Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Avocados/Limes from my trees.

 Shortly after moving into a home I had the largest yield of avocados and limes to which I made an endless amount of guacamole and avocado toast. I say Florida avocado out and about and people shiver - they want the Hass. I don't blame them, when I was at the grocery store - I never picked Florida avocados because I was used to growing up eating Hass. However, once a tree was in my yard - I gave it a chance and realized they were no different.

This post isn't about a bunch of avocados though - it's about how food taste changes. If we move the clock back 20 years our trips for food out n about resulted in probably a trip to:

  • Some Kansas local BBQ joint.
  • Longhorn Steakhouse.
  • A sandwich shop.
  • Arby's / Culvers / Sonic.
  • Pizza Hut.

Now I look back at that list and think a few things:

  • Food tastes changes as you age.
  • Kansas vs Florida offers different food.
  • Fast food is dated.
  • Some food isn't worth it anymore.

When I took the 3 hour long drive from Kansas to Arkansas for school every so often a decade ago - there was a gas station and food option in the middle of nowhere. That place was Arby's and it wasn't a bad option for food when you had no other options.

Though if I look at the past 10 years - I don't think I've ever visited an Arby's nor even know where one is. I tried to visit a Sonic once after coming home late at night without dinner. However, sitting at a kiosk I heard a voice that said "drive through only" and that line was insanely long - so I gave up.

So the tried and true what I'm calling legacy fast food is out in my book. I think the only exception I continue to make is McDonald's breakfast. That is a simple quick trip when on the way to an early morning kayak/island trip - a bit more food and energy than a yogurt and still cheap.

However, lets move to sandwiches. I used to love visiting Quiznos, Mr. Goodcents and Which Wich. Now we see:

  • Mr. Goodcents - Midwest only.
  • Quiznos - All closed near me.
  • Which Wich - became garbage.

I used to love the configuration and customization of Which Wich sandwiches, but one time I went in and everything was different. I could pick my same sandwich, but from a list of allowable removals and additions. I was confused, because how can I make my perfect jalapeno Italian iteration. I kept looking for a different sandwich bag to notate and none existed.

The staff said I could just write what I wanted on the back, but yeah sure I can remember what to write down when there was no longer 30 items with checkboxes to pick from. I haven't been back since then - which sucks since I really did enjoy that place before it changed.

So I'm happy to have a consistent experience when going to Jersey Mikes or Mariana's subs. The first being a huge chain that prides itself on consistency and the 2nd being a shop that literally only sells a single sandwich made a single way.

So if the idea of sandwich shops or fast food is collapsing under preference - it was time to make some new creations at home. So I signed up for Hello Fresh and did a few solid months of producing their creations. What I quickly figured out is every recipe boiled down to:

  • Chop a ton of things.
  • Use a ton of bowls/pans/utensils.
  • Heat/bake/grill something.
  • Dump some sauce onto the creation that you mixed from tiny plastic bags.
  • Figure out how to properly dispose of an infinite amount of ice packs and plastic.

So at some point - I cancelled, but it allowed me to pick up some good recipe techniques and how to make iterations of popular dishes. Now I have no problem cooking up some rice, tossing in some vegetables and protein and I have a good dish going.

With the power of a cast iron pan and green egg - you can also cook quite a lot of things. Throw in a few chicken thighs and add some lemon/olives/garlic and you have a nice dish.

So all in all - I'm cooking more at home and more than just some pasta and salad. However, what happens now when I'm out n about?

Right now I'm spoiled with a cafe being next door to my work. This place has a different special daily and ranges from breakfast to lunch with a wide menu. Since I go near daily I've become the test subject for new creations. I even have a menu item named after me for the classic buffalo chicken wrap.

So now I have a consistent source of a wide variety of flavors and tastes. I might enjoy a roast beef sandwich one day, but then a Greek salad the next. All with only taking 15 steps outside my office. I'll continue to try new creations here to expand my palate.

I might miss that Wendy's Baconator every once in awhile, but my evolved food taste I'm happy with.

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