21 Thanksgiving (and Other) Food-Related Musings

by Rob on November 24th, 2015

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arena Ready.

​That's code for "my wife is going to kill me for posting this many negative opinions." Enjoy! 

Last week at the gym many of us talked about some Thanksgiving meal likes and dislikes, and it got me to thinking... eh, who are we kidding, I think (and talk) about food all the time, as you all know.  Growing up in San Francisco, and being from a multi-cultural family, Thanksgiving at our house usually meant (among other things, including the standard Turkey Day fare) Dungeness crab.  Like, almost literally, a ton of Dungeness crab - as in my Filipino mother wheels-in two coolers full, like we're prepping to hibernate for the winter and have to stuff ourselves like Mr. Creosote (don't click on that bad boy unless you like Monty Python, lest you be offended... or worse, lose your own lunch).

Sadly this year, due to the toxic algae bloom that has made Bay Area headlines for weeks, there will be no Dungeness on the table for me to fatten-up on before Jon Snow comes back to life and Winter arrives.  The absence of my favorite seasonal food prompted me to jot down some current thoughts on culinary opinions realities in the "world according to moi."  

Some may read this and think, man this guy is a jackass.  In some cases I would not disagree.  But as many of you at Arena Ready know, I state these with tongue firmly in cheek and will happily debate any or all of them with you, particularly if it's during our holiday party on December 12th over some drinks and delicious bites, and while we laugh at it all in good humor.

Funny thing is, I'm not a picky eater whatsoever.  My dear wife will tell you that I'd eat (or at least try) just about anything - she likes to say that if we were on Survivor, The Amazing Race, or Fear Factor together she'd want me there specifically to clean house on the challenges that involve eating bugs and cow brains, etc.  I enjoy haute cuisine and street food, healthy fare and crappy processed garbage (not that I eat much of the latter), and everything in-between.  

"So why so many strong opinions?" you may ask.  I don't know exactly.  Maybe I just like the heated & humorous conversation it starts with you all in the gym.  I like spending my time coaching and hanging out with you guys and gals, and I really like when you argue with me over asinine stuff that I ramble on about.  So, without further ado (like my eggcorn avoidance there, Margaret?), here you go...        

1) If you're from the East Coast and want to argue with me about how much better Blue crab tastes than Dungeness crab, but you eat said Blue crab caked in Old Bay Seasoning, then how in the world do you even know what that Blue crab tastes like?  

[I'll admit, that was an aggressive start.]

2) Non-dairy ice cream and sweet potato fries are to real ice cream and white potato fries in the same way that regular athletic shoes are to weightlifting shoes.  The former are just fine and get the job done fairly well, but then you have the latter and think to yourself OMG WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?!  

3a) Goat cheese is on the list of what I like to call "societal pressure edibles." By my approximation, nearly half of the people that claim to like/love goat cheese are simply faking it.  But the risk of falling out of favor with a set of strategic acquaintances or aspirational friends is far too high to play the honesty card.  It's cool, I get it. 

3b) Goat cheese tastes like cellophane dipped in someone's post-workout BO (side note: this is why I have no friends).

4) Persimmons taste like soap.

5) I know grass-fed beef is supposed to be better for me, but holy crap sometimes it tastes like it's rancid.

6a) If we're at Patxi's together eating pizza, and you ask the server for a side of ranch dressing, I will not judge you.  In fact, I will likely tell him/her to make it two, please.

6b) I order the gluten-free crust at Patxi's because it actually tastes better, not because I'm trying to be a hipster with self-diagnosed celiac disease.

7) If you're an adult male working in the Financial District, and you find yourself lining up to get a FroYo at one of those trendy, high-end yogurt places, be aware that when you hand the cashier your frequent customer punchcard an invisible little fairy gently removes your man card from the back pocket of your dress slacks simultaneously. 

8) If you eat Skittles fast enough they get spicy.  

9) Enough with the Scriracha already.

10) I like every single ingredient in a Bloody Mary but I don't like Bloody Marys.

11) Excessive and/or creative use of rosemary can render a perfectly delicious dish completely inedible.

12) People like to state, "If you order a steak well done it's like saying 'please give me the worst piece of meat you have, my good man.'"  Similarly, if you order "spicy tuna" anything it's like asking for the leftover bits of crappy maguro drenched in Sriracha (see also #9 above).

13) If you're super aggressive about telling people how spicy you like your food (usually accompanied by antagonizing others at the table about how lame/bland/weak they are because they're not also floating their chicken in Frank's RedHot), I'd like you to know ,"We got it, Hoss. Message received. Loud and clear."  Just like your MMA t-shirts and your kick-ass lifted truck... trust me, we all noticed.  Please stop yelling at the table, I'm right here next to you and you can speak in a normal inside voice.  I'm pretty sure everyone in the restaurant knows you're here and no one's gonna mess with you.

14) Pickles are the edible universal bond that unites us all.  Every cuisine has their version and applications.  If someone doesn't like pickles they're like someone who doesn't like dogs (or deadlifts)... not to be trusted.  

15) If you like catfish then you like the taste of mud in your mouth.  Unless you only like it when it's fried.  Then, yes, of course it's delicious. 

16) I'm happy that many folks have recently pledged their love for bacon and doughnuts.  Like, REALLY pledged their love.  Incessantly.  On social media.  On t-shirts.  At their gym.  Hey, I'm not arguing with you, both of those things are delicious... but man, they've been around forever, so let's chill out a little on the daily dramatic professions of Instagram adoration, as if these are new discoveries in culinary science.  Many of us have been eating both of these items all our lives and were quite aware of how good they were the entire time... so welcome to the party, I guess. 

16) I don't know a single person who doesn't like a refreshing slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.  Coach Alyssa hates watermelon.

17) If you're at an ethnic restaurant (and it's not of your own ethnicity) and you insist on speaking to the servers in their native language, but they continue to speak back to you in English, then let's never hang out.  
18) If you order anything "Benedict" at a restaurant then I consider you either a very trusting person or a really big risk taker - both are qualities that I aspire to myself, so either is a compliment really (a compliment rooted in jealousy that I cannot do the same).  Because while I agree that Hollandaise sauce is delicious, I have no faith whatsoever that any restaurant can keep Hollandaise at the correct temperature and ensure that it's not a petri dish of busy kitchen bacteria.

19) I can't accept food or snacks if you hand it to me with your bare hands.  Don't take it personally.  I know, I have problems.  But I've been too traumatized by the overwhelming majority of humanity that seems to think the soap and water in a restroom are just there for interior design, like a vase and nonfunctioning fireplace of sorts.      

20) When someone tells me they've never been on a vacation cruise before and they're wondering what it's like, I ask them if they've ever eaten at The Olive Garden.  If they say yes, I tell them "Imagine eating at The Olive Garden every day for seven days in a row.  With complete strangers.  And they're all dressed up in weirdly fancy suits like the handlers on the Westminster National Dog Show.  And you have to smile and pretend like you're enjoying the Chef's previously frozen sodium cheesey Chicken Alfredo like the guy next to you who's asking for thirds.  Yeah, it's pretty much like that."     

[And finally, let's end on a positive note to tie it all back to fitness.]

21) Think of fitness as food.
Who remembers this AR Holiday Party blast from the past?  I've never seen a whole roast pig get eaten so quickly in my entire life.  And I'm Filipino so that's saying something.

WOD for 11-25-15:

Row for Calories

-Rest 1 minute, then-

Ring Push-ups​​

-Rest 1 minute, then-​

Alternating One-Arm Dumbbell Power Snatches @ 55/45 lbs​

-Rest 1 minute, then-

Burpee Box Jumps @ 24/20 in​

The Tabata interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, and is repeated eight times (over the course of four minutes).  Your score is the lowest rep count among the eight intervals.  This workout lasts 19 total minutes, including the 3 rest/transition minutes.​

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