Food Diaries, Then and Now

by Jessica Machado

“Then” data collected from twentysomething journals.

Most Expensive Restaurant I’ve Eaten at Thus Far, 1997:

Where: Chez Savy, Paris. Why: I was 19 in Paris and thought I should be fancy. Price: 250 francs, my daily travel allowance, a.k.a. $45. Noted: The French onion soup was nice and cheesy, but the chicken and complimentary ice cream dessert were mediocre. Also, FUCK YEAH ESCARGOT. Like traditional French people, I drank wine at dinner.

Most Expensive Restaurant I’ve Eaten at in the Past Year, 2014:

Where: Colicchio & Sons, New York. Why: Friends’ wedding celebration. Price: Not sure, but every woman in the main dining room was either dolled up like a corporate Jennifer Aniston or Patsy from Ab Fab. Noted: I was high on my own sophistication (or Top Chef knowledge) for catching the sour-bitter-umami notes and balances in texture in the four-course meal that was placed gently, and positioned correctly, in front of me. Not an ounce of guilt was suffered (okay, I thought about having guilt, then I relished in THE BEST THING TO EVER TOUCH MY TONGUE) at eating foie-gras-infused sour cherries. I did feel bad, though, about the budget luau food I served at my own wedding just a few months earlier. Like a seasoned wedding guest, I kept my wineglass refreshed by the 47 model-waiters who looked like they were killing time between Abercrombie gigs.

***Saturday, day off from restaurant job, 2001:

Bowl of Kroger frosted flakes
Another pour of flakes to balance out leftover bowl milk
Another splash of milk to balance out overpoured flakes
Day-old danish roommate brought home from cafe job
Ham and cheese slice on fridge-crusted tortilla
Spoonful of peanut butter
One more spoonful of peanut butter
Fries stolen from buddy’s plate at bar
7 Sol beers (on special for $2)
2 Jager shots (bought by that one friend who always does this shit)
Moons Over My Hammy
Negative ¾ Moons Over My Hammy

Saturday, day off from office job, 2014:

Fried eggs with an Eggo waffle because they’re the best foods in my kitchen and I deserve the best on a Saturday
Brunch eggs, baked with gouda and pancetta, because I deserve better than what my fridge/cupboard offers once I feel like leaving the house
Coffee, mimosa
¼ wedge of sharp cheddar, half a sleeve of crackers
Bar wings Brooklynized with sriracha and honey, dipped in local-farmed buttermilk ranch sauce; catfish sandwich with fries dipped in jalapeno mayo — all split and bartered with husband for greater fries-to-wings ratio
Whatever sauvignon blanc the bar offers x2
Another glass of wine with a friend we happen to run into
One more — just a half glass, please — before we head home
Water, water, water, water

***Following Sunday, don’t have to work till 5 p.m., 2001:

Didn’t even open my eyes until noon. Showered, gurgled, Excedrin’d, searched for carbs. Found another day-old (two-days old?) pastry on the counter and grabbed it before heading out the door to meet Aaron guys at The Abbey because I’d said I’d be there before all that Jager happened.

Only had $25 left in my account, so ordered a blueberry martini. It was large and gorgeous with real blueberries in it. Felt better than I had in the past 24 hours, so tried the watermelon martini too, believing this bit of fruit was a vitamin-replenishing agent like Gatorade. Realized this wasn’t the case; just had a good buzz. Detoured to Mickey D’s on the way to work and spent my last three bucks for maximum pretend normalcy/minimum suspicion from my boss.

Following Sunday, still don’t have to work but should get to writing at some point, 2014:

Got up with the sun, per usual. Begged husband to get bagels because my head was too sore to put on pants and I’d had too many eggs yesterday. “Yeah, I’m well aware,” he said, scrunching his nose. Ate bagel, Excedrin’d, watched garbage, didn’t move from couch, drank lots and lots of water. Felt better around noon, ate rest of cracker sleeve and some cheese. Opened laptop, stared at wall. Decided to make makeshift baby nachos with leftover cheese. Wrote a sentence while getting chip grease on computer keys. Wiped chip grease with finger. Licked finger. Ignored texts about doing anything with anybody. Yelped new taco place down the street.

***Lowest point, age 25:

Lots of stuff in my head right now. As I walked out of the door to my mom’s house last Friday, it hit me that she might not make it another year — obviously, not the most comfortable of realizations, but as usual, now that’s it out of sight, it’s out of mind. Yesterday I got pissy at work and wanted to break down for no real reason. I bought the Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet and basically starved myself for two days, drinking only this juice crap. I still haven’t eaten much since and constantly think about being skinny. I hate all of my clothes, took everything out of my closet that I don’t wear and now want to buy shit I don’t like but will be practical for summer… I know I’m worrying and analyzing these things because these are the things I can control.

Above-average point, age 36:

Today, as I sat at my desk, having little control over being expected to sit at this desk if I want to work here and get paid, my mind wandered to the boho swing dress I want to buy at Anthropologie a block away, then quickly segued to debating whether to eat ramen or a banh mi for lunch, before I snuck in some writing, before I was actually given real work to attend to. At around 8 p.m., I got bummed about still being at this desk and about my choices that brought me to Office Life, so I clicked on a photo that I saved on my desktop for this reason. It’s of my husband, age two, strumming a mustard-yellow plastic guitar, with a smile across his face that can only be described as the essence of joy, and I was reminded how grateful I am for him, for his humor and his humoring, for outlets like writing and hiking and strolling at dusk, for friends with empathy, for the ability to cry and feel sorry for myself when necessary and not feel bad for being unproductive when I just need to chill the fuck out, for recognizing when an unhealthy habit is getting a tad out of control, and for understanding that when I pursue bad habits only to control them that there is something more emotional I’m denying myself and that I need to FEEL IT, whatever it is. And then I get back to writing. Eventually.

***Audible internal digestive noises, age 25:

[No idea. Too busy not paying attention. See everything noted above.]

Audible internal digestive noises, age 36:

Gloopgloopglluuuuuuublooploopabagurgblabagurggurgbloopbloopblooooop[Scooby Doo-like “huh?”]bloopgloophuh?glurgbloopgloopgurggurghuh?errrrrrblubglubblupppblophuh?glooooggloooopblaurphuh?gurrrrrerrrrblooopgloopbloopgurggglurpgbloopblophuh?gloopbloopgurbloopbloopbloopgurghuh?gloopglurgblurpblurpbloperrrrrrrglopgloopblopbloopglurgblurgglubglubglubglooploop

Previously: Reviews, Then and Now

Photo via elisharene/flickr.

Jessica Machado writes about what kind of grown-up she is here.