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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year, A New Resolution, A New Rule

Well the day has finally come to begin the diet and we are not as prepared as it would be nice to be. eg we have a random assortment of allowable items in the house and we haven't decided all the rules yet. But we are making a start, and even if its a bit shaky its already proving interesting.

It started with a new years day trip to a chinese restaurant in Richmond with a friend who was staying. We quickly had to come up with the first rule, which is for eating out:

Rule One - Eating Out

We aren't foregoing eating out altogether because it is an important social activity. We will avoid it where it wont affect social relations, and we will use it as an opportunity for finding out about food and raising discussion with co-eaters.

The rule is we have to ask where the ingredients come from and choose the most local item available on the menu.


Day One, Continued

I duly asked the somewhat taciturn waitress where the chicken and beef from the Szechuan Spicy Chicken of Beef came from. She didn't know, and seemed nonplussed. It being New Years Day she said the chef wasn't in and when pressed she said it probably came from "the supermarket".

I concluded that probably all the food on the menu came from the Supermarket and this was suitably indeterminate not to prevent me from choosing whatever I liked. I extended this principle to include the sake, which almost certainly came from japanese rice, or at least from somewhere in Asia, but I figured I needed the heat and since everything else was from the supermarket - ie all over the world - it was kind of too late anyway.

The conversation centred for a while on deciding whether the waitress' quiet, get-it-over-with manner was due to a hangover, or incredible shyness. We flirted briefly with the idea that she was offended by our enquiries, but it seemed unlikely that she had any personal interest in the matter since she didn't know much about it in the first place.

This inauspicious start was followed by an evening of using up everything left in the fridge and cupboard with help from some friends, so we can begin properly.

Fortunately my brother and his girlfriend have given us a hamper of local food to keep us going for a bit until we get organised enough to go to a shop.

Life After Tea

Living without tea is going to be very tough for me as it is my cheerful companion and warming consolation throughout the day. I am not relishing the problem and although I've spotted some lemons growing locally and am plotting to find a mole to help me get at them, I haven't any hopes yet of finding a locally grown tea bush.

We do however have some Hawthorn tea (well actually its just some dried out hawthorn bush with tea-making potential) collected from an estate in Oxfordshire and donated by a colleague. Its actually delicious (although it smells pretty bad when you make it) and there is a satisfying pleasure in sitting and picking all the leaves off the prickly stems - one of those wholesome old fashioned activities that helps to clear the mind and make room for soothing, nourishing meditiations. So much more interesting than Tele. Apparently hawthorn tea is good for something but I can't recall what. Watch this space for an update. I think it might be for the lungs, or maybe the blood.

In fact so many friends and family have shown an interest in the 100-mile project and given us goodies that I have decided I can stay in and needn't worry about the food until the saturday farmers market when things all get much easier. So to all you generous and helpful contributors, many thanks and I hope we can provide you with some interesting stories and results over the coming year.


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