Autobiography of an Evolving Foodie  Triathlete

After four years of on-again, off-again food blogging, it’s time for an update. My life has changed considerably since I started this blog. The write-up that used to be here largely described my life as a foodie, and though I still identify in part as such, there’s a new part of me I now want to focus on. After completing my first Ironman, I knew that triathlon had muscled its way in on my relationship with food. Call it an affair of sorts. I still love food, but triathlon has changed that love. But more on that later.

I am a 30-something woman living in the North County beach town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. If you would ever have told a Prairie girl from Canada that she’d one day see the ocean on her bike commute to work each day, she’d have been speechless. And I still am. At summer camp in my teens, my friends affectionately called me the human garburator. For all of you non-Canadians, that’s a fancy word for a kitchen waste disposal unit. I still don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed, but being a triathlete sure has helped ease the sting.

I grew up with the best personal chef I could have asked for, descended from a line of matriarchal masters of field, kitchen, and table. Because of them, I was exposed to pierogie making that rolled into the wee hours of the night, cashew cinnamon buns, and of course, weinascht stollen:



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A few stints in the restaurant industry built on my good food foundation, and it was there I learned terms like reduction and roux. Witnessing people’s enjoyment of food has stuck with me—I still love watching true food lovers eat. Throughout my 20’s I got to live and eat in various places, all of which have shaped me. Beer in Benin, Americanos in Vancouver, barbecue in Syracuse, kitfo in D.C., and fish tacos in San Diego have all been part of the narrative of my life. And on we go.

In the original bio first posted here, I stated that my “interest in good food became more consuming.” Now, I would say that my interest is, more simply, in consuming good food. I wrote once that I was “keenly interested in food as art and as science, as a bearer of culture and focus of politics, and as an animal fuel and spiritual indulgence.” The part of me that wrote and thought that way is not dead, merely shelved as the “animal fuel” comparison takes precedence. In simpler terms, my appetite is directly proportional to my triathlon training. And in even simpler terms: I’m hungry.


After the Wildflower long-course triathlon, 2011.

I started this blog when I had the luxury of time to spend experimenting and creating in the kitchen. I was grateful for it, knowing things wouldn’t always be that way. I now have a full-time job, friends and family to love, and a 16-18 hour per week training schedule. I like T.V. a whole lot more, and am surrounded by good, affordable restaurants. In the reflection of all these things, one’s relationship with food is bound to change.

As for the original list I’d posted here of things I love, well, that too is ever-changing. (And that’s OK, because today, as Winnie the Pooh said, is the best day of all.) Some remain the same: good beer, standing on top of mountains in just my hiking boots, yoga, fallen leaves, fermentation, surprising friendships, and drinking coffee outside. But there are new ones now:  Torrey Pines repeats, lagoon runs, La Jolla Cove swims with the muffin crew, North County Masters, negative tides, and scones at Dudley’s bakery in the middle of 100-mile rides. These are the kinds of things you’ll be hearing about a little more. In place of things I used to have the time and desire for, like homemade bread, there will be a bit more in the way of energy bars, quick and satisfying breakfasts, and easy, healthy meals featuring spaghetti squash.

“Jen the foodie” hasn’t disappeared altogether, I’m just feeling more “Jen the triathlete” at this stage of life. But as with everything, stay tuned for further developments.