Posted in Food sparks, Travel sparks

The Camino Diet

As I’ve mentioned, it’s only around a month til my friend Steph and I leave for the Camino. A lot of well-meaning peeps have been giving us tips and hints, as well as remarking on how they can’t wait to see how fit and thin we are on our return. (Not that we are super unfit and ginormous now, I might add.) I remind those people that one of my favourite lunches on my last trip to Spain was a potato omelette on a giant bread roll – now that’s carb loading. And then there’s the wine – I am sure that it’s culturally insensitive to refuse.

So, we really don’t know what impact the 800km will have on us. Sure, it’s a lot more walking than we’d normally do each day in our office jobs, but then there are the delicious (and not always healthy) foods along the way, undoubtedly an important part of the journey. So maybe it’ll just even out and we’ll come back looking EXACTLY THE SAME. Just warning you now – it’s definitely a possibility.

One of the many books that I’m reading is ‘Guide to the Camino’ by an Australian lady, Trish Clark. Trish includes local delicacies in her book – food and drink that walkers should try in each town. As I read the list for one town, I felt the weight stacking on:

Fried bread with garlic and ham? Yes please!
Fried bread with garlic and ham? Caramelised custard & sponge cake? Yes please!

And then I read about another town and realised that – at least for me on my bull-free diet – this stop might be a lean one:

Cinnamon pancakes it is.
Cinnamon pancakes it is.

So, looks like there will be lots of exercise and lots of fried bread and pancakes (and bull hoof stew) – life is all about balance, right?!

Posted in Food sparks

New year’s resolution #12 – the food expansion program

A couple of years ago, I realised that it was time to expand my food horizons. That’s not to say that I don’t like a wide range of foods, but I had fallen into a bit of a rut and wasn’t trying many new things. So I set a goal that I would try a number of new foods/drinks every month – most of them were things that people laughed at because they were so mainstream and not remotely adventurous, but had somehow never been part of my adult diet: lamb, a Slurpee, sushi, a protein bar, Vegemite, ham, calamari. Stuff like that. Family and friends were very supportive (although they did laugh A LOT at my expense) and made suggestions about what I might like to try next, which helped to keep me honest.

Thanksgiving 2012, I tried yams covered in marshmallows. Verdict: not for everyday, but sweetly delicious.
Thanksgiving 2012, I tried yams covered in marshmallows. Verdict: not for everyday, but sweetly delicious.

I do remember shocking some of my work mates when, on the last day of a month, I was in a panic to fill the final spot on my new food list and my friend Ams rushed me to a city food court to buy Bubble Tea. Have you ever tried that stuff? Yikes. Make that yikes with giant gelatinous balls of tapioca in it. Their packaging system was very cool though and I was enthralled by their production line, but when it came to actually drinking the beverage, it was a struggle. I could only get about halfway through, which was enough to put it on the list.

Bubble Tea image from Wikipedia. Ah, brings back memories.
Bubble Tea image from Wikipedia. Ah, brings back memories. Just look at that tapioca, pretending to be a cute design on the container. Don’t be fooled!

Anyways, I have decided that I’m going to try another food expansion program this year, so I can make sure that I’m trying new things and not going for the same old food and drink options. I’m telling you now so that it’s out there and I feel obliged to follow through. I expect some hits and misses as I aim for five new foods/drinks per month. As an aside, if I am dining or drinking with you in the real world, please remind me to look beyond what I would normally choose from the menu…who knows, but I might find my as-yet-undiscovered new favourite thing. Of course, there’s always a chance that I’ll find another bubble tea, but that’s all part of the fun of broadening horizons and finding everyday sparks (and keeping work-mates entertained). Bon appetit!