Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reflections #2: Scampi? Again?

View from the Leonardo Dining Room

When I first joined the ship I was in heaven. The food! The food! From day one I just strapped on the feed bag and went for it. I would start each day with smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel. Cereal? I don't think so. Lunch was an all-out exercise in carbo loading. And after snacking in the afternoon on bar snacks or dainty little afternoon-tea sandwiches there was dinner.

Every night a big meal: filet mignon, crab, lobster, prime rib, on and on it went. I developed quite a taste for caviar just because, well, it was there. One of our favourite meals was scampi. Our waiter knew it and would pile our plates ridiculously high as we halfheartedly begged him to stop.

And this was back in the day of midnight buffets, too. We worked hard and played harder. The buffets were an interruption in festivities, a chance to regroup and soak up some of the partying.

But a funny thing happened. Several months later and, ahem, several pounds later, I got tired of constantly eating so much food. I was exhausted, lethargic and running out of clothes that fit comfortably or rather fit at all. I was also getting tired of dressing up every night to go out for dinner.

So I started going to the crew mess for dinner. No need to dress to impress: I could just throw on something ratty and line up with everyone else in the cafeteria style mess, lush carpet replaced by cold concrete, ambient lighting by harsh fluorescent lights. After months of rich, heavy foods my system embraced Caribbean red beans and rice and within a couple of weeks I started to look and feel a bit more svelte.

Things were different back then. There were no spa choices on the menu. No healthy heart options. No vegetarian options. It was mostly rich food with richer sauces. But when I'm faced with the old "what shall I make for dinner," I miss it, and if any one's got a killer recipe for scampi, feel free to send me a copy!

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