Lest you think my eating/cooking experiences are all fancy or all classy, let me tell you about where I ate lunch yesterday, and a sad, sad consequence of eating healthy.
My family and I joined some friends for lunch at Gatti’s Pizza in Round Rock (Gatti-Town, to be specific) after the service we attended at my mom’s church.
Now, my family literally grew up on Gatti’s. It was a local chain founded and based in Austin. We’d go to celebrate birthdays, after our swim meets, when we wanted to watch a big football game (we didn’t have cable), or just on a weeknight when my dad come home early. I have three siblings, and we all loved the pizza and pastas. Gatti’s was a treat that never lost its sway. Heck, even my parents liked it.
The pizza is decent – medium crust, a spicy-sweet sauce, with a nicely-browned cheese mix. They made normal variations like sausage, pepperoni and supreme. They had a couple dessert pizzas, like Dutch Apple Treat and cinnamon sticks. The pastas were good too; they had spaghetti with meat and marinara sauce that you could ladle on yourself (woohoo!), and mac & cheese at some locations.
I’m certain that Gatti’s biggest draw to our palates was that it was an all-you-can-eat buffet. We affectionately called it “Fatty’s” for the feeling we had after eating there. We hated the drive home after eating Gatti’s, because the car’s movement on the down hills hurt our stomachs.
Back in the day, though, before I knew or cared that overeating was bad for your body, I liked Gatti’s.
Enter healthy eating. I got serious about taking care of my body in high school, when I wanted to become a better runner. I started to learn about food as fuel, and that eating the right types of food could make you perform and feel better. I mean, not like its a new concept, I’d just never applied it to myself before. Out with the Fritos and Pop Tarts, in with the whole grains and vegetables!
With all its benefits, of course I’m not sorry I started eating better… but it did have a few drawbacks.
The biggest drawback to healthy eating is that unhealthy/low-quality food doesn’t taste as good anymore :( This is fine for most of the time. It’s nice not to be tempted to eat fast food, ever.
But then you find yourself facing a meal at Gatti’s, or some other place you used to love, and it’s gross.
I ended up eating a few slices of pizza, as well as some decent salad bar vegetables (cucumber, bell pepper, red cabbage). The pizza wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t good, and afterward my stomach hurt. Eating healthy/cooking takes all the fun out of eating bad, even the foods you used to enjoy.
I still love pizza, but Gatti’s just isn’t quality enough for me to be like “yay! We’re going to Gatti’s!” Healthy eating, AKA: say goodbye to a piece of your past!
The good thing about my lunch was that the fun of eating a meal with old friends hadn’t changed. I got to spend time with some friends from high school who still go to that church, and we had a great time catching up. We talked about the stuff we did in high school, just stupid stuff because we had so much free time. I felt like a part of me got to wake up again, because of the memories.
Food and eating was and still is really important to me. It’s more than just sustenance. But life is bigger than our experiences in it with food. Ultimately, no matter where I dine, going with people I love is the best part.
But a huge, fresh, salty, hand-crafted pizza pie doesn’t hurt.