Food is a major issue in our house nowadays.
I buy it.
I cook it.
The Ultra Marathon Runner (UMR) eats it …. ALL!
When you are running a minimum of 70 miles a week then I get that you need fuel for your runs – but the UMR never leaves any food for me!
FOOD WARS WITH THE ULTRA MARATHON RUNNER
So that I might actually get to eat any peanut butter I bring into the house I now have to hide it. It is eaten by the spoonful by the UMR straight out of the jar ( or by scooping it out on his fingers if he is really hungry!), He puts it on toast, crumpets, puts it in sandwiches when he goes on long runs. It is one of his 'go-to' 'instant access foods'!
I would give away my current secret hideaways here, but I daren’t in case the UMR reads this blog. I used to hide the peanut butter in places in the kitchen he would never go; inside a casserole dish or inside the steamer.
The UMR is a lover of food but not a lover of cooking, so I thought my secret stashes were safe until he decided to turn the kitchen upside down because he was looking for a water bottle to take to the start line of a race. My secret hideouts had been found!
Peanut butter isn’t the only thing I hide. In fact, I have a secret hideaways for:
1. Food that doesn’t require any cooking. Think anything that is easily accessible; nuts, fruit, flapjacks, cake, biscuits, coleslaw straight out the tub. The UMR will just see it and eat it. This includes anything that might be a good snack for a runner, cooked cold sausages or chicken in the fridge (cooked!) doesn’t last long.
2. Food that I have bought and might want to eat later in the day or keep until tomorrow e.g. yogurts, the odd treat like a bar of chocolate, bacon, fresh bread or the UMR will just see it and eat it
3. Food that will form part of a meal or recipe later in the week, otherwise, yes you guessed it, if the UMR sees it he will eat it!
Bacon, sausages, eggs, and bread do not last 5 minutes in our household.
I sound mean, don’t I? But the UMR is just an eating machine. If I don’t nail it down, hide it or actually eat it myself, it will be consumed in minutes of entering the house.
I didn’t own a biscuit tin until the UMR moved in, and to be honest, the one we have now is of little use to me, as when I occasionally go to it, there are just crumbs in the bottom. The UMR has been there well before me.
"I DO THE WASHING UP"
Not long after the UMR moved in, I spent a Sunday afternoon preparing a lovely roast chicken dinner. We had the works, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, cauliflower cheese, Brussel sprouts, roast carrots, swede, even Yorkshire pudding. It was delicious.
After sitting in from of the TV for a bit to let the food go down, the UMR offered to do the washing up, and as I had spent time preparing the dinner, I was mightily pleased he had offered to clear up.
Now I have made this mistake just once – and will never do it again.
After a while, the clattering of saucepans and sloshing of washing up water had stopped, so I wandered into the kitchen to see why it was so quiet. And there he was - the UMR, gnawing away at the leftover chicken carcass like he was Henry VIII at a banquet.
What I had ‘stupidly’ left in the kitchen to cool down, slice and put in the fridge to make sandwiches from was now just a pile of bones. The UMR just stood there with a grin on his face licking his greasy fingers.
I’m not going to lie, the air turned a little blue, as the leftover roast potatoes had also been consumed along with the remaining Yorkshire puddings and parsnips. I wouldn’t have minded but the UMR’s plate had been piled high, and he ate twice as much as me at the table – but the sight of food just makes the UMR want to eat it. His offer to do the washing up was just a ruse to get his hands on the leftover food.
The UMR’s need for food holds no bars. He frequently has 3 breakfasts; a bowl of cereal, poached eggs on toast, and extra bread on the side. If he has soup for lunch this needs to be accompanied by AT LEAST 8 slices of bread and butter. I’ve already documented his ability to eat 3 roast dinners, and finish off roast chickens.
Talking of chicken, last year I had spent time preparing chicken for a curry. I love making curry and had made my own curry paste, mixed it with a little yogurt, and then had added it to diced chicken breast. I’d left it in the fridge to marinate overnight – always best for a fuller flavor.
But you know where this story is going, don’t you!
Later in the evening I went to the kitchen and there was a strong smell of the curried chicken, and I couldn’t work out why. Everything has been cleared away several hours ago, and this was a strong fresh smell.
I asked the UMR if he had enjoyed the chicken he had tasted from the fridge.
“Yeah, it tasted great, but how did you know I had nicked some”
“Well, 1. The kitchen stinks of curry, and 2. As you have just eaten RAW chicken, I thought I had better check on you to make sure that you don’t feel ill!”
“Raw chicken? I ate raw chicken”
“Yes, I haven’t cooked it yet, it is marinating in the fridge for tomorrow’s curry. How on earth did you not realize that it wasn’t cooked? You do know you aren’t supposed to eat raw chicken”
(An amount of alcohol may have been consumed by the UMR before the eating of the raw chicken, and we are very thankful that he did not have any after-effects from eating raw chicken).
FOOD RULES FOR THE ULTRA RUNNER
Food for the UMR is fuel. If he is hungry, he just has to have food. He doesn’t really care if it is flavourful or not. I mean who has half a loaf of bread with a tin of Heinz tomato soup?
Having lived together for a while we now have some food rules!
1. The biscuit tin is his domain – if he wants biscuits, he buys them
2. On finishing a meal, anything I want to save for another day goes straight in the fridge – anything left in the kitchen while the UMR is washing up is ‘free food’
3. We have ‘his’ and ‘her’ food. Mine generally requires cooking or some kind of preparation, he is ‘instant access’
SHARING IS CARING ... NOT IN THIS RUNNING HOUSEHOLD!
We never order food in a restaurant that is supposed to be ‘shared’ - because we both know that although sharing is caring, this doesn’t apply to food!
In fact, we did this once when we flew out to Tenerife to visit the UMR’s dad. The UMR had been talking non-stop about a restaurant he loved on the island because the portions were so huge.
Sitting at the table he said, “ok, I’m going to order the 32oz T-bone steak, if you order the fish platter we can share” … so we did.
The fish platter presented to me was massive and could have easily fed all 4 of us at the table. The conversation was flowing and I was sampling the fish on the platter when I looked across at the UMR. The last morsel of T-Bone steak was about to go in his mouth.
“I thought we were supposed to be sharing,” I said
“Oh yeah, I forgot, sorry … are you going to eat any more of that fish platter or can I have it?”
A nice bottle of red wine can always make up for eating the last crumpet, biscuit, orange, banana, flapjack, hot cross bun, a slice of cheese, cold sausage, or the last scrapping of the peanut butter jar!
Thanks to UMR’s monumental eating habits, I’m nurturing quite a collection!