By Richard Peterson
It’s that time of year again. You lucky readers are in for my annual vacation report. This year we took an extended vacation from February
12 through 16 at the home of my brother and his wife, Jim and Sue Peterson near Waterloo, Neb., a suburb of Omaha. They live on 228th Street, which means they are about 22 miles west of the Missouri River in downtown Omaha.
Retired baker Art Duren of Maddock rode along as a passenger. He went to visit his daughter, Jan, who lives in Omaha.
The trip to Omaha takes about 11 hours on the Interstate. The trips down and back were uneventful. Gas at Minnewaukan was the most expensive, $3.23 per gallon. At Hankinson it was $3.10. I paid $3.00 in Omaha, $2.92 near Sioux Falls, $3.06 near Sioux City and $3.00 at Grand Forks. Uff-da!
Due to my diabetes I’ve had to temper my gluttony somewhat. Although I have a relatively mild case that’s kept in check by two pills a day, I still watch my diet and try to stick to it. Try is the operative word here. It’s very difficult to eat just the things you should eat because so many staples are on the list of foods to avoid.
It’s also confusing and difficult to figure out because a certain amount of those foods are necessary for good health.
Foods high in carbohydrates are to be avoided. These include potatoes, white rice, white bread and pasta. I really miss French fries and eat them only rarely. Brown rice is OK, so I get by with that. I miss French bread, but love the whole grain breads, which are just fine for diabetics. I use Dreamfields low carbohydrate pasta (made in Carrington) and it tastes just as good as the high carbohydrate pasta. But when you eat at a restaurant, you have to take what’s available and simply eat smaller quantities.
Also to be avoided are foods high in fat, such sausage, my favorite.
I don’t avoid sausage as much as I should. Cheese should be eaten only in small quantities, and that’s what I do.
It goes without saying that candy, ice cream, soda pop and pastries are forbidden. I don’t miss them.
After giving up all those good foods, do you think I’m going to give up beer? Not a chance. But consumption is limited.
Like everybody else, diabetics are encouraged to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, grains (but not items made with white flour) and beans.
Jim has diabetes, too, but he isn’t near as picky about what he eats as I am. I hunted through all the grocery stores in Omaha looking for Dreamfields pasta for him. I finally found that unique product in a No Frills store. At the last minute, I also found it at a Bag N’ Save.
Other big grocery chains I can think of off the top of my head are Hy-Vee, Baker’s, Fareway, Super Target and the SuperSaver. The one-of-a-kind SuperSaver is probably the biggest grocery store in Omaha. It’s huge, huge! All the grocery stores carry beer, wine and liquor. The alcoholic beverages are out on the aisles for customers to pick up themselves. The tobacco products are under lock and key and the addicts need an employee to hand them over.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention Wal-Mart. I’d guess the Wal-Mart Superstores are the largest grocery retailers in the city. Although the other grocery stores seemed to be busy, the Wal-Marts were busier. The prices at Wal-Mart are almost always lower. The Wal-Mart Superstore whole wheat and dark breads are absolutely top-notch nationwide.
Breakfast Feb. 12 was a Sausage McMuffin with egg at the McDonald’s in Jamestown. Ya, healthwise that’s not so good, but there aren’t a lot of choices. Tastewise it’s wonderful. I had a hot dog at a gas stop going down. That’s not the best either, but the quantity is small.
Upon arrival at Jim and Sue’s, we were treated to a delicious spaghetti and meat sauce supper. That worked out fine because after being on the road for 11 hours, I had no desire to go out to eat.
Next morning I got up bright and early and headed for the Hy-Vee on Maple Street. The restaurant in the store offered a "carb conscious"
omelette breakfast consisting of three eggs, green peppers, ham and a cheese topping for $4.99. It also came with two slices of white toast. Why didn’t they offer whole wheat toast? State tax was 5.5 percent and I got a senior discount of 25c, so the final bill was $5.01. Coffee was free. It was a very satisfying breakfast and the ham in the omelette was about the tastiest ham I’ve ever experienced.
It was super good. I regret that I didn’t ask what brand or type of ham it was.
I bought a large pan of cut up and mixed fresh fruit to take to Jim and Sue’s: pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, etc. and we all ate on that when we got hungry. I had to replenish the supply several times.
I noted that the telephone book had 83 pages of listings and advertisements from restaurants in the Omaha area. There’s no shortage of places to eat.
At noon I had something called a Chicago Dog at the Orange Julius concession in the Oak View Mall at 144th and Center. This was a hot dog with mustard, relish, onions and green pepper on a white (oh, the
horror) bun. I’m writing home about it, so I guess it was good enough.
For supper we went to the HuHot Mongolian Grill south of West Center and 176th across from the Super Target. Cost with tax is $15 per person. You are given a plate and you go through the line and choose what foods you want: pork, chicken, beef, sausage, mutton, cod, calamari (squid), swordfish, imitation crab, mahi mahi, scallops, salmon, halibut, Chinese noodles, Thai noodles, Japanese noodles, rice, onions, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, squash, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, cilantro, celery, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, tofu, green peppers, water chestnuts, pineapple, baby corn, peas, potatoes and black beans. Then there are the sauces, ranging from mild to super hot, which are poured over your choices. Then you hand the plate to one of three cooks in front of a round steel grill. The plate of food is poured on the grill and the cooks use their spatulas and chopping tools to stir fry the food. After only a few minutes the cook hands the cooked food to you. Jim took two plates. I didn’t want to look like a pig, so I went through the process of filling two plates, but only one at a time.
This was an excellent place. You could pick the foods you like and it was healthy picking with all the vegetables. My wife, Hollys, raved about the place for days afterward. She was right. It was a good place and it gets my seal of approval.
(Continued next week)