admit this was a little hard to watch. Not only do I have something of a soft spot for South Africa (and hate to see them get beaten in their own country's capital), but I felt Uruguay looked a little too much like the big-bad talented team, and not so much the scrappy underdog I'd hoped for. Ah well, I should have gone with my instinct and backed Cote d'Ivoire.

Go team! But try to stay humble in your successes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kingda Ka

This week I had my first "summer Friday" off from work. As such, it seemed like a good idea to celebrate by going to Six Flags in New Jersey. Since school isn't out yet, I reasoned that going on a weekday would make for shorter lines. What I didn't know is that at the end of the school year in New Jersey, busloads of teenagers are trucked in as some sort of end-of-the-school-year reward. My high school never did this, so I guess there are some perks to growing up in New Jersey after all. At any rate, the lines were still reasonably short, but man are teenagers in large groups ever annoying.

The highlight of the park is what Six Flags claims (and wikipedia verifies) is the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world: Kingda Ka. I would have thought Dubai would have been all over that by now, and I wonder how long they'll be willing to be bested in anything by New Jersey of all places. Naturally, Kingda Ka is also the most popular ride in the park, so we waited in line for about an hour for it. Of course, because it reaches speeds of 128 miles an hour, it's also the shortest ride--the entire thing lasting slightly less than 30 seconds. So in terms of a waiting time to ride time ratio--not your best bet. That said, waiting in line is probably part of the experience. You get to watch the ride go about 100 times and wonder time and time again if shooting straight up 45 stories in the air and then plummeting straight back down to the ground is really such a good idea physically or psychologically. Also, the pressence of helpful signs reminding you that sometimes the roller coaster can't quite make it over the top, that this is a perfectly normal occurance, and that the ride is designed to roll safely back down to be relaunched are mildly disconcerting. On the one hand, I realize that it is important to have these signs in the rare event that this happens, so that people don't have heart attacks when the ride starts rolling (safely, of course) back down 45 stories, the way it came. On the other hand, my first thought on reading the sign was: "really? shouldn't it be engineered to make it over, you know, every time?." Not inspiring much confidence in your design, Kingda Ka.

Some mild trepidation aside, I made it to the front of the line and rode the thing. I must admit, despite the shortness of the ride compared to the wait, this was easily the best ride I rode all day. I was going to post a point of view video that some kid, clearly ignoring the safetly warnings to stow all cameras and belongings, took. However, it was, not surprisingly, pretty shakey. Here's something someone firmly resting on the ground took instead:

I was going to try to embed that video, but I realized I don't know how to do that yet. One day, I hope that this blog will be advanced enough to use simple technology. One day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time disolving on the edge of a hot plate

It's amazing to me how quickly the time goes by. I'm less than a month away from my two year anniversary with New York City. Yep, two years ago last July, I was fresh off a plane, lugging a 50-pound box with homemade tape handles into the first sketchy gypsy cab I saw. I had no apartment, no job, and still remembered the sweet (or rather spicy) taste of decent Mexican food at reasonable prices. I don't really celebrate such milestones, but it has inspired me to perhaps start a series of "things I've learned while living here" or some such. When I say "series," I mean I'll probably do it once and then forget about it. But we'll see.

In no particular order, I've learned that:

-Food on trucks doesn't necessarily taste better than food not on trucks, and surprisingly, (especially in the case of novelty, not-frequently-found-on-trucks foods, like cupcakes) you often pay more for it.

-Although it still feels unfriendly and wrong, you can't acknowledge, with even so much as a cursory glance, the existence of people carrying clipboards or fliers. And never, no matter how guilty you feel, give your phone number to the Human Rights Campaign. They will use it. Daily.

-There's always a reason the subway car is empty or near empty. Chances are, you don't want to be on it either.

-The best rice pudding in the country (of all the rice puddings I've tasted, that is) can be found at Rice to Riches. I never even liked rice pudding before going here.

-Having roommates you enjoy spending time with (or at the very least: don't dread coming home to at the end of the day) is absolutely essential. Also, very much related: there are actually some pretty great people on craigslist.

-Just because you can walk through Times Square now, doesn't mean you should.

I have more of these "shouldn't that have been obvious before?"-style truth nuggets, but I should probably save them for later (to see if this does become a series). So farewell for now, fair readers! Me, two years ago. Bright-eyed. Bushy-tailed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hot town, summer in the outer boroughs!

This weekend, I finally made good on my promise to take some pictures of Astoria. I braved the extreme heat and humidity to go tramping out to Astoria Park to get some classic Astorian summer pictures. Mind you, I don't say that I actually took said pictures. The photographs you are about to see can be credited to none other than one of this blog's esteemed readers, Chichi Crankypants. That said, I did brave the heat and humidity to accompany his keener eye for composition. Also, I supplied the camera. I do all this for you, my dear readers; I do all this for you.

Thus without further ado, here is the beginnings of a gallery-worthy photo collage entitled "Summer in Astoria." I'm now officially a photo-blogger!

This is so Astoria. We love our grocery stores here. As you can see, we also enjoy using the plastic bags provided by the store. Luckily, I recently started making a concerted effort to use reusable tote bags to do my shopping. Thus, if I were in this photo, the collective carbon footprint would be ever so slightly lowered.

The heavily Greek population of Astoria makes both for wonderful food and also plenty of random statues of Greek philosophers.

Those Astorians lucky enough to have yards, grow beautiful flowers in them. Those Astorians who can't afford apartments with yards and live on busy avenues, spend our days killing houseplants by over-watering them.

Many know of Manhattan's majestic Flatiron building, but few are aware of Astoria's slightly smaller, though no less noble, doppelganger.

Astoria Park may not have the pedigree of a celebrity landscape architect like Central or Prospect Parks, but what it lacks in prominence, it makes up with: fewer overly fit joggers, less crowds in general, and remarkable proximity to a number of bridges.

See what I mean about the bridges? This particular beaut' was, I'm told, a filming location for the 1973 film classic, Serpico. Standing in this drainage ditch, I walk in the hallowed footsteps of Al Pacino.

Yet another fine bridge! The East River never looked so lovely!

This is the most litter-free sidewalk I've ever seen in Astoria.

One way to beat the heat. The kids that were playing here are off running around with obsenely large water guns. We would have gotten more pictures, but it starts to feel wrong taking pictures of children you don't know.

Some of the delicious bounty of summer! Although, a 24-hour drug store is out of the question, there are not one, but two, 24-hour fruit and vegetable markets on my block.

This concludes the Astoria photo tour. It was actually a lot of fun being a tourist in my own neighborhood. And thanks again to chichi for being my official photo-blog photographer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I used to do instead of writing papers

I went through a James Thurber phase a few years ago. Actually, I've always liked James Thurber, particularly the book The Thirteen Clocks. I remember my mom reading it to me when I was little, and then later when I was much older (because it is a book best read allowed), reading it to peers. When I say "much older," I seriously mean college age. While studying abroad, I even made some like-minded friends who delighted in spending winter evenings drinking tea and reading The Thirteen Clocks as well as other fairy tales allowed together. There's something so exuberant about how Thurber plays with language in that book.

At any rate, following this relaxing study abroad semester of joyful tea drinking and Thurber basking, I was thrust into my final year of college thesis writing and seminar paper completing. Instead of doing any of that, I would pen my own pointless Thurber-esque writings. I found one of them on my computer today while I was trying to avoid doing something else (par for the course). Because one of the requests for this blog was to post some of my writing (although I don't think the person who suggested that actually reads this blog), I'm including some of it--
un-edited, circa 2007 writing--here:

When he was only a dot on the horizon, seen by only Ms. Sarah, the nyctalopic old maid, he was already involved in the fabric of the town because he was already a part of what “might be” which is almost as important as what “would be” and almost as exciting as what “never was.” He became Ms. Sarah’s husband while he was still only a dot on the hill. She saw his gentle stride and knew him to be a kind-hearted old man who would wash her feet in warm salt water in the evening and tell her stories of his travels over the high seas. In her mind, he was also a sailor. He had been from one end of the world to the other a score of times and from top to bottom twice as many. He had seen mermaids eating fish raw with their hands and whales so large you could build a castle (albeit a smaller one) on their backs. He had been to where the people would eat without ever getting fat and grow fat without eating. He had heard the songs of sirens and thought it not as melodic as his mother’s voice singing him to sleep as a child and only slightly more than anything.
As he grew closer to the cottage at the edge of the village where Ms. Sarah stood, by the garden in her yard where she was planting sunflowers and cabbages side by side, she had to give up some of her imaginings about him and replace them with new ones. As his features became apparent, she saw that he was not a sailor at all, but maybe yet some sort of carpenter or wood maker. Where he wouldn’t have stories, at least he’d be reasonably handy around the house. Ms. Sarah considered for a moment the broken door behind her that creaked on its hinges, and when it was thrown open suddenly, like from a gust of wind or a dramatic house guest, made a disagreeable thropping sound not unlike the sound of someone swallowing a hard-boiled egg whole.
She saw that he was a very short old man who walked with a cane and an affected gait that was less of a hobble and more of a limp. It was not the walk of a man feeling his age, for he walked quickly with a jolly spring in his step, but rather the slightly inconvenienced walk of someone who had stepped on a thorn and for whom one foot is tender. He wore a dusty brown suit and a dark brown cape heavy with mud on the ends. He wore atop his head a proper matching brown hat which completed the outfit and made him seem quite the well-dressed little old man. It was a couple more minutes of watching him make his quiet progress toward the village that she saw that his clothes were a thing of patches and that his feet were bare and hardened to stones from many, many miles of walking. His hands were weathered too and had turned to stone out of sympathy for the feet. Ms. Sarah thought regretfully of her aching feet and the bowl of warm salt water and gentle hands. By the time he had reached her door, he was no longer her husband.

So yeah, that was really neither here nor there. As for future posts: astute reader, deepsnaps, suggested I take a crack at this list: I just spent a good 20 minutes pouring over this list and chose my must-try favorites. Unfortunately, I've recently started trying to save money, a (not so surprisingly) difficult task in this city. However, if (and when) I find my way to any of these delicious sandwiches (and with sandwiches such as the Bar Boulard croque monsieur--this seems an inevitability), I promise to write about them in mouth-watering detail.
Believe it or not, despite all the culinary attractions of NYC and the fact that there isn't even a commercial Chick-fil-a franchise open to the public in the five boroughs, this little beauty is number 78.