Saturday, February 03, 2007


February 3, 2007

15,400 pounds of beef; 2,500 pounds of lamb; 3,100 pounds of pork; 2,050 pounds of veal; 1,900 pounds of sausage; 3,000 pounds of chicken; 2,200 pounds of turkey; 5,380 pounds of fish; and 900 pounds of lobster—

And that’s just the meat that a cruise ship of 2,618 people will consume on an average 7 day cruise, according to the literature we got on the cruise we took last week. In case you’re wondering, that works out to about 2 pounds of meat per person per day which I’m guessing is a little bit higher than the average daily recommendation.

As anyone who has ever cruised knows – the focus is always on the food. Our cruise was no exception. There was a trough, I mean buffet, which wrapped around the entire center of the ship (roughly the size of a Target store) that was constantly full of super-sized people waiting for made-to-order omelets or pizza or chicken wraps or waffles. There was also a formal dining room serving a full-course dinner every night as well as various grills and cafes around the ship. And there was room service available 24 hours a day. Since the food is included in the price, people are inclined to overeat –I mean overeat even more than your average American. I found the gluttony a bit off-putting—at first.

There was also plenty of healthy fare available on the cruise. I would like to report that I stayed away from the buffet, and only ate at the healthy spa café, but that would be a big fat, stinking lie.

I had good intentions at the start, as did my friend K. We compared notes at the end of the first day, pointing out where the healthy food could be found. “There’s a great salad bar and you never have to wait for it either. There’s never a line at the fruit bar either,” I said.

“Go figure,” she said. “And you can get salmon and vegetables at the spa café.”

On the second day I avoided all the crowds at the donut buffet and just had oatmeal and raisins—there wasn’t really a big rush to get to the oatmeal. I felt self-righteous for a few hours but by 10:00 I was ravenous and found myself waiting in the waffle line for a little bit of heaven. That same day, K., who weighs about 100 lbs soaking wet, admitted she had ditched the healthy spa café and gone for a made-to-order omelet and a pancake. “And a waffle,” her fiancé added. “Well, maybe a little one,” she said.

By the fourth day all attempts at eating healthy had gone out the window. K. had discovered the joys of 24-hour room service. She grew giddy and began ordering without even bothering to look at the menu, “What do you mean you don’t have biscuits and gravy!” she barked into the phone. “You have them up on the 11th floor in the buffet!”

And on the fifth day when they announced we would have to make an emergency medical stop in Cancun for a crewmember I turned to Jeff, my face full of concern and said, “God, I hope it isn’t the waffle guy!”

I’m home again and trying to eat normally which isn’t too hard considering I don’t have an all-you-can eat buffet that runs the length of my house. Last night as I drifted off to sleep I felt a familiar feeling in my stomach though I couldn’t quite place it. I described it to Jeff and he said, “I’m not sure, but I think that’s a hunger pang.” I drifted off to sleep dreaming of the four-o clock sushi bar and the afternoon sundae bar and the waffle man who will forever hold a dear place in my heart. I hope his appendectomy went okay.

Bon Voyage

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