Saturday, September 20, 2008


When my mom died in the spring, one of the things that stuck with me from the experience was the time I spent talking to my Uncle Larry about running. Partly, it helped to keep my mind of what was happening, and partly it served to motivate me.

My uncle is a big time runner, having run in the Boston marathon, the New York, the Marine Corps, and a bunch of others. I, on the other hand, am a very casual runner. My fitness routine (until recently) could be described as "go to the gym a couple times a week to lift weights and do about 20 minutes of cardio". It's enough to keep me sort of fit, but I'm certainly not in the shape I was in 15-20 years ago. But during the funeral, we talked a bunch about running, and I mentioned how I wanted to run a marathon (and oddly enough, at the last funeral I went to, I said the same thing). I think he must've figured it was a lot of talk, since something he later sent me in an email stuck with me, which was "you get to be a good runner by running".

Anyway, I put off and put off getting serious about running, and one day, I guess I snapped.I went and signed up for the City of Oaks marathon here in Raleigh (November 2, still plenty of time to train for the half, if anyone of the 3 people who read this are interested!). I figured if I paid my money, I'd have a more powerful incentive to train than if I kept putting it off, and I also knew that it's pretty easy to say "someday, I'm going to..." and to let that stand in for doing.

It's been a long 12 weeks (I think) of training, and it's hard to believe that I ran 12 miles today as my "easy" day prior to running 18 next week. I guess I'm fitter, and I have to admit, I enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn, going to Umstead Park, lacing up the shoes and running a looong way. It's a nice slice of time where I can contemplate and think "deep thoughts" (of which I have plenty lately), and zone out to a certain degree, becoming one with nature and all that jazz (when I ran during Hanna, I remember coming upon deer who just looked at me like "what the hell are you thinking", and even though I was 10 feet away, they didn't even budge)

I guess if I were to say why I'm doing it, it's probably because my parents were never the most active people in the world, and the last years of Mom's life were spent in and out of the hospital. I'd like to think that if they had been more active (and to be honest, alot of her inactivity was due to various illnesses, not because she was a couch potato or anything), she might have had a better quality of life. But anyway, I guess I'm attempting to avoid a similar fate (and I plan on living a very long time, thank you very much), and part of that attempt is to be a lot more active.

I usually don't get all introspective or confessional in this blog (it is, after all, a food blog, not a "crying in my beer" blog), but I guess it's the runner's high talking.
I'll write about things like breaded chicken breasts and "how to build an immersion chiller" later to make up for it, I promise.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Simple Pleasures

After a long day slaving over a hot desk, simple pleasures are often the best. One of my favorite things to make for nibbling on while I cook dinner is this simple tomato salad.
I don't know how classic of a combination it is, but the salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar tossed with tomatoes evokes for me memories of growing up, when my parents would grow tomatoes on the back deck, and we'd eat them sliced, dusted with salt and pepper and drizzled with vinegar.

This recipe isn't faithful to that youthful experience, though, since back then my parents didn't use coarse salt or freshly ground pepper, and I don't think you could even buy rice vinegar.
Speaking of which, you could sub in either balsamic or wine vinegar, but I think seasoned rice vinegar gives the exact amount of both sweet and tart (most balsamics you buy at the grocery are close to awful, IMO, and if you use wine vinegar, you'll want to maybe add a little sugar).
Adding the oil immediately after sprinkling with salt will prevent some of the salt from dissolving (since salt will not dissolve in oil), which adds a nice texture, in my opinion. If you don't care for it, just let the tomato and salt to sit for a minute to let the salt dissolve.

Dave's Simple Tomato Salad:
1 large tomato, as good quality as you can get
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
~2 tbsp olive oil
~2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Chop tomato coarsely, and put in a bowl. Sprinkle several pinches of kosher salt (to taste) over the chopped tomato, dust with freshly ground pepper, and then drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss.
Let sit for a few minutes (to let the salt pull some of the juices from the tomato), and then toss again. Enjoy.

quote of the day:
"Yes, this is my singing voice. It's not just cheap irony" - Art Brut - 'Formed a Band'

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And.... it's good!

The verdict on Fleet Foxes: it's a great album, and exactly what I need to get thru this Thursday morning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Music Wednesday

It's 12:38am, it's now officially Thursday morning, and I'm a little too wired to go to sleep.
What to do? The obvious answer, buy music.

I've been wanting to get the Fleet Foxes album for the longest time, so that's what I'm going with.
I'll post later my thoughts. I think their song "White Winter Hymnal" is great, so I'm guessing the whole album is as good.