Thursday, August 4, 2016

How to Eat Like an Olympian

This summer seems to be one for the record books, and everyone thinks it is uncommonly warm. After a rainy May, we had a surprisingly mild June, only to be followed by a brutal July. 15 straight days when the temperature in Washington, D.C. hasn't been below 80 and several weeks in the mid-90s where -- along with the humidity -- heat indexes are in the 100s. Weathermen say to expect more of the same for August.

The last few summers we have been in Washington, D.C. (most recently three years ago), Elise has taken the kids to visit her parents in Spokane and missed the worst of the summer weather, While it was incredibly, brutally hot while she was gone, the weather did not let up upon their return.

Both Elise and I have been incredibly busy. Elise took the kids to the sprayground on Monday (a uniquely DC/Northern Virginia thing, I think. Maybe not. We didn't have spraygrounds when I was a kid in South Florida. Why would you, I guess, if you had the beach? But swimming in a pool during the summer seems to be a thing reserved for only the extremely privileged.  There are few public pools. Private pools charge exorbitant membership fees -- I could fly my family to Paris for less -- and waiting lists that are several years's like going to a restaurant and having the hostess tell you that there will be a seven hour wait for a table. Spraygrounds are playgrounds with fountains. They're free and they kids love them, so I guess everybody does win in the end). There, she received an email inquiry to do food styling for a cookbook author who would be appearing on one of the D.C. local affiliate's morning shows.

Ironically, just the night before, Sunday, Elise stood in the kitchen and asked me rhetorically, "What am I even doing?

"I take pictures of food and put them on Instagram? That's not a job! Nobody is going to pay me to do that!"

Well, fate intervened and decides that, yes, someone would pay her to do just exactly that!

When I got home from work Monday night, Elise ran to Whole Foods in search of all the ingredients she needed to prepare recipes out of "The Plant Power Way Cookbook". Ingredients such as spirulina powder and flaxseed. Then, with the help of a friend, she spent literally all day Tuesday preparing and styling the dishes before running back out to Whole Foods for more ingredients.

She got out of bed at 2:30 unable to sleep. I heard her tinkering around in the kitchen before dozing back off. Before she left, she told me she couldn't sleep and was going to go do yoga. I didn't think twice.

She did end up doing a half hour of yoga sometime around 4:30 a.m. I am impressed with her ability to center herself and find inner calm when she had every right to be completely freaking out. I helped her pack the car when I got up. Our new babysitter whose services we only have for the next few days showed up right at 6:45, and Elise and I hugged and kissed Peter and Sam who had just appeared from his room seconds before we were to walk out the door.

We drove into the city together, taking advantage of the carpool only option on 66 East, and she dropped me off somewhere around Pennsylvania and 26th where I walked the rest of the way to work. It was Elise's first time on a TV set and she was dispirited by the extent to which all the cameras and lighting were automated. She told me there was only two people on the set really, the producer and an intern, when I was picturing gaggles of cameramen, gaffes, lighting boys, and set designers scurrying about. It was exciting to hear about her experience. Not nearly as exciting, I imagine, as being there in person. And the finished product was amazing. Elise, the ever-the-perfectionist, thought the burger looked like crap, but I'll let you be the judge:

 You can see the video by clicking here

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