Here is how I managed a 2-day visit from a good friend and colleague. I wanted to minimize effort, eat my preferred food, and accommodate his preferences. My visitor has a favorite restaurant we went to a few times and I prepared the other meals. My strategy was to buy some foods the visitor will like and these could supplement foods I prepare. For the restaurant, I tried two strategies, as I’ll describe.
Groceries I got for the guest were (warning: unhealthy foods approaching): bagels, bread, butter, cream cheese, jam, parmesan cheese, tostada chips, and salsa. I figured these could serve as additions and appetizers to the foods I cook.
Here were our meals.
Thursday lunch at his favorite diner. I tried a salad-and-supplement strategy: I looked at the menu, found out what all the raw veggies are from the various salad offerings and asked them to make a big salad consisting of lettuce, spinach, shaved carrots, mushrooms, green onions, and radishes, with dressing on the side. I supplemented with food I brought: a baked oriental yam (sweet potato), some cooked broccoli, and dressing made from raspberry balsamic vinegar and chia seeds. Boy was that filling. However, the salad ingredients were all kind of limp and old looking. I had a stomach ache for the next 15 hours and I wonder if it was from less-than-fresh lettuce and spinach. As usual, I had to conclude that I like my own food better, and it doesn’t give me a stomach ache.
Thursday Dinner. I had baked a butternut squash earlier in the day, and had some cooked rice and beans in the fridge; and some frozen veggies: corn, peas, green beans and carrots. I had half a squash with a little bit of rice and beans, and veggies on the side, which I enjoyed very much. I offered my guest parmesan cheese but he was happy just having the squash and veggies. He also had the chips and salsa. And I cut up some carrots and sugar snap peas to snack on, which he enjoyed. Later on we shared a grapefruit. Visitor enjoyed the last of the scotch that I brought back from Scotland a while back. I had some gas that night—maybe from the icky salad and the beans? Lesson learned: avoid beans when entertaining guests. Haha.
Friday morning I threw some potatoes and sweet potatoes into the oven and cooked up some veggies (Brussels sprouts and cauliflower). I made some snack bags for me and visitor with sliced carrots, jicama, sugar snap peas and celery, apple, and orange. My visitor was very happy about this. We went to the Y for some exercise while the potatoes cooked. I made some teecchino and soy milk and put it in a thermos.
Brunch at the diner. I was not in the mood for more restaurant food after my salad stomach ache, so I ordered some herbal tea and tried to be a little discreet about eating my baked oriental yam and cooked veggies (Brussels sprouts and cauliflower). We gave the server a 40% tip so she would earn the same amount as if I had eaten an entrée (it was still cheaper for me than if I had ordered an entrée).
Friday Lunch: I had a baked potato and veggies. We nibbled on the veggie and fruit snacks during the day. We took a coffee break and I enjoyed my favorite drink (my thermos of teecchino and soy milk) and so did my visitor (a mocha coffee drink).
Dinner: potato fries and veggies. Visitor enjoyed some more chips and salsa, as well as the potato fries, veggies, and sugar snap peas. Alcohol is the hardest thing for us to deal with because we used to enjoy drinking together. I feel uncomfortable because I know I’m disappointing him, and I also worry: what if we can’t have fun without drinking? He offered to buy some alcohol-free beer but that doesn’t appeal to me much. I offered to buy wine but he didn’t want to drink alone. Fortunately, we managed to have fun after all.
Saturday morning, he had a bagel and coffee and I had oatmeal and teecchino, and we said our goodbyes. Everything turned out okay I think.