Blog, Essays & Art

Duck! 03/24/05

Walked to the Natural foods store during lunch break. Upon leaving the building I work in I am assaulted by the mouth-watering scent of fried chicken from the KFC across the street. Venturing down the sidewalk, I pass by: Burger King, the falafel place, Carl’s Jr., the Chinese place, Subway, Marie Callender’s, Chili’s, Lyon’s, the deli, a local diner, McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins, Little Caesar’s pizza, and last but oh so very certainly not least, the doughnut shop. Graghh! I had no idea that my idea of a walk would entail such torture.

At the store I quickly remember that Natural does not necessarily mean Healthy or Low-Cal. And it also often means expensive.  I survey the ready-to-eat section, and pick up a little plastic container of shredded dark green vegetation floating in oil. The label reads “Korean Spinach Salad” and for $3.75 I can have ½ cup of greens accompanied by 3 tablespoons of oil… no, don’t think so. Okay, next: burritos. I imagine myself eating a burrito while walking down the street back towards work. But they all seem to be 30% tortilla, 60% rice and/or beans and 10% actual tasty bits. Bleh.

I head towards the produce aisle and look disparagingly at the raw, small and dusty and shriveled, “fresh” organic fruits and vegetables. Not much selection here… Apples? Oranges? Boring. $5.49 for a handful of blueberries? Gahh. Never mind. Meat and cheese section… oooh. Gourmet cheese Mecca!!! Yikes, even if there’s a decent amount of calcium, it would be so much grease to eat a block of holy-shit pesto-enhanced cheddar. Definitely not going to help my complexion. Ah, well. Tempting, but not today… But what’s this here? ROAST DUCK! One of my favorite foods, ready-cooked, .41 lb… let’s see, that’s about 7 oz. and duck’s about 45 calories an ounce, so between 300 and 400 cals. Perfect. Greasy, yeah, but damn, it’s duck oh how I love duck. And here’s the weird natural drinks section. No diet coke here, heee. Anything diet other than the obligatory Hansen’s soda? Hmm. Nothing appealing. But what’s this iced tea thing with the picture of a panther on the label? Aww, little snarly panther! Gotta have it. Okay, I’m still lacking in any sort of vegetable. Hmm. I guess I could manage something pre-cooked or marinated that comes in a little jar, plenty of that Gourmet shit around here… yeah, roasted red peppers. Perfect.

I bring my purchases up to the counter. I notice the clientele of this store bustling around me. They’re kinda scary. Like if the Deadheads that hang out downtown begging for spare change suddenly won the lottery. Unravelling misshapen sweaters made of organically-ranched Peruvian alpaca and German mountainclimber’s sandal-clogs, 100% raw silk Hammer pants the color of tie-dyed lentil stew and Kate Spade bags stuffed full of radishes. Most of the men look like gaunt sun-leathered 50 year-old goats who might start preaching at any second about the evils of fossil fuels, and the women look like a pale, sunken-eyed Kathy Bates in one of those Earth Mother roles, when she’s about to whip out the tarot cards.

I pay (gulp) $9 for a small two-item lunch and a bottle of iced tea. I walk back to work, climb the stairs up past my office to the roof of the building, where I sit in wind-blown solitude to eat my treasures. The tea is amazingly delicious. Better than any Snapple, and it says it’s “energizing.” Could sure use some energy today. Too bad it has 196 calories a bottle. I use my Hello Kitty tweezers to open the sturdily vacuum-packaged roast duck. I realize there’s a layer of fat on the meat, I rip it off. This is some blissfully good duck, oh, yes. I chomp the meat down and open the jar of peppers. They are quite yummy for the first 3 or 4 slices but then sorta not flavorful enough and by the last bit in the tiny jar I’m forcing myself a little to finish them, the slimy texture is getting in the way of trying to appreciate the mild flavor.

I gather up the empty packages and my book and, wiping my greasy sticky fingers and face clean on the hem of my long black sweater, I descend back to my office. A very unusual 670 calorie lunch. Lots of good protein, potassium, iron, more than the recommended daily amount of Vitamins A and C. Perhaps variety like this will keep me from binging on the all-too-likely-to happen 1200 calorie lunches at Burger King. Or at least keep me from moaning about depriving myself of tasty things as I attempt to eat small amounts of healthyish stuff. However I cannot often spend so much money, on FOOD, of all things. And especially ridiculous delicacies like that. Ah, well.





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