The best fast food ever

Dog with chef hat holding wooden spoon in mouth.

I long for opposable thumbs.

I am not much of a chef. I like to cook but I can’t just throw a meal together, unless it’s a five-minute hot meal, say a tuna melt, a pizza bagel, or poached eggs. My motor skills slow my chopping–I’d probably lose a digit or two if I sped up–and I measure, weigh, and combine just as the recipe tells me to. Several hours later, dinner is served, with no help from the dog.

But for those of us on a low-sodium diet, those with bum livers and a propensity for fluid retention, there’s no way around cooking. All the time. For every meal. No cereal for breakfast, no KD for lunch, no Lean Cuisine for dinner; it’s homemade all the way. We cook all our meals, make our own soup, and bake our own bread. If you take a gander at the sodium counts on prepared foods–beware the canned soup aisle!–you’ll understand why. I may sound righteous, but trust me, if I could pawn dinner off on Mrs. Michelina, I would.

So it’s no surprise that restaurant fast food is out, completely. I can get a baked potato at Wendy’s or maybe a yogurt or undressed green salad somewhere else, but that’s about it. I do long for fast food, though. By “fast food”, I mean healthy, nourishing, low-sodium fare that shows up on my table at mealtime, food that I haven’t had to prepare.

We are lucky enough to have many friends who provide low-sodium options when we come for dinner. Such an effort is going above and beyond, since I’d be easier to feed were I a vegetarian gluten intolerant gal with soy, nut, and shellfish allergies. Please be aware that I do not expect modified meals when I come to your home. I will eat anything that is put in front of me with gratitude that I have not had to make it myself. I also know, from repeated experience, that the consequences of a higher sodium meal will sort themselves out in time.

Picture of messy kitchen sink, dishes piled high.

The kitchen when Annie is cooking.

And so it came to pass that J. and I had a low-sodium feast bestowed upon us last Sunday by two generous and caring friends we’ll call The Groovies. The Groovies went to the trouble (and expense) of procuring and delivering two multi-course low-sodium meals from a personal chef. We have been slowly consuming this food–more like four or five meals than two–all week. What an absolute pleasure it has been.

I’m sure J. has been pleased to be eating food that is not of my making. I don’t think she minds my cooking; she just minds the way I cook. The mess I make, the time I take, the excessive precision and rigid recipe adherence. Sometimes she takes over just because she knows our meal will be ready a heck of a lot faster and with less kitchen chaos in its wake.

Spotless kitchen, nothing on counters.

J.’s kitchen in the midst of dinner prep.

But this week, both of us have had a true break. We have popped prepared food in the oven or microwave and consumed the spoils with glee. There have been fewer meals to assemble and fewer dishes to wash.

Thank you, Groovies. You made our week. All my fingers are intact, our kitchen is not a disaster zone, and meals have been peaceful and yummy.

Have I ever mentioned that we have great friends?


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