The Ryan Report -- Episode 222 "Food to Die For"
Ryan's Bio | Read the episode recap
Back in the day, I'd occasionally end up on bad first dates. I know, I know... hard to imagine that happening to my charming self, but what can I say. Sometimes you've got all the ingredients, but they just don't mix right.
Anyway, we'd both be scrambling for conversation, trying to fill in the awkward moments, and I'd always end up getting asked, "So... what was your favorite meal growing up?" Now, why this is supposedly a fascinating question that is guaranteed to jumpstart a bad date is beyond me. Nobody's ever going to tell their grandchildren that they discovered their soulmate when they found out that she or he loved hamburgers at the age of seven. And, to make matters worse, I don't even have a cool answer. I mean, Mushroom pizza is about the least interesting answer I could give... even though it's true.
See, I was raised in a "mixed marriage" -- by which I mean, Mom was a vegetarian and Dad was a carnivore. So we'd get meat on special occasions (like my Dad's birthday), but most of the time we were straight up veggie eaters. All the kids were talking about how much they loved Pepperoni pizza or Cheese pizza and I was all about the Mushroom pizza. So, it wasn't exactly the coolest thing to be at the time -- it was basically one step removed from being an alien. When you're eleven and excited about your mom's Lentil Loaf, it sorta marks you as the weird one in class.
Nowadays, I've pretty much an omnivore. When you work for the NYPD Homicide Squad and pull the kind of hours we pull, you're just happy to have a chance to eat, period. There's no time to be picky -- even if it's a lumpy hot dog from the greasiest stand on Broadway, it's still the best lunch you're going to find at 3 AM.
So, recently Espo and I struck up a competition to see who could eat the most disgusting item. Well, it's more like he struck up the competition, 'cause we both know he'll definitely win it. I keep telling him it's one of those "no win" scenarios -- even if he "wins," he still loses because he had to eat something incredibly disgusting. Of course, this only fuels the guy. And trust me, you don't want to know how far he'll go to win...
What with all this mega-unhealthy eating (and once you've gotten into a disgusting food competition with Javi Esposito, you know you're in trouble), I've started trying to take steps outside of working to live a healthier lifestyle. Jenny and I even enrolled in a healthy cooking class, "You and Your Wok!," in an attempt to learn some meals that aren't going to put me into an early grave. Unfortunately, we've been working so much overtime lately on cases that it's just been Jenny and the Wok at the class...
My Mom also sent over some of the recipes I grew up on and I had a chance to relive my Lentil Loaf memories. Maybe it's just that I made it wrong, or maybe my taste buds have grown up, but it really doesn't taste quite as good as I remember. At the very least, I got to see another side how awesome Jenny is... She ate the whole thing and told me that she wished she'd grown up on it too. Seeing how I secretly ditched half my plate, I know that's love talking.
Hmm... You know, now that I think about it, maybe that's the way to beat Espo at his own competition. If there's one thing that man hates, it's healthy eating. Just the name "Lentil Loaf" should be enough to make him get queasy. Think I may have just made myself some easy money.... Thanks Mom!