Monday, February 4, 2013

I am just sucking at titles lately. :(

Eating out is not one of my favorite things. You'd think it would be within at least my top ten, considering my complete lack of desire to cook anything more complicated than hot ham water. But alas, it is not. Luckily for me, however, Three absolutely loves cooking. It's completely his thing. He even took classes back in high school. Well, actually, his school kind of forced him to take cooking classes starting his freshman year because he was one of the poor students and therefore obviously destined to become line cooks at the various resorts for all the rich people that came on vacation to the island he called home.
Be all you can be! (Note: if you are rich and white. If not, you're basically fucked.)
On the plus side, though, I got a trained chef-type person as a husband, so win/win.

Sometimes, though, when Three is too pooped to pick up a pot (alliteration FTW), we'll go somewhere, usually in East Nashville because that's the only place that has any restaurants that make food both of us can actually eat. Somewhere back in whatever past life I might have had, I think I pissed off somebody that wanted to make sure I suffered, so I was given allergies to gluten, lactose, and latex. The gluten thing isn't as bad as it could be; I get mild discomfort whenever I eat anything with gluten in it, but all in all, it's just kind of annoying. With lactose, however, I might as well just lie down and die. It's terrible. I won't gross you out with the details, but let's just say I'm a mess. You wouldn't think latex would be on a list of food allergies, and most of the time, you'd be right. However, since bananas come from a type of rubber tree? Yeah, you guessed it. I cannot eat bananas without the fuckers nearly tearing my stomach to pieces. Then there's Three with his diabetes, which just adds another fun dimension of food gymnastics, trying to figure out what does not have sugar, dairy, gluten, and on occasion rubber*.

Nashville, as a whole, doesn't really have a lot of allergy-friendly restaurants, as you can probably guess, what with it being in the South where there's a Cracker Barrel on every corner. Not really; it's a Waffle House. This is until, of course, you get into East Nashville, which has such gems like the Wild Cow, one of my favorite allergen-free restaurants ever. They even have a separate menu for gluten-free items and they will show you where their gluten-free cooking area is. But, as any Nashvillian will tell you, things ain't cheap on this side of town. It's hipster central, which is only a minor ick point for me since, and it specializes in selling houses smaller than my apartment for half a million dollars because they've been "upcycled." That trend trickles down to the restaurants, too, especially when you add "artisanal" in Papyrus font to the sign. I mean, come on, I have seen one of those places charge $15 for a damned garden salad**.

So a combination of not having a ton of disposable income and having food allergies, we tend to stay home or go over to friends' houses when we need a night away from our shitty stove. Thankfully, we have a lot of awesome friends who are more than willing to either cook or eat stuff we've cooked that doesn't cause major intestinal distress. But we usually have to break people in to the idea. It's actually kind of depressing to tell people that we don't have any sugar, gluten, or dairy products at our apartment, and it usually illicits a, "Well, what do you eat? Cardboard?? HAHAHAHA!"
Oh, you so clever. I have never heard that one before. 
And it's not much better when people act all sympathetic and say, "Oh, I'm so sorry. That must be horrible!" That doesn't really help me feel any better about my plight, if you can call it that. It's not like I'm dying, guys. Or that I was irreversibly disfigured in a bear mauling incident. I just can't eat some stuff, and both Three and I have to be very careful to read the ingredients on anything we buy, which you should totally do, anyway.

What's kind of awesome is that there are a lot of things out there now for people like us, and they aren't just at ridiculously priced Whole Foods. I squealed in the middle of Kroger when I found a gluten-free Bisquik mix, which was promptly bought and used to make gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free weird-shaped pancakes. There are even sections at grocery stores that are dedicated to people with food allergies. Yes, they're usually more expensive than their able-tummied counterparts, but I'd rather spend a few dollars extra on something that works with my digestive system than spend every waking minute regretting my choice to eat a gluten-riddled bagel with cream cheese.

Of course, there's a certain trendiness to this whole gluten-free lifestyle that irritates some people, but honestly, I can't get too upset about it. I can go online and find a recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free matcha cupcakes so quickly it makes it all the worse that I haven't gone to Kroger to pick up the materials to make them. There are whole websites dedicated to food allergies. All of this information is available to all, and you know what? If people decide to eat the way I do because they want to be different or whatever, so fucking be it. That just means that the food I can eat is only going to get less expensive, making it easier for restaurants to provide people like me with alternatives without having to charge me twice the normal cost. And if I have to endure insufferable, pretentious pricks in the process? Meh. I have to do that, anyway; might as well get a discount out of it.

Except in East Nashville. I think they just want to keep things expensive so they can feel special. Or something.

* That just sounds like it should be some sort of food fetish joke or something.
** "But it's organically grown, free-range lettuce!" Shut up.
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