Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Food Revolution Road Trip11 Day 5: Indulgent

Where we are: Rapid City

Plan for the Day: More gold panning!

Food Revolution Challenge: World's biggest sandwich

This time, I'm prepared for gold panning. I have packed a great lunch of fruit, water, and snacks, and I've brought a book, the bug spray, and everything else I need to keep myself comfortable. Bring it on, baby, I'm ready.

We also visited a grocery store to get some food. This time it was less daunting than last year, but I still found some things really, really odd.

Firstly, everything was packaged-and by everything, I mean right down to the produce. Carrots couldn't be bought in bulk, but rather had to be in either a 5 lb bag, the mini size, or shredded. What? I can't just buy a single carrot? Huh. Bread is in huge slices, easily about twice the size of a regular slice at home. And why does it taste so sweet? I never noticed that before. Also-in the USA, cheese is labeled 'natural' if it's regular cheese. At home, no cheese is labeled natural. However, it IS labeled 'processed'.

Is real cheese so unusual it has to be labeled as such?

$30 worth of groceries later, and I think we'll be good for a few days. Or, at least I hope. I buy:

-Tribe hummus (we recognize them from Eat!Vancouver. Yay!)
-Kraft pepper jack and colby/jack cheeses
-sprouts
-cherry tomatoes
-lettuce
-avocado
-shredded carrots
-green onions
-sweet pepper
-Earth Grains bread
-whole grain mustard
-bananas
-blueberries

I look for Fage yogurt, but a tub is $6, which seems completely outrageous. The produce is about the same prices as at home, which can be kind of expensive, but the cheese is far cheaper. I've never been able to figure that out.

We arrive at the claim and park, then get out and begin to walk. Cows are here this time, and upon seeing us, they rise and lumber out of sight, loudly mooing their displeasure.

Cows are watching!, cows, farm, nature


Kevin and John go right to work-panning and chatting, discussing the finer points of how to swish the pan properly, what place would be the best, etc. I wander off and take pictures of the surrounding wildlife and nature, thinking to myself that it's just like when I was a child and grew up with a field outside my door. I chased frogs and caught butterflies, snacked on wild strawberries, stole peas from the garden, and knew most of the plants in the area.

Twins, butterfly, nature

They flitted everywhere and were impossible to get a photo of until the very last moment.

Having fun, gold panning, South Dakota, Custer

Soon, the boys tired of digging around and since nobody struck it rich, we took a break for lunch. Also, the cows had come back and were angrily staring at us through the fence, before lumbering on the other side of the stream and watching us warily while they ate. These were happy cows, I reasoned. There's no corn fed beef in this place. This lunch is tasty-trail mix, fruit, and leftovers from last night's dinner. A way to beat the portion size problem is to just eat half for dinner, half for lunch, and we're employing that option if we can. I had a buffalo burger topped with blue cheese the night before, and despite the fact that there was far more cheese than I really needed, it was delicious. I still can't bring myself to eat a beef hamburger.

The afternoon is more shopping. I need some warmer pants for our trip on the motorcycle, and the local Yamaha shop should have something for me. The only thing is, I can only find women's pants on a mannequin.

"Um, can you help me out?" I ask the young male clerk at the front of the store. I point to the mannequin and he snorts.

"Hey! I get to strip her!" grabbing her by the torso, he flips her over and starts taking her clothes off. I can tell he's having loads of fun with this. Soon we are booth giggling as we struggle to strip the plastic woman of her pants. It's not an easy task.

Her arms fall off. We laugh even harder.

We wiggle off her boots, then the pants, and he hands them to me. I pretend not to notice the $69.99 sticker someone had pasted on the mannequin's crotch, or the fact that he's trying to hide it from me.

The pants are too big. As in, massively too big. I could likely fit in one leg of the pants.

"Well, there's a selection of buffets in town that you could visit," another clerk quips. "That would fix your problem really fast."

Later that evening, we find ourselves back at the Firehouse restaurant. I've tried to convince my guys to go elsewhere, but they love this place. Truth be told, so do I-but I'm trying to get us to branch out a little. This time, I'm a little stumped by what to order, and Kevin and I chose to go with the server's suggestion of a beef dip-like sandwich with peppers and cheese on it. I love French dip sandwiches, mostly because we never eat beef at home and so they are a treat. This one sounds intriguing, and a treat is okay, right? We are on vacation. With a side salad, it shouldn't be a problem.

The waitress arrives with a tray loaded with food and stops at our table. My mouth drops open in horror.

No.

NO FREAKING WAY.

This can't be my sandwich. These monstrosities that are literally the length of my forearm and as wide as my palm can NOT be ONE serving. They are the biggest sandwiches we've ever seen. We sit at the table in silence, mouths hanging open, trying to figure out what the hell we're going to do with all that food. It's more than I'd eat in three servings, much less at once.

This is beyond indulgent. It's bordering on repulsive, and suddenly I lose my appetite.

I don't care what I have to do, I'm not doing this again. EVER.

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