Armed with a new audiobook, I hit the road for my first 2015 road trip. I travel very often, and one of the barriers to my no-restaurants year was to negotiate being away from home and maintaining my restaurant abstinence. It was only six hours from home — and for a road trip warrior like me, that isn’t too bad — and I didn’t need to take a cooler or make much in the way of plans. I stopped a few hours from home for the best hummus in the whole wide world, some crackers, and a pile of groceries to enjoy with the pal I was headed to visit.
I wasn’t sure what to make, since we both have a few dietary restrictions and I wasn’t too familiar with her kitchen, but I found a solution in homemade pizzas. Everyone likes some sort of pizza, right? We giggled, and she’d never made one. I’d worked for Dominos when I was a bitty eighteen-year-old for $6.25 an hour, churning out a lot of great pizzas and a few intentional, edible mistakes. We had three pre-made crusts to work with, alfredo or pizza sauce to top with, grassfed ground beef, and sauteed some yellow sweet peppers, onion, and broccoli. My friend’s young son topped his slices with mozzarella only, and I piled on the alfredo sauce.
Late into the night, we talked and talked. I had such a privilege in enjoying a family that is so close to each other, and so very involved in each others’ lives. My friend deeply cares for her sons and her unconditional acceptance of her boys and others in her life is a treat to actually witness, late at night, deep in adult-level conversation. It was great to cook with her while her son hung out; in a way, I felt like we became closer through food. We’d both had devastating eating disorder issues for many years, and sometimes working those things out with another person who has had the same experience can be more detrimental than helpful. It used to be a big trigger of mine to cook or eat with others that had similar issues, but over the years, I’ve felt far less judged and worried about others’ opinions of how I eat, how I look when I eat, or what I choose to eat.
This time, my temptation wasn’t in disordered behavior, but in staying off the restaurant food! I mindlessly ordered some Steak ‘n Shake fries, if only because I was hungry, tired, and simply…forgot, for a few minutes while the kid ordered some food late at night. Being a perfectionist, I had a moment of sorrow at breaking my perfect streak of restaurantlessness. But in the end? I ate about 30 fries, and learning to roll with mistakes and imperfection is a good thing for me.
What an excellent road trip.
(And I very highly recommend the book!)