Food: ‘Can’ and ‘can’t’ change as we get older
Are you one of those people who eats to live, or someone who lives to eat?
I used to be a lives-to-eat person — like everyone else in my family. While growing up in Los Angeles, my brother, two sisters and I looked forward to eating out every Sunday. Our parents usually took us to “Restaurant Row” on La Cienega Boulevard.
There was Webster’s, which was the epitome of family dining, and there was Ernest’s, a special place that featured a perfectly cooked steak topped with a great bordelaise sauce.
Italian food was a must at least once a month — pasta and ravioli, meatballs, chicken parm and breaded veal cutlets — at two favorite places.
The Sunday-dinner tradition started before I was 10 years old in St. Louis, where I was born. The folks would occasionally take us to Vic’s for incredible barbecue cooked over a wood fire. And there were the Italian places on The Hill, where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up.
As a teenager in Los Angeles, Chinese food became a favorite. My mother and two sisters would get take-out for Saturday lunch and still be gorging on Monday.
Now, though, as I approach 76, I’m an eats-to-live guy — unless I want to pay a digestive price.
I splurge occasionally, because my wife is an excellent cook. But she has always been an eats-to-live person. Go figure.
During a recent walk after lunch at home (a tossed salad of lettuce, carrots, green peppers, celery, avocado, and chunks of rotisserie chicken topped with a little Lite Ranch dressing) I got to thinking about how my diet has changed.
During my 30-minute stroll, I recalled the greatest meal I ever had: paella, the famous, rice-based dish that, depending on the version, includes a variety of meat, chicken, rabbit and shellfish.