food for thought

Well, let me tell you first that I have not gained weight, actually down about four pounds.  I have seen people whom I met when we first embarked last March (can it be?) and who I think have gained about 15 pounds each by the look of them.  It's not hard to do.  The food is abundant, constantly supplied and beautifully served. (So is the wine.)

Every day is different. On a long trip like this one meets people who are delightful to be with (and some not so) and a choice of food and venues makes it easy to make new social arrangements each day. One develops favourites among the restaurants as well as among the fellow diners. And the activities of the day often dictate the choice of venues as well as of food. 

I've mentioned Sit-and-be-Fit, a half hour exercise routine available only on Sea Days because otherwise the land excursions trump the shipboard activities.  I found that eating breakfast too soon before the exercise provoked a discomfort: too much food or of the wrong kind sat heavily. So I have learned to eat on the outdoor pool deck immediately after my swim; it's open to the sea and the pool,  but with a roof and windows. I can eat in my suit and bathrobe and help myself to the breakfast buffet.  I choose sliced oranges and a ham and a cheese slice on a baguette slice plus a couple of dates and pecans, with English Breakfast Tea,  enough protein to supply energy for the fitness routine or for an early a.m. excursion.  I like variety, though, so this morning I had a bowl of low-fat granola instead and it sat okay.  

The open deck is called the Terrace Grill and it offers, in addition to a breakfast buffet (continental breakfast),  a BBQ lunch: various burgers, fish or chicken, plus fries, and a selection of salad ingredients, plus ice cream.  The burgers are gigantic and if I have one I usually split it with a friend. The Terrace Cafe on the other side of the pool/ship has an air-conditioned indoor dining area and an outdoor deck with sunshine and umbrellas. It's a glorious cafeteria with endless choices and ethnic specials.  I have trouble making up my point in the face of so many choices.  I walk up and down either side of this food aisle before choosing. Some dishes are cooked to order (omelets or scrambled eggs at breakfast; various stir-frys, make-up-your own pasta, and so on). Waiters help with the carrying and bring beverages, soft or alcoholic, and tea or coffee.  I like being waited on totally so I limit my visits to this cafe depending on the specialities they offer, the weather on the sunshine deck and the people I want to dine with.  Sometimes, we are back so late from an excursion that we must go to the Terrace for lunch because it closes later in the afternoon.

There are two specialty restaurants: one specializing in Italian cuisine and one in grilled food, available by reservation. It's not exclusive but you have to book ahead.  Two things I love in Toscana, the Italian room: roasted garlic served with the baguettes and other breads; and my favourite dessert: a minuscule dish of crème brûlée.  They serve a quintet of deserts, tiny servings of their specialties.  I want the one only and they're quite willing to let me have it.  The hardest part of ordering it is getting a very small coffee spoon without the espresso coffee it goes with. 

And then there's the Grand Dining Room, which is comforting and comfortable. The nightly newsletter, Currents, always includes a separate sheet with the next day's menus for the Grand. I tuck it into my purse and ponder it during the day as I decide what I will have, depending on the calorie count and what I've been doing, plus how I feel and what wine I have on hand. I buy a "cellar" of seven wines to choose from; so far I've had three cellars' worth. I'll go into detail about the menus in another blog. This evening I plan to go to The Terrace Cafe for dinner because they have sushi and sashimi, which I love, and haven't had for several weeks.  

And I'm meeting friends for lunch in the Terrace because it's  a lovely day and I want to get warm. The air-conditioning on  the ship is bracing, not to say aggressive. I carry a blanket around with me to most of the large meeting rooms, and I asked for an extra blanket for my bed because wouldn't you know, I have a room-mate who is hot all the time and who complains about the heat. So we have AC  in the cabin.  

It's okay.  I'm happy, and well-fed.