And when you see a picture of yourself, it's either, That's not a flattering picture of me, or Wow, that's an awesome picture of me! Rarely do we see a photo and think, Yup, that's exactly right. It captures not only how I look to others, but how I see myself.
And I think it's because there's a disconnect between the way we truly are, and the way we'd like to be. Sometimes we see the gulf for what it is, and sometimes we don't, and it catches us by surprise.
Now take eating. Studies based on self-reported data are notoriously unreliable because it's very difficult for people to recall (and admit) with accuracy everything they've eaten in the course of a day. The 1/2 cup of trail mix you sucked down was probably a cup and a half, and the 6 servings of fruits and vegetables were more likely 5, or 3. Plus, the cookie you ate before noon doesn't count because you ate it standing up. Right?
And then, of course, there's fish. I love fish. I love everything about it. I especially love salmon. In my head, I eat it often. I order it at restaurants, buy it at the store, and cook it for my family every single night.
Except, of course, I don't. The ideal me eats wild Alaskan salmon, plucked straight from the Copper River, several times a month and doesn't inhale so much cheese. The ideal me doesn't pile her dirty dishes in the sink. The ideal me drinks kale smoothies, avoids white sugar, and wakes up at the crack of dawn to run in the mountains where the air's still, and crisp, and the dew glistens like tiny disco balls in the pale morning light.
But I'm not the ideal me. And maybe you're not the ideal you.
And yet, every day, when we open our eyes, we can try as hard as we can to inch just a little bit closer.
Recipe for Olive Oil Poached Salmon with tomatoes and rosemary
Using this salmon poaching technique, you can create a supremely simple lunch or dinner that's also good for you. You will need to use quite a lot of olive oil, so be sure to choose an everyday bottle rather than a fancy finishing oil. FYI: This dish tastes just as good cold the next day, or you can tuck the leftovers in this salmon sandwich.
Makes 2 lunch servings (or 3, if you really want to stretch it)
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary, stripped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 cups olive oil
3/4 pound skin-on salmon fillet (I used wild Alaskan sockeye), seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper
2 big handfuls cherry tomatoes
Place the herbs, garlic, and olive oil in a 10-1/2 inch nonstick skillet. Heat the oil to a very gentle bubble over medium-low heat (take its temperature if you can -- it should be around 180 degrees). Slide in the salmon, cover, and cook gently on very low heat for about 4 minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes, cover again, and finish cooking until the fish is just opaque, about 10 minutes longer, keeping the heat as low as possible.
Serve immediately, drizzled with some of the poaching oil, or let the fish stand in the oil, uncovered and off heat, for about 10 minutes while you toss a salad or set the table. After serving, cool any leftovers to room temperature, then store the salmon and olive oil together in the fridge.