Wednesday night, as regular readers may be aware, is bike-ride night; two or three hours, post-work, with friends, to return home around 8pm.
Ravenous, in fact.
Barely able to prioritise a shower over an evening meal.
My grasping need for calories overrides all other concerns and I have to eat. It’s primal. It’s prehistoric. It’s not so much trying to keep the wolf from the door as the wolf is already in the house, and if it doesn’t move fast I’m going to scoff the damn thing.
The kids are in bed and my wife has already eaten, which means I can refuel with whatever my inner caveman desires. The choices I make in this state, on a Wednesday night, with forty miles in my legs and a gaping cavern in my stomach, are the truth of me.
The next meal will lay me bare.
I cube the potatoes and chuck them in a pan with some oil. They crisp up nicely. I salt and pepper them, throw in a big handful of green beans, and grate in a garlic clove. I toss and shake this on a high heat.
In preparation for the pièce de résistance.
Butter, in a pan, with flour, is cooked down. Milk is added, stirred and thickened, before a dollop of mustard and too much cheese. Yes; I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking: “Huh, funny…I know that you’re a finely tuned athlete, and there’s already a whole heart attack’s worth of fat in that pan of potatoes, but that recipe really sounds like a full-on cheese sauce…”
My response is to thicken the sauce to what is technically known as the ‘gloop point’, pour it over the hot pan-full, whizz up a slice of bread into breadcrumbs, sprinkle these over the top, and whack the whole thing under the grill.
Three minutes later, still wearing bib-shorts, and I’m devouring it from the pan. Like a caveman. Albeit one with a nice set of Circulon kitchenware and access to a slab of Welsh cave-aged cheddar.
But a caveman nonetheless.
And your next question, if I’ve read your raised eyebrows correctly, concerns the nutritional value of this meal in respect of my ongoing battle to “get skinny and ride quicker.”
I’m tempted to say “talk to the caveman ‘cos the cyclist ‘aint listening” but fortunately, recently, I listened to a podcast by Velonews about nutrition. I gleaned a piece of key information.
I may be over-simplifying this to justify cheese, but what I heard was that getting that food into your system quickly, post-ride, is more important than the actual specifics of the food. Fancy recovery powders work, but not necessarily any better than a sit down meal.
They even cited a study where a post-ride McDonald’s appeared to aid recovery just as effectively as an (unnamed) recovery powder.
All of which leads me to a rather happy conclusion: My post-ride pan-full might be hit and miss, nutrition-wise, but it’s better than a McDonalds. As almost everything is. And it makes me happy.
And you can’t put a price on that.
(Main image: via Pixabay.com)