Some day, I will have all the time I need to write this column. Not this week, but someday.
I did begin my latest attempt at eating a little healthier last week and had a semi-comical solo moment in my kitchen Monday morning as I struggled to figure out how to assemble my salad stuff into a lunch kit to take to the office. I’ll cite a lack of coffee, and the fact it was a Monday morning, but I stood there staring at my collection of berries, spinach, cheeses and chicken breast for 10 or 15 minutes as if it were the world’s toughest jigsaw puzzle.
After a few minutes of trying to figure out which components should go where (to avoid a big mess of wilted spinach afew hours later) I just gave up, grabbed a tub of chicken salad and a tube of crackers for that day’s office meal.
I did manage to assemble an oversized salad for dinner that evening, but I’m pretty sure an actual nutritionist would faint if forced to evaluate the meal. I have to learn there’s not a lot of point to eating spinach salads if I’m just going to load it with an excess of shredded cheeses, full-fat Ranch dressing and, of course, a fistful of bacon bits. And, as always, the concept of “portion control” seems to be beyond my reckoning. I think the important part is that I’m trying, and I do appreciate the suggestions for affordable, less-unhealthy meal options. To date, however, I’ve received no suggestions about less-toxic, yet affordable, things to order at fast-food restaurants and want to solicit suggestions on that subject. I fear I’m asking a question that doesn’t have many good answers.
I also have not yet tried the unusual peanut butter and mustard sandwich suggestion I wrote about last week, although I was tickled to hear I was completely wrong with my conclusion that the specialty sandwich isn’t a “healthy” option. One of my top advisors wrote, “For the record that peanut butter sandwich is extremely healthy. The peanut butter is high in protein, fiber & MUFA fats which unlike most fats are great for your muscles (especially your heart). All mustard is good for acute pain and contains tumeric, which is the king of all spices as an anti-inflammatory and even has antioxidants. No fat & little to no calories. Honey is also antibacterial and anti-fungal. It actually helps the muscles maintain glycogen levels. It's also a probiotic. It actually helps with allergies and sinus problems. It works best when it's local. I went to the class on home remedies at the library last night and, according to Amanda Clark, Artrip’s Market sells honey made by someone in Argillite. Her son can't take allergy medicine and function, so he takes a tablespoon of honey everyday. When he doesn't, his head gets all stopped up. As for the 100% whole wheat, it has B vitamins, fiber and protein keeping you full and regular. All total the sandwich is 379 calories & 148 are from fat. But all the fat in this sandwich is MUFAS and actually help you feel more full and eat less. He (the reader who suggested it) couldn't make a better sandwich. You can get a huge jar of Great Value Natural peanut butter at Wally World for like $3, and the bread store on 32nd & Winchester has Nature's Own 100% whole wheat for $1.”
I stopped by the new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant at 205 Town Center Road, better known as the former Stewart’s Hot Dogs location near Texas Roadhouse, Moe’s and Applebee’s in Ashland last week to check the place out during their first day of business. There was a big crew hard at work inside and everything looked great, but one of the guys asked me to come back in two or three weeks if I wanted to write something in the paper. I thanked him and left, thinking “Does he realize the first-day-at-new-restaurant-in-town story doesn’t really work two or three weeks later?”
It all worked out fairly well the next day, however, as a group of newspaper employees placed an online order for pick-up at Jimmy John’s. The report from the crew was nothing short of stellar - the sandwiches were ready in a hurry, all prepared according to order, and the bottom line wasn’t bad at all. The lady coordinating the order was also tremendously pleased to find each person’s name had been written on their sandwich wrapper, eliminating the need to open everyone’s order to see who got what. Also easing the woes of an office order, the receipt had each person’s name with their order and amount owed.
And, I scored a menu from the box the office sandwiches arrived in. To my pleasant disbelief, the most expensive thing listed is The J.J. Gargantuan, a massive sandwich that sells for $7.69.
So, the new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is now open in Ashland and I will go back in a couple of weeks (after careful study of their menu) to write a more extensive story, or at least get a note for this column. In addition to great sandwiches, the restaurant has built a reputation for outstanding delivery service that is “So Fast, you’ll freak,” largely due to their clever ad campaigns featuring a character named Ed. They also have an excellent website with easy-to-use nutrition information (something I’m learning to use more of), as well as a simple method of placing an order without making a phone call. For more information, or to place an order, call (606) 326-0011.
I’m probably only going to make things worse by attempting to clarify something I wrote in favor of a recent non-family-friendly theatre production in the basement of the Pendleton Arts Center in downtown Ashland, but here I go again.
I actually only heard from two people who disagreed with what I said (meaning there are hundreds more who I haven’t talked to), and have to say I was thoroughly impressed that neither made it a moral or spiritual argument, or accused me of trying to poison America’s youth. Instead, each offered their personal disappointment in the overall trend to include offensive language (specifically “the F word”) in practically everything they see today. One made a particularly interesting point when he said, “It seems today that a lot of folks equate the use of profanity in public with sophistication.” The other observed that our society has become incredibly desensitized to words that once held more impact for/against those who spoke them, as well as those who tolerated their use. After decades working in newsrooms and radio stations, traveling and performing with musicians, as well as hanging out with and interviewing active-duty military and veterans alike, I suspect I’m extra guilty of being desensitized to this stuff.
My point, however, was that I would like to see more options for local entertainment that don’t fit the local definition of “family friendly” - with plenty of warnings so nobody accidentally exposes a themselves or a child to something that might offend them. I don’t want that for anyone’s children or to seem sophisticated or disrespectful, but I do want it for myself and anyone else who doesn’t feel the need to have everything pre-sanitized or ruled out for our own protection.
For example, I really don’t like the idea of city officials denying things like concerts at the riverfront based on fears that local audiences can’t be trusted to drink beer in public and tarnish the old “city of seven Sundays” image. Similar concerns have resulted in rules that actually prevent and prohibit anyone from developing a private entertainment venue in the city (something like Newport’s old Southgate House would be a great fit for local music lovers).
I carry legitimate resentment for that. We have plenty of local activities (translation - anything and everything) geared toward kids and families, and many or most of those events are offered free of charge. I just don’t see a problem with having a few things (within limits, obviously) that are clearly marked as not for those audiences, especially if there’s a crowd ready and willing to buy tickets to see the show.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at