This morning’s choice for brunch was sliced hard-boiled egg on pumpernickel with a little mayo, salt, pepper and paprika. Essentially, deviled eggs on bread. I wondered if I had become a joke remembering Billy Joel’s rendition of “Uptown Girl” or maybe I was just the uptown girl all grown up.
I suppose that I too lived in that “white bread world”. At least, I grew up on white bread, biscuits, and cornbread with warm, wonderful rolls for special occasions like holidays. There was nothing better on a summer day than a sandwich made of fresh white bread with mayonnaise and two slices of pineapple fresh out of a can. The only way it could be better was when Mother chilled the pineapple first. It was messy to eat since the juice would run down your cheek or hand and arm, but somehow, that just made it taste better.
The white bread was always better if it was truly fresh and soft. It made the best sandwiches. It also made great grilled sandwiches. Every child loved grilled cheese then and, I bet, they still do today. That combined with a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup made a cold winter’s day warm and cozy. It’s called comfort food for a reason.
So, why is it that I stand in my kitchen today deciding on pumpernickel bread, using fresh eggs bought from a lady who assured me that the chickens weren’t caged, and feeling guilty about using mayonnaise and salt? What have I become? I suppose it is a part of aging that the body, so abused when I was younger with red meat and tons of preservatives and salt, rebelled and the doctors in all their wisdom said solemnly, “Only eat dark breads” and “don’t use salt with your food”.
New York delicatessens had taught me to love rye and pumpernickel breads along with pastrami and corned beef. It was living in Okinawa that taught me to love sushi and sprouts along with a variety of Asian food. California’s Bay Area taught me all about really good sourdough bread, fish, yogurt, and good wines.
So, it is today that I stand in my kitchen surrounded by yogurt, a variety of breads, a little pastrami and corned beef in the freezer for future sandwiches, and using the last of the sprouts for this sandwich. For years, my life was surrounded by “diet foods” and healthy eating to the point that I was living on nothing but healthy foods. That became boring and eventually, I ate less and less. It wasn’t a diet just a total disinterest in food. Food had become bland and boring. It was worse than white bread.
That circle of life that I so often refer to had come full circle on me and my eating habits. It was Food Network that reintroduced me to good food that is healthy. I still shudder at eating fried food, but, truthfully, that fresh fried okra last week was really good. Plus, it nicely seasoned my iron skillet.
My job now is to mix some of what I had in my early life with all that I have learned about food since then. It’s a return to fresh foods, the joy of desserts, and the love of eating good food. Since my diet has become more interesting, maybe that same change can evolve to other parts of my life. Life after all is a blend of many things to provide all the paints of a rainbow life. To think, I realized all that from a simple sandwich.