Archives for: August 2010
We spent an interesting day at the Charles Town Landing Historical Site. The original 1670 settlement has been restored. We learned about life in the colony and enjoyed the archeology exhibits. We walked a big loop trail that took us from one end of the compound area to the other. On one side there was a ship building exhibit featuring a Ketch sailing vessel built by hand by the docents. On the other side was a wildlife exhibit featuring local animals in their natural habitat.
We asked one of the docents to recommend one of her favorite nearby restaurants. She sent us to T Bonz. The food was delicious. I had a burger & vegetables. DD had a salad & eggs. We got a side order of broccoli and shared. Though there were plenty of beneficial choices, HH chose an avoid sandwich – steak, turkey and bacon. DD and I couldn't talk him out of it. I don’t know if his stomach bothered him. After all our warnings, he knew better than to complain.
Our last day in Charleston we packed a picnic and drove to the Isle of Palms. The kids and I went running on the beach, then jumped in the ocean to play in the surf. HH decided to be cautious because of his cornea transplant. He has healed beautifully from the surgery and his vision is better than it has been in years. He is still cautious, and he did not want to risk getting sand or salt water in his eye. He took a nice long walk on the beach. Then we pulled out the lawn chairs and ate our picnic while we listened to the water. So relaxing.
Then it was time to come home. I am getting ready to have an estate sale at my Mom’s house. HH is learning to take care of our house so I can spend more time next year developing my photography and publishing business. DD headed back to college for her senior year. SS finished grad school today. He is a physical therapist, and he is returning to Texas to practice. We are back to the real world, but the real world is a pretty interesting and exciting place to be.
We have had two more days of interesting sightseeing, scrumptious food and unusual exercise.
One day we toured a plantation just outside of Charleston. There were alligators walking free on the grounds! I picked up one bit of blood type trivia. Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disease that mostly affects people of African descent. While the disease has many disadvantages, one advantage is that it provides protection from malaria. On this particular plantation, for large parts of the year all of the activities, including management of the house, gardens, and crops, were entirely handled by black overseers while the white owners fled for less mosquito prone climates.
Another day we toured the USS Yorktown, a retired aircraft carrier. The kitchens on board were certainly not organized to provide WWII era soldiers with meals related to individual needs or blood types. Nor was the concession stand set up to provide healthy meal choices for tourists. We were glad we had packed a picnic lunch in our backpacks – turkey on oat bread for my husband, PB&J on Ezekiel bread for DD, salmon and English peas for me.
Last night we drove to Sullivan’s Island and ate at Seels. The rest of the family raved about the fish tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed my flounder with collard greens and sweet potato fries. After dinner we went for a long run on the beach. Running on sand works different muscles, I learned when I hopped out of bed this morning.
Tonight we had dinner at Jestine's Kitchen, a downtown restaurant famous for soul food. My meal was outstanding: meatloaf collard greens and okra gumbo. There is a hike and bike trail over the Ravenel suspension bridge where our son likes to exercise. DD and I power walked the bridge after dinner. We not only got a good work out, but we saw a beautiful view of the water and the downtown skyline.
We are taking a few days of family vacation before our kids strike out on new adventures. Our son is completing his last Physical Therapy internship in Charleston. He is interviewing for jobs and studying for his board exams. Our daughter is finishing up a marketing internship and preparing to go back for her senior year of college. I had traveled to 46 of the 50 states. South Carolina was one of the four I was missing.
Our Strong Son picked us up at the airport, and took us to Red’s Ice House in the Shem Creek area for dinner. While we were waiting for our table, we watched dolphins from a big deck over the water. I had mahi mahi fish tacos. The one time I cooked mahi mahi, it was dry and tough, but this was tender and delicious. I’m going to have to give mahi mahi another try at home.
After dinner we drove to the beach. We had hoped to go for a run, but SS advised against beach running in the dark because of jelly fish and shells. We walked to the light house, enjoying the sound of the surf.
Yesterday we took a carriage ride around downtown Charleston. This gave us a good overview of the historic part of the city. We had lunch at Gilligan’s. I had a bay scallop stir fry with asparagus and green beans. It was fabulous! I love the way food is seasoned in Charleston. It is a combination of Southern and Cajun. When I get home, I plan to look up some traditional Charleston recipes.
After lunch we took one of the two downtown walking tours. I’m not sure how far we walked, but we wound our way through the historic district from the Market to the Battery and back. By the time we finished, we were immersed in the history of this charming Southern city. We were also hot and tired. We returned to our hotel for a picnic supper in our room. Hurrah for hotels with refrigerators, they make vacation eating so much simpler.
Just how big of a deal you should make about avoid foods at restaurants is open to debate. Where to draw the line about what you will and will not eat when you are a guest in someone’s home may change under different circumstances. But when you are offered something to eat that can make you sick, you have to stand up for yourself – even if it is embarrassing.
My husband and I were invited to a banquet by a friend of mine. It was a fund raising event that included a nice dinner, a hilarious after dinner speaker, and an appeal for money. My friend paid for our tickets.
The dinner was barbeque and included a choice of chicken, ribs, and sausage. I chose chicken and ribs. I don’t usually eat ribs, because I prefer lean meat, but these were well trimmed and cooked until they practically fell off the bone. The trouble came when I cut into the chicken. It was not cooked. The outside was brown, but just below the surface, it was pink, and next to the bone it was bright red.
The last time I saw chicken like this was on a camping trip when I was pregnant with DD. There were about 30 of us on the trip, and we had played hard all day. We got a late start grilling the chicken, and everyone was getting hungry. The cooks turned up the heat to speed things up. At last dinner was ready, and it smelled delicious. I cut into my chicken and saw red. Something warned me not to eat it. The next day half of the people on the trip had diarrhea.
I picked up my plate and walked across the huge banquet hall to the serving area. I politely said, “I don’t think my chicken is cooked.” The server lit into me. “I could cook that chicken for two hours and it would still be red,” she snarled. “Chicken is just like that. Here, would you rather have this piece?” She put a little piece of chicken on a clean plate. I took it and walked away.
For some reason I was embarrassed. I felt like everyone had heard her reprimand me. It was a long walk back to my table.
However, the little piece of chicken was fully cooked, and I enjoyed it. The more I thought about what had happened, the more I realized that I had been right. Compromising on a food that isn’t the best choice for maximum health is one thing, but inviting pain and sickness is something else. People with allergies or debilitating food sensitivities must insist that their food is properly prepared even if a server or a cook is inconvenienced. And if a restaurant, or even a friend, serves something dangerous, stand up for yourself and don’t eat it.
I’ve been comparing green tea at two popular wifi hot spots. The only internet access at my parent’s old house is dial up. It is s o s l o w. So every other night my sister and I pack up our computers and head for wifi so that we can get caught up on e-mail and other internet based business.
I order the same thing wherever we go – unsweetened green tea, iced.
When we go to Borders, they brew the tea fresh – a process that takes about 5 minutes. They told me all the steps they go through. When we go to Starbucks, the green tea is already made and in a pitcher. They pour it up while I pay for it.
The Borders freshly brewed tea has a slightly bitter taste. It’s not bad. In fact after the jolt of the first sip, it is very good. The Starbucks tea is smoother.
I have to admit that I like Starbucks a little better, but I suspect that Borders is better for me since it is fresh. Either way, it has been fun to enjoy green tea while we furiously sort through e-mail messages.
I’m starting the third week at my parents’ house. My sister and I have made so much progress. We have one room and one closet left to investigate. I have eaten really well - only two avoid foods. I think that is somewhat extraordinary for being away from home. One of those was a dessert for my sister’s birthday. The other was potato chunks that came with one of the most amazing egg dishes. It was a Greek frittata. The eggs were topped with asparagus, artichoke, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. It was an outstanding combination.
I have made sure to exercise every day. It’s best if I get up early and walk or run before breakfast. Once the day starts, it’s hard to find time as we get busier and busier with projects. Sometimes exercise comes in surprising places. This morning, for instance, I realized that I had gotten the day wrong for the heavy trash pickup. We suddenly saw the truck a block away and raced around lugging a picnic table, ping pong table, three computers & two monitors and a mattress & box spring out to the drive way. That will get your heart racing.
For the most part, I have eaten meat and veggie bowls. Meat choices have been ground beef, rotisserie chicken, brisket, salmon, and turkey breast. Vegetables have included peas, green beans, parsnips, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, carrots, black beans, pumpkin, broccoli and more. My niece teases me about the combinations I put in a bowl. I think adding hummus to green beans or barbeque sauce to turnip greens tastes good, but she laughs calls it “Aunt Suzanne’s food.”