There was a point last week where I realized that the only thing green I had eaten in five days was mint chip ice cream.
Giving up vegetables for a week wasn’t intentional. My wife had to fly out of state unexpectedly, my son is off set-netting in Bristol Bay, and my daughter was doing her own thing for meals.
That left me more or less on my own for meals, which isn’t a big deal. I’m a decent cook, and I know how to prepare healthy meals. In fact, my breakfasts alternate between fruit smoothies and cheese omelettes all week — though I admit, I could have added some spinach to an omelette or two and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Really, the problems came with lunch and dinner. You see, being left to my own devices coincided with a busy week. It included two trips to Anchorage and back, helping with set-up and take-down for the Tri The Kenai, and a day spent out of the office for work. That meant lunches were grab-and-go, whether it was the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I pack for some of those days, or a meal from one of the food vendors at the Kenai River Festival.
Busy days also made for late dinners. Once I got home from work, or from helping out with the youth mountain bike program at Tsalteshi Trails, I still had to take the dogs for a good walk before I could take care of myself. I suppose I could have put off the dog walking, but after being cooped up for the day, my dogs were pretty insistent on getting some attention.
There was another factor in my veggie-free diet. Normally, when everyone else is out of the house, it’s an opportunity for me to cook the things no one else likes. Usually it’s either something blackened, or hot dogs.
But this time around, because my wife’s trip was unexpected, there was an obstacle to cooking what I wanted: leftovers.
I’m not a fan of leftovers, and with just me in the house, they were going to last for more meals than I would’ve liked.
But I’m even less of a fan of wasting food, and so I had a couple of slices of meat-lover’s pizza to get through, some brats (as close to hot dogs as the rest of my family will let me get), and a couple of hamburger patties to grill up.
I even cooked up some side dishes to go with them, but they all happened to be starches – couscous or rice.
And it was a missed opportunity for me. I prefer my veggies to be oven-roasted, rather than steamed, whereas other family members prefer the expedience of throwing them in the microwave.
Like I said, it wasn’t intentional. Once I realized my omission, I added some salad and fresh vegetables to my shopping list (in addition to more mint chip ice cream).
And as it turns out, I was not the only one in the family needing some more green in my diet. One of our dogs has been, to put it delicately, excessively scooching, and the veterinarian suggested some extra veggies in her diet, too.
So, if you happen to see me in the grocery store, feel free to check my cart – and to remind me that mint chip ice cream shouldn’t be the only thing green in my basket. I mean, the dog needs her veggies, right?
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• By WILL MORROW, For the Peninsula Clarion