Since the beginning of this month, I’ve eaten junk food and restaurant food for the first time in two-and-a-half years. I wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for my updated COVID booster last month, which has made me the safest I’ve been since February 2020. (I will be avoiding all junk food and restaurant food again this winter, because nothing tastes better than healthy feels.)
So I’ve eaten restaurant food (albeit take-out) for the first time since late February 2020 and sugary treats for the first time since early March 2020. I recall eating tortilla chips, fish sticks, and generic Triscuit crackers sometime during the spring of 2020.
So far, my return to the world of junk food and restaurant food has consisted of the following (and in order of purchase):
Pizza with no salt and no oil added: I found a pizza place that offers the option of skipping the salt and oil. This was amazingly delicious! I cannot remember ever feeling my taste buds jump for joy so much.
A box of 4 Jonny Pops: These natural ice cream bars were my first sugary treats since early March of 2020. Jonny Pops were also the last sugary treats I ate in March of 2020 before I quit consuming added sugar. These ice cream bars are still delicious but somewhat sweeter than I remember. This is a sign that my taste buds are more sensitive.
Pumpkin eggnog: During this past weekend, I bought eggnog for the first time in nearly 3 years. (NOTE: Both before the pandemic and now, I’ve only bought natural eggnog, and I drink a 50-50 mix of eggnog and milk instead of 100% eggnog.) I’ve consumed less than a quarter of the quart of eggnog so far, but I know that it’s still delicious but somewhat sweeter than I remember. Again, this is a sign that my taste buds are more sensitive.
Pizza (from a different place): On Sunday evening, I ordered pizza from a place that I liked in the past but doesn’t offer the option to skip the salt and oil. It was still delicious, but it seemed somewhat saltier than I remembered. I did get that sluggish feeling afterwards, which was my first food coma since early 2020. While this wasn’t a massive Thanksgiving-level food coma, I don’t recall getting that sluggish feeling in the past from this pizza place. So this is a sign that I’m more sensitive to oil than I used to be.
Given that it’s the 18th of October, that’s not much junk food and restaurant food for an 18-day period. I’m still closer to my no-junk-food diet than I am to my pre-pandemic diet. I’ll be avoiding the junk food and restaurant food again this winter, because I fully expect another COVID surge, and a nasty cold/flu season is expected. I’m still sticking to my daily Vitamin D3 supplementation, my daily Brazil nut habit, my homemade Vitamin B/C water, and my increased quantity and variety of healthy superfoods.
Yes, I’m fussy about my junk food and restaurant food. I’m not blowing my limited junk food ration on things that fail the “tastes better than low blood cholesterol feels” test. I haven’t tried eating brownies, candy, store-bought cookies, cake, or pie yet, but I suspect that some of them no longer agree with my taste buds. I won’t be ordering deep-fried food again, because these foods are the worst of the worst for one’s health.
I’ve been having a difficult time finding restaurants to try with my new taste buds and gut microbiome due to these factors:
Given that the pandemic isn’t completely over, I’m getting takeout only. So this means eating in my car, eating outside, or bringing the food home.
There have been some cold days lately. Weather that requires bundling up isn’t conducive to eating outside or eating in my car. So that means no choice but to bring the food home.
Having to bring my takeout restaurant food home limits how far from home I can order food without having it get cold on the way. Everyone knows that once restaurant food is no longer hot and fresh, it cannot be fully restored to its full flavor.
Even before the pandemic, I didn’t like to go out to eat in cold weather, because that required venturing out. If I’m at home, eating out doesn’t really save that much time over cooking something at home, and it takes MORE time than warming up leftovers. Also, the heat and humidity generated by cooking are very welcome when the weather is cold. Thus, summer has always been the season when I was most likely to go out to eat.
No, I’m not interested in having food delivered to me. Restaurant food is expensive enough as it is, and delivery only adds to the cost without making the food any better.
Given that there won’t be any more warm days (except for one last gasp of Indian summer), learning how to navigate the world of restaurant foods will have to wait until next spring.
ON the infrequent occasions that MRs. Goofy and I go out, we arrive at the restaurant at the moment it opens for dinner. Therefore we are, with the exception of the help, the only ones in the restaurant, usually for most of the meal. We also get to say “No, we’d rather sit over there” if the hostess wants to put us right in one of the major traffic aisles. We only go out once or twice a month, but that’s a lot more often than before, which was, uh, never.
On a side note, we were at PF Changs for dinner last night. The bill came with a bar (QR) code thing saying “pay from this receipt” which, always up for a new trick, I did. Scan the code, the tip options offered were “18%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 40%.” There was not a “no tip” option. Amazeballs, eh?
On the way out our server said “you have to pay” and we got in a discussion of how I already had. She had no idea. Seems actually like a bad idea since there is no way the server knows if you’ve been a good citizen or if you are going to chew-and-scr3w before you hit the exit.
One of the gifts given the “JCs” at the end of 2020 was, if they paid the servers the minimum wage, rather than a sub-minimum wage that is allowed in some states for tipped employees, the “JC” can skim off the tips the server earns to subsidize the pay of all the back room staff. So, the fatter the tip the satisfied customer gives the server, the more the “JC” can skim off to subsidize his other staff, rather than pay a competitive wage.
Apparently, the 2020 reg was a response to the Commies in Congress, who decided that an earlier reg allowing the “JC” to simply pocket tips earned by waitstaff was “theft”.