Plinky Prompt: (see below)

  • The Gerber Baby.

    The Gerber Baby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    What food did you love as a child that you no longer care for?

  • This is a wee (no pun intended) bit embarrassing. All the mushy children’s food that I loved as a child I still love now. Yep, that’s me. I’m 55 going on 5 and proud of it. Cottage cheese and Gerber’s peaches (dipped not swirled) only led to further adventures into Gerber’s expanded flavors like fruit blend or applesauce. Cottage cheese in one dish, tiny spoon and dip into the Gerber’s jar, delicious. Haven’t had it in a while so thank you for the reminder. By the way the name of this coveted dish is called “Larry.” Apparently, I ate this gourmet meal first at a friend’s house named, of course, Larry. Thus, the meal and my love was born. When my children were little I thought they would love it too but no, they didn’t. It didn’t matter at all, I just ate it instead of them. On my next trip to the grocery store, “Larry” will be on my list. Don’t judge until you have tried it, it’s great. PS I still like chocolate milk, Kraft (individual slices) American Cheese sandwiches on bread with butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and egg salad (without a trace of the dreaded egg-shell included.) The only thing I don’t eat anymore (sigh) is Wonder Bread but honestly, I have no doubt that I would still love that soft, cottony goodness. It’s been replaced by multi-grain bread because I’m supposed to be a grown-up!
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Carry On Tuesday – Only In Our Dreams

Eating Shiva

Eating Shiva (Photo credit: Mirror | imaging reality)

I felt virtuous when I sat, eating an open-faced veggie burger, with stone ground mustard and drinking ice water. I don’t feel the same way now. It’s three hours later and my son is having a barbecue for his friends. He came running up the stairs with a freshly charred hamburger on a bun dripping with ketchup and a slice of cheese slithering on top, shining with grease. I did not hesitate, I ate it  in one minute and I’m paying the price, in fullness and actual physical pain. I can’t lie; I have enjoyed it immensely along with the toasted marshmallow he brought up too. I know this game very well.

It started at birth with me, a six-week premature baby having to stay in the hospital until I gained enough weight to be able to come home. After that, my mother overcompensated and then I went full speed to fat or what they used to call “chubby.” I can pretend to eat healthy food now (most of the time) but I know that I will always be the fat, round, girl, that I have always been.

My mother could never figure out why I never wanted to go shopping when I was a child and a teenager, how could she not know? I was a very slim child only from age five to six until she decided to fatten me up, relentlessly, wherever we went. The Nestle’s Quik was at my side, spooned generously into my milk at every meal, like a religion.

Last year, I gained forty pounds when our house was demolished by termites and carpenter ants and we had to stay in a hotel, in one room, three of us and our dog, our disappointment and our dreams, dashed. My husband was also on medical leave for a snapped Achilles tendon, our sixteen year-old daughter cooped in one room with us while our house was built again from bare walls. That’s when you know who your real friends are, because it is at their house you are sharing a meal, they are asking you in and treating you like family, it saved our souls and sanity.

The only comfort in our lives was that our son was away in college was missing the trauma we were living through, and FOOD. We ate out at restaurants, two or three times a day. It was clear we were not eating healthfully, we were eating to comfort ourselves, dessert for lunch and for dinner every single day and night. French fries with your sandwich? Yes please. The only decision to make was what flavor milk shake we wanted, vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Candy bars, cookies and crackers were stored in our hotel room like paper cups.

Piles of cakes and pies, white tendrils of coconut smiled down at us from its vanilla perch. Chocolate mousse cake winked at us from its place on the revolving cake display, cheesecake with strawberries, we denied ourselves nothing. Deep, deep down I knew what was happening though I chose to deny it; only in our dreams did I believe that we were not feeding our depression. When times were easier, better, we would deal with it. Then, we couldn’t cope with one more detail, one more restriction.

In three and a half months we moved back into our completely disorderly yellow house. For months we didn’t know where anything was. There are still boxes missing, items that some day we hope to find. I started taking responsibility for my unhealthy body. I worried about my heart, I started slowly and decided to eat more vegetables and less red meat. In the end, I lost forty pounds with another five to ten to go. I drink ice water with lemon instead of soda. I try not to have dessert but lately I have been craving something sweet. It’s a slippery slope; I have to be very careful.

I know I am the same chubby girl I was when I was little. I will always be that child in my mind and body; I will always be the last girl picked for any team sport, the fat kid, the ugly, stupid child. I don’t measure up, why should I be able to do something when my parents always said I wouldn’t be able to do it?

As we get older we make our own choices, we slip away from the past and make up our own rules, our own belief system, we cherish different qualities than those that we were taught. I taught my own children that they can do anything they want and they can do it well. Whatever they want to do they should do it with pride. There is nothing that they can’t do, nothing they can’t succeed at; in my heart, I love and like these two people. When they were young, if I was fearful for them, I hid it, because they had the right to experience life through their own feelings and not become unnerved because of mine. That, is what parenthood should be about. This was my gift to them; the gift of freedom, freedom to choose, but most of all, freedom to believe in themselves, knowing, always knowing, that I believed in them too.

The In-Between

Malheur Bière Brut

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years, a strange time. You are not yet finished with 2011 and you can’t wait to say good-bye but New Year’s Eve is not in sight just quite yet. It’s always been a long week for me. In our town, it’s nice and quiet, people go away for the holidays; the town has lots of parking, the streets are empty; it’s a quiet, gentler period of time. Personally, it’s a struggle. I remember the last Christmas we had with my dad many years ago, when he went into the hospital and how he died on New Year’s Eve, a day before my parents’ wedding anniversary. It’s not a memory that will ever fade in emotion or intensity.

For many years now I’ve tried to say goodbye to the old year, hoping, wishing, EXPECTING the New Year to be better. Not any more. As I’ve gotten older it just seems to be a pattern that happens every year. There are NO long bouts of happiness, there may not be long bouts of depression, but there are problems, pretty much, all the time. When you have a day that is problem free, celebrate.

A lesson for us who are no longer young, but older middle-aged ( I refuse to say OLD) is that we need to accept that our lives have changed permanently. I talk about this with my friends. For some of us it’s being in the sandwich generation, having children and parents (or parent in my case) needing, deserving more attention and care. It’s scary every direction we look. We are responsible for our own children, now independent teenagers and our parents who are no longer as independent as they once were.

How can we look forward when we have no control over our lives? If I had to list the one thing that worries me most it would be the unknown, how life can change drastically in one second, for the worse. We have no control over anything, and the only way I can deal with that is not to deal with it at all. You have to try to live your life to the fullest every day, be thankful when there is a good day, ride the waves, bend with the wind. I don’t like the feeling of uncertainty and I know many others don’t either; we have no choice. We must try hard not to focus on it, remain engaged in things and people we love. Stay in the moment. Every moment.

So lift a glass of champagne or orange juice, chocolate milk or wine, for the good times, the ones we should treasure and try to remember. It’s the only way to get by.  To the Best 2012 that’s possible. Cheers!

If I Could Star in any TV Commercial

A glass of chocolate milk.

Image via Wikipedia

Truth In Advertising: My Family and Chocolate Milk

Yoohoo or Nestle’s Chocolate Milk.

I’m almost 55 years old and have been drinking chocolate milk all my life. I still LOVE it. When I was a child and we traveled abroad frequently (for free) I was a very fussy eater and my mother dragged Nestle’s Quik powder in her luggage because I would not drink plain milk. I still love chocolate milk ( hot or cold) or Yoohoo, still drink either one as much as possible. Vanilla, banana and strawberry milk are okay but my first choice is always chocolate milk. The only time you will see me drinking plain (regular) milk is with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a piece of chocolate or vanilla cake with frosting. With those two items, I cannot drink chocolate milk…. Not that I’m fussy about eating or anything…..I just like what I like.
p.s. Dear Yahoo and Nestle’s Quik, I am available to be your spokesperson at any time. My mother and my kids could join in too, we could have a multi-generational advertisement. How cool would that be? Drink up!

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I’d Be Lost Without You

2008-10-22 - 010 - Kona, Hawaii, snorkeling, f...

Image by cfinke via Flickr

Every morning I am greeted with a smile, a hug and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He even sniffs the milk before he pours, knowing I have a super-sensitive nose and will gag if I even think something has gone sour. Today there was a small fruit cup with blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe, sliced with love from a steady, beautiful hand. My hands shake so he carries the full cup of coffee to me, so I don’t feel bad and so there will be no spills on our fake linoleum Spanish tiles in the kitchen. In the middle of the night our feet or hands search for each other for reassurance and comfort. I don’t even mind when he snores loudly, though I do punch him lightly in the arm. Without protest he turns over. I used to say “turn over” but with our marriage code I have shortened the phrase to “apple” as in apple turnover and he knows exactly what I mean.

We have our own language, he and I, built on twenty-five years of togetherness, love and friendship. We are each others’ best friend.  I am not saying we have always had the perfect marriage because no marriage is perfect. We have had our rough years, our tough times but we struggle through it together, knowing that home is not just a place but a feeling. I sat through a Gordon Lightfoot concert for him, he came to see Neil Diamond for me. Sometimes he blurt things out that are supposed to be secret; sometimes I reveal my feelings when I shouldn’t. Sam Adams for him, Diet Coke for me. His Scotch is my Yoo-hoo, his dark chocolate is my milk chocolate.

I want our children to see that our marriage is strong, loving, yet not without flaws. I want them to know that marriage, like any relationship, needs work, a strong commitment and loving companionship. We help each other when difficult situations arise, and in life, they always do. When we were first married, we went through the infertility process together; it breaks many couples apart yet it brought us closer together. We share pain and joy, I am more emotional, he is more practical. We balance each other like a delicate balancing toy, sometimes tipping over, always able to right itself to startling precision.We try to laugh even during hard times. He has taught me to be less pessimistic; I have taught him that it is okay to be vulnerable.

Through the 25 years of our relationship we have grown closer together even after we have grown apart. He likes skiing, I like sunshine, he plays racquetball, I need to write. For a little while we thought it was odd that we did not share activities in common but we adjusted and compromised. We trust each other so that if he wants to go skiing, he goes with a friend. If I need sunshine in the middle of a gray, cold winter, I have flown to Florida for a few days. We can be independent of each other yet always happy to reconnect. We share the joy of traveling together, France, Australia, Amsterdam,  Aruba, Rhode Island. We held hands when we snorkeling on our engagement trip in Hawaii, my most favorite memory. While he would prefer to stomp through old ruins, I would rather walk on the beach finding seashells; we compromise.

He is an atheist, I believe in G-d. We have two amazing children, a boy, 18 and a girl, 16. We share their triumphs and their pain; we help each other deal with our ever-changing reality. If the children attack us, as teenagers often do, we immediately look at each other. The silent language of marriage is a subtle one, but we speak it fluently.

I fear the day that one of us is left alone. I pray it won’t be for a very long time yet thinking about it frightens me. He is the one person that I trust with my life, that I can count on without question. He feels the same way about me. We know the best and the worst of each other and accept and acknowledge both. If I had to, I know deep down, that I could survive without him; I just don’t want to.

Love Food Shows, Hate To Cook: What’s Up With That?

Dear Food Network and Bravo:

Can I consider myself a foodie if I don’t like to cook? In fact, I pretty much hate it. But watching it on television? I’m an addict. I guess the fact that I obsess about food, look forward to it, think about it, crave, it entitles me to be a non-cooking foodie. I think that I may be inspired one day to try real cooking; but not right now. I can get by on cooking meals for my family but it’s the basic stuff. Pasta and home-made cheese sauce (Ok, almost home-made: I confess I use Kraft American slices, individually wrapped.)I also bake the best and the most delicious banana bread in the world (plain, with raisins, chocolate chips or both). I can do a roast and I’m definitely fine with sticking a chicken (with kosher salt and pepper)  and a couple of squeezes of fresh lemon, in the oven. Baked potatoes? Anytime. My new favorite: a well-toasted english muffin with lite cream cheese and slices of tomato and a hint of salt and pepper. My beverage of choice with this? Need you ask? Yoo-Hoo, cold or room temperature.

I need to work for the FOOD NETWORK  OR BRAVO FOOD) station. Anybody here have any connections? I’m very likable, love to eat (although I have to say I might gag if I had to eat some of the things that they make on the show, octopus and goat, I can barely do lamb). But, for a job working, preparing, serving, ANYTHING with food I would (have to) be flexible. Seriously?  I am the most conscientious worker you ever have known. I’m neurotically early so if you wanted me there at 9am, guaranteed you would see my smiling face at 8:45am. Having grown up with a German mom and a Viennese dad, they taught us about punctuality. Being on time, in my family, is being LATE.  When we get together we all are 10-15 minutes early; it’s in our neurotic, eager to please, Jewish blood.

So, Padma, Tom, Bob, Eric?  Dick, Jane, Sally? Bobby, Bob, Paula Deen?  I want to do something I love, other than writing. That thing, is food. I could be a tester, a taster, a candle stick maker, whatever you want. I need a job and Oprah always said “do what you love.” You don’t doubt Oprah, do you? That reminds me, dear Oprah, I need a hook-up, with the Food Network or Bravo, can you help?