According to the experts, which for all I know could be Pooh and Piglet, Americans are snacking much more than in the past. Hmmm. Oh, sorry, I was wiping the orange residue off my fingers from the firey bag of Cheetos I just polished off. Not really, although I could if left to my own devices. Salt is both my enemy and my seducer. For me, you can keep the donuts and sweets (except chocolate, naturally, which should be a food group unto its own in my opinion), but salty carbs will most likely be my downfall. Most of the time I just cover my eyes and holding my arm out to one side push myself past that aisle in the market. Otherwise in the throes of a bad day I might drown my sorrows in a bag of Salt and Vinegar potato chips or make bare my fingertips opening one salted peanut after another actually hearing my arteries calcify as I lick the salt from the bottom of the bag. I’m just saying.
As an adult, I’ve always been thin. This not so much due to incredible willpower, but more from inheriting my metabolism from my mother’s side of the family mainly sparse of frame. Since I’ve quit smoking, however, the ten pounds of body “thank you” weight just seems to want to stick around. For the most part I’m a very healthy eater, but my subconscious is a dreadful slacker when it comes to my diet. In my dreams I chase deep fried Twinkies down the road catching them and throwing them to the ground, squeezing that ridiculous gooey middle out of them containing no nutritional value whatsoever and 100% fat and useless calories. Afterwards downing the Twinkies with a gallon of lemonade, and polishing that off with several containers of biggee fries for good measure. Awake, I eat tons of vegetables, love fruit, have cereal for breakfast three days a week, fry less than bake, prefer fish and chicken and yet balance precariously on that thin tightrope swinging between desire for that which is bad for me and good health 24/7.
It’s difficult as well because I am a stickler about wasting food. Aside from the outrageous cost of feeding our faces these days, the fact that so many people aren’t fortunate enough to have a meal available to them, I find waste upsetting. Perhaps it’s hearing my grandmother’s words as a child about all the starving children in China. Whatever the reasons, I go out of my way to recycle food. Last week, for example, the corned beef from St. Pattie’s Day made an encore nicely disguised as hash with a couple of eggs perched on top, and tomorrow night my meat loaf from last month will reappear redressed as spaghetti sauce. The plot thickens.
As a kid, as I’ve said before, I went through a chubby phase that lasted from around six until I entered middle school. Being a latchkey kid, and thus left to monitor myself after school, I gave myself permission to indulge in whatever goodies the cupboard or refrigerator offered up in addition to a plate of my mother’s excellent cooking for dinner. This recycled itself as well into an extra layer of padding on my young body. Approaching the age where boys suddenly seemed to have more to offer than just an annoyance factor, I went to my mother and she formatted a diet plan for me. Along with the new way of eating, she gave me the incentive of a new wardrobe, and $1.00 a pound. Voila, within three months I’d shed my baby fat like a snake would its skin and established eating habits that have stayed with me for a lifetime. Consciously, naturally. Subconsciously, those darn pork rinds still pop up in my thoughts from time to time.
Besides the fact that the trend towards voluptuous, curvy women of the rococo art period has long been put behind us, the desire to remain in the presence of my loved ones keeps my finger off the pull tab of that can of mixed nuts, and allows me the strength to decline that second piece of cheesy, gooey garlic bread.
Cheese is another of my downfalls, although better for you certainly than onion rings with Ranch dressing, it is still for the most part caloric and, as with just about everything including water on this earth, too much can prove harmful to your health.
Perhaps this is why I chose often to write about food or at least feature it. Being a foodie is a full-time job and as with many things I do in my life I try to give it my best effort. I was pleased to note that some countries are starting to look at their bone baring models whose clavicles look more like hangers than body parts, and saying enough (or not enough) is enough. This is a good thing. It is a peculiar contradiction that some of us are barely nourished while others are nourished enough for several humans. Food, as I said, is both the enemy and the friend and sometimes both at the same time. When we’re sad, “comfort food” always helps to make it better. When happy, we throw a party or slap some ribs on the grill. Food is the hub around which the wheel of our social structure revolves. We go out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are cooking shows on every channel, and magazines are constantly providing us with new recipes to expand our waistlines. It’s a conundrum. (Sorry, I like that word. I just wanted to use it in a blog at least once.)
Restaurants have printed new menus including the staggering caloric count of their food items, and yet we continue to balloon like a square dancer’s skirt. Perhaps we humans are destined to fight with overindulgence as is evident in the high rates of consumption of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes in this country. We are born into this world and often seem to spend a good deal of the rest of our time here seemingly looking for ways to get off of it.
I will continue to fight the good battle and blissfully dream of golden onion rings late at night. Have a great Monday! Bon appetit.
McDonalds announced it’s considering a more humane way of slaughtering its animals. You know they fatten them up and then kill them. You know the same thing they do to their customers, isn’t it? Jay Leno
This is an excellent roast for those days where you want a quick but satisfying dinner with the least amount of effort.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Onion Mushroom Gravy
1 4-4 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced thin
1 1/3 cups water
1 10 1/2 oz. can condensed French onion soup
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 pkg. Au Jus mix, prepared according to package directions
Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Slice onion and place on bottom of cooker. Cut roast in half and place on top of onions. Combine all the rest of the ingredients except au jus mix and cook on low for 9-10 hrs. until roast is very tender. Remove roast and vegetables from pot and using two forks pull apart into serving sized pieces. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of liquid from pot and add to prepared au jus mix. Adjust seasoning as necessary and cook over med. heat until hot. Pour over roast.