Making Tea, Building Trust Through Cooking, And “Are you ready, healthy and uninjured?”

Hi folks! Welcome to my chatter!

The trick to making good tea is to keep it VERY HOT with a lid on the cup (if you don't have a tea pot), plus remember to treat your cast iron pots properly for non-stickiness.

The trick to making good tea is to keep it VERY HOT with a lid on the cup (if you don’t have a tea pot), to avoid thermal losses through latent heat of vaporization and radiation, plus remember to treat your cast iron pots properly for non-stickiness.

“Everyone needs some solitude to think things through, so I do this each year as I drive to the Lake Placid Ironman, increasingly alone as the kids grow up and become too busy for such a long slow (5 days) trip, and Deb can only get so many days off from her nursing job. On this trip, the highlight of each day is sitting with my morning cup of tea, reflecting on the meaning of life and my great support crew, several whom join me just before the race.”

I stayed at another simple motel, The Kirkwood, NY, which is full of regular folks, many coming home from work in their trucks. You overhear them talking about layoffs, the struggles of divorce, money, kids, and life in general. I find it helpful to overhear such stories when it comes to keeping my life in perspective.

Simple but effective accommodation, full of all sorts of interesting, largely local, people.

Simple but effective accommodation, full of all sorts of interesting and, surprisingly, mainly local people.

We each live in the microcosm of our own chosen neighborhood (if you have a choice), mine in Carrboro, NC, being saturated with generally liberal (or left wing), highly educated (academically, which isn’t everything!), people in upwardly mobile scientific or medical careers. The people in this motel looked askance at me at first. You can almost feel their distrust of someone who doesn’t seem to fit, with his over-healthy crew cut look (military or police?), strange accent (Canadian?), white hair (old? not our generation?), and odd behavior (running around the parking lot for half an hour?). Then I start to cook on my trusty, 46-year old, Coleman stove out of the back of the truck, and they relax and actually show an interest.

FitOldDog's new dog, Willbe, in the truck.

I’m sad that Willbe couldn’t come along. He loves to travel in our old truck, which he has worked hard to destroy from the inside out. He doesn’t like being left out, but he’s staying home in North Carolina this time. He loves food, too!

Food is a great social ice breaker, as where, what and how you cook says a great deal about you – no longer a stranger and not a word has been spoken. We all need to eat, so people generally comment on the aromas of my cooking, which includes lots of garlic and some soy sauce. I imagine them realizing that I’m a regular person, just like them, and no threat. It’s surprising how food can cut through social distrust – it also works well with dogs. In fact, if I’d had our dogs, Willbe and Scooter, with me, these people would have taken to me right away. Dogs are better social levelers than food. “Hey! He loves his dog! He can’t be all bad.”

While my evening meal was simmering in my favorite cast iron pot, I checked my e-mails, and there was one from a fellow Ironman distance triathlete, Steph, asking me, “Are you ready, healthy and uninjured?”

That’s the key to endurance sports, to arrive at the start line uninjured.

“Yep! Thanks Steph, I’m as ready as I’m going to be, and damn that food was good!”

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Did you get to talk to any interesting people?

  2. Your comments seem so weird to me, meaning we have very different views of the world. This is not a criticism, it’s an observation. It is the kind of thing Deb would ask that would never occur to me. Yep! Did.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.