The eating season is upon us. Eating season creates conundrums; pimento cheese balls coated with walnuts sound like a good idea. You want to try one of those newly fashionable “messy tables” where you just throw stuff out without plating it, artfully arranged in serpentine meat and cheese extravaganzas. I hear it’s actually a job people have now, coming to your house to create your messy table. I imagine pets love it too, so much easier to nip things off the table.
Eating season creates slippery slope for me every year. Despite sturdy mental preparation and “not this year” intentions, it always starts when I (thoughtfully) make sure the Halloween candy for the trick or treaters is “good.” I always get candy, despite the low odds of getting small children knocking on our 2nd floor apartment door. “Always be prepared” is one of the few things that stuck from my years as a Girl Scout. And a love of Thin Mints and Savannah cookies, but that’s material for another day.
We all know I was buying that bag of Tootsie Pops for myself. It generally takes about two weeks to get through the bag. No, I’m not throwing it away. Goodness gracious perish the thought. When you’re raised by depression-era parents, you get the message that throwing food away is right up there with adultery. As a member of the clean plate club it’s nigh on impossible for me to throw food out or “let it go to waste.” Instead I let it go to my waist. Oh dear, a pun.
From that gateway bag of sugary Tootsie Pops, the door is opened for “oh, I’ll just have one slice/taste/bite” eating that eventually crescendos into “oh, what the hell” debauchery. Thanksgiving brings on the pie. Because pie must be had at Thanksgiving. It is known. The eating season gains momentum as we slide into December and parties. This was particularly bad when we lived in Tennessee, because those folks can cook. Its culmination is a leftovers-heavy extravaganza that will likely feature that cheese ball on New Year’s Day before we slam into the day after and the reality of “Must Begin That Diet” January.
Despite the fact that the slide has already begun, there’s a bit of hope that the damage won’t be quite as bad this year, as we’ve introduced lifestyle changes that may be sticking. A vegan protein shake for breakfast, drinking lemon water upon rising, and using digestive enzymes. Different choices on our shopping trips. My husband emerged from the kitchen the other day, cereal bowl in hand. He paused for a moment, staring down into the bowl, a look of pure bemusement on his face.
“When did it come to this?” he asked. “I’m eating quinoa cereal with oat milk.”
We are not alone in our enforced shift. A similar conversation turned up in the locker room of the pool. My friend Phyllis who is of retirement age said, “I’ve grown to like kale.” The rest of us stared at her, surprised. She grinned, and then continued, “If it’s chopped up small, and with lots of fatty blue cheese dressing on it.” We all agreed that sometime in the past few years some forward-thinking heads of kale bonded together and got themselves a publicist. Because you do have to do quite a bit to it to make it palatable.
My personal problem with shifting my diet to healthier options is that I hate most vegetables. I know I am supposed to like them. I just don’t. I particularly dislike the very-good-for-you ones like brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Luckily for me there are ways to disguise vegetables, like putting baby spinach in my morning shakes, where they blend up and you don’t taste it. Its great unless you put it in a shake with strawberries, then you get a dirt-colored shake, due to the opposites on the color wheel thing we learned about in art class, when we had such things in school. Brown shakes still taste fine, but are visually unappealing. Can’t put those in an Insta post.
The saving grace for this is vegetable soup, which I do like, especially when I pair it with home-made cornbread. And a cheese ball.
A note on a word I used last week. My pal Jeff from Wichita, KS caught it. I used “defenestration” for what a squirrel did to one of our squashes by pushing it off our 2nd story porch. Jeff is right I was stretching the usage a bit — it’s a word that has a very specific definition and a colorful starting point, which Wikipedia puts rather delicately thus: Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. The term was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618 which became the spark that started the Thirty Year’s War.
I’m pretty sure it was a person that got chucked out of that window – and am reminded that Mel Gibson stole this and put it to good use in “Braveheart.” At any rate, it really should be limited to something falling or being tossed out of a window, not the edge of a balcony.