posts tagged with 'food'

goodbye October, goodbye farmers market

the boys checking out bright peppers, tomatoes, and gourds

bright bounty

Our home school day Tuesday concluded away from home, at the last regular farmers market of the year. Overall, we did well this year: we didn't miss a single market, and we saved enough food stamp coupons to come away the last few weeks with two gallons of maple syrup and five pounds of honey (that should be enough Leah-grade sweetener to last us through a long winter!). And we enjoyed lots of delicious fresh veggies and fruits, along with a fair amount of ground beef and bacon.

Of course, there's always room for improvement. We bought lots of kale, because rabbits, caterpillars, and our own chickens did such a number on ours. Beets, because I didn't manage to plant any. Carrots, because... well, we eat a lot of carrots. My dream is to be able to grow much of our own vegetables and fruits, leaving us with money to stock up on meat for the freezer, honey, and maybe even some cheese. That didn't happen this year. I can assign some blame to Lijah—or really to having three kids!—but I still have to take most of it myself. That we were spending money on tomatoes this September is entirely my fault, and nearly unforgivable.

Still, those are high level worries. All in all the market was great, and we'll be sad to see it go—we'll especially miss chatting with the fine folks from Charlton Orchards, and not only because they responded to our faithful patronage by letting us have the funny-looking donuts from the end of the batch for free! We're looking forward to the special Thanksgiving market on November 24; after that it'll really be winter!

more

market time again

Today was the opening day of the Lexington Farmers Market, and we were all happy to be there!

the family at the market manager's stall on opening day

here we are again

Especially happy after a long hot bike ride (the boys were wearing their designed-in-winter Tintin and Snowy costumes on the bikes so they were especially hot), and happy despite the absence, this year, of lemonade for the boys and ice coffee for Mama. There's not a lot coming from local farms this time of year, but we picked up some greens, a couple greenhouse tomatoes, and a pound of bacon—and, more importantly, a chocolate croissant and some apple cider donuts.

Zion, Harvey, and Lijah sitting on the grass eating doughnuts

thanks, farmers

The boys were happier still after that. Hey, no pictures!

Lijah smiling and reaching for the camera

he's ready to be behind the camera

more

Why I'm eating Paleo right now. Spoiler alert: It's because I'm nuts!

I just finished up a bar of Bakers chocolate that I've been working on for the past few days. Bakers chocolate, as you may remember from an unfortunate attempt to sneak sweets that occurred sometime during your childhood, carries no sugar. On its own its a little bitter. But smothered in honey it's eminently palatable.

I'm doing a kind of a sugar fast right now. It's a little like a bar of Bakers chocolate smothered in honey. A little sneaky. A little bitter.

Here's some background.

At times in my life I've been extremely restrictive in my eating. I received medical treatment for this a long time ago, back in the beautiful dark 90s when everyone was so emotional and raw, us punk generation of teenagers with NEEDS. Though I haven't had any medical problems in my adulthood, I get that not eating is sometimes less stressful than eating. I still have moments when for some unknown reason I'm paralyzed with fear over everything I put in my mouth. It's rather unhinging to experience, but a great way to lose 40 pounds of baby weight fast!

Most restrictive behaviors are socially acceptable, since everyone's trying to lose weight all the time. It's when my behaviors get a little odd that I start to look around me, embarrassed. You don't have to be crazy to be on a diet. You do have to be crazy to take one bite of a bagel and spit it back into your hand because you paniked mid-chew.

But if I speak of my restrictive tendencies I speak of my higher self. Anorexia is a disease of angels, and I am not one. More often I am fighting an uglier force, a sinister monster that lurks underneath my tastebuds and silently tells me to EAT EVERYTHING.

I made a vow to my younger self that I would never again vomit recreationally. It's hard to vow not to eat, though, so when things go poorly in my life, when I feel like minor stresses carry the weight of major ones or I when don't get enough sleep, I become a straight up binge eater. There is nothing pure or pretty or Catherine of Siena about eating past the point you feel ill. I know on some level this is a disease we all share, a mass condition infecting America. But in another way, a more truthful way, I think this is a desease I have alone. All by myself, in the isolation of my kitchen, this is me struggling against eternity and my complete loss of control over it.

I could do due dilligence and write down a list of trigger foods. I wish it were only chocolate chip cookies and then the solution could be simple. Unfortunately I seem able to freak out over almost anything in my kitchen. Here, for example, are some things I have eaten to excess in the past few months:

- Bread and butter
- bran cereal
- bananas
- rice cakes
- rice (and anything I make for dinner that goes on rice)
- whole wheat tortillas
- Any manner of baked good. seriously.

I say to myself "this has got to stop." I can't be running 16 miles every Saturday just to maintain my bread and butter habit. So I cringe and ask myself what these foods have in common, it's obvious that they are all high on the glycemic index. Even if I'm not eating sugar. I'm drawn to foods that quickly metabolize into sugar.

So I said, okay, let's do a sugar fast. Let's stay away from grains too, if I can. Let's see if I can push the reset button on my internal appetite.

Over the past ten days I did just that. I stopped all sugar. (okay, except the honey.) I limited myself to one real piece of bread a day, and nixed anything that came from a package. Did it work? Well, I didn't eat anything that immediately made me regret that vomiting vow. But I didn't feel a wave of heath and sanity wash over my life either. And I went through three tubs of almond butter in a week. Even just financially speaking that's not sustainable.

Plus I don't digest nuts super well. Thus bread made out of almond butter is not so much bread, as it is a recipe for a stomach ache. Then again, a piece of almond bread isn't binging, whereas three pieces of toast might be. Which is worse: moral or physical discomfort?

In the end, it's the cycle of wanting food and then fulfilling that desire that really turns my stomach. The thing that makes me human - that's what I can't stand. I don't mind having a body when I can push it to superhuman accomplishments - long runs and ten minute births and pumping breastmilk while blogging like some kind of cyborg cow. It's the bald face of my need that scares me. The thought that beneath my mature veneer I am terrifyingly animalistic. Desirous. So incredibly HUNGRY.

It would be nice if a diet could solve all this. I assume cavemen didn't experience existential crises. But I could be underestimating them.

more

(strawberry) field work

some of the berries I picked

strawberry season!

The fields at Parlee finally opened after a cold spring, so we took our first picking trip of the year this morning. Well, most of us did; Leah and Lijah stayed home. She says she has too many bad memories of trying to do pick-your-own with an infant, which is more then fair. But the bigger boys were excited for the adventure!

Harvey and Zion, with backpacks on, heading towards the strawberries

ready for anything, including picking strawberries

They brought their backpacks so they could carry their own lunches, water, and, in one case, diapers. Harvey showed his seriousness by getting right down to picking berries, not all of which ended up in his mouth.

Harvey's head peaking up above the strawberry plants

the plants are big and healthy

Zion was only serious about eating. The only berry he put in his basket was almost entirely white; a little of it was green. But he enjoyed himself!

Zion studiously eating a strawberry, among the plants

just one more

We met the Stevenses there, and I was very impressed at how well elementary-aged children can contribute to the family welfare through their labor. The younger boys, working together, chipped in a tiny bit.

Harvey, Ollie, and Eliot in the strawberry patch

sort of helping

But the best part of the whole trip was that Grandma Judy came along. After she picked her own four quarts and helped Harvey with some of his one, she gave the little ones something else to do while we finished up the harvest.

Grandma Judy reading to Zion, Ollie, Harvey, and Eliot

alternate entertainment

Between all of us we ended up with 32 overflowing quarts: besides Grandma's we took home 12 and Bridget and co. had 16. It was a true team effort, and we were all proud and tired.

Harvey and Zion posing with the strawberry haul

they're meant to be smiling

Now I suppose I have to make some jam!

more

the easiest homemade

freshly-brewed mint tea in a jar and a pitcher

free and sugar-free

We make a lot of things from scratch around here, like bread and deodorant (two projects from yesterday). The ones we do over an over again aren't hard for us (though they are sometimes tedious), but I totally recognize that they might be hard to approach for the first time. But some homemade projects are so easy that I really don't know why everyone doesn't do them, and probably the easiest one is mint tea.

There's actually one bit of the process that's a little tough for me, and it's the reason that "MINT TEA" features prominently on my part of the to-do chalkboard: to make mint tea my way you have to start the day before. But once you remember to start, you've got it made, because all you have to do is boil a pot of water and turn off the heat, then put some stems from your mint plant in there—preferably washed, unless you like a more buggy or dirt-infused flavor. Then in the morning strain the tea into a pitcher or jar and stick it in the fridge, and drink it when it's cold. That's it!

Of course, you may be protesting that you don't tend to have mint lying around, which is fair. But you'll be happy to know that, as mint tea is the easiest thing to make, mint itself is the easiest plant to grow. It's actually pretty much a weed, so if you don't want it to take over everything you should grow it in a pot, where it'll do fine with no more water than it gets from the rain. As an easy rule of thumb, I'd estimate you need one five-gallon-sized pot of mint for each day of the week you'd like to make your tea (and I should mention that I make it a gallon at a time). Or if you have the space, let it roam: when it starts to spread too far outside its bounds pull up the plants you want for your tea instead of clipping off just the top half of each stem with scissors, as you should in cases when you want more mint to grow.

mint plants

the source

As you may have guessed from the paragraph above, we have plenty of healthy mint plants to give away, so if any of this sounds good stop by next time you're in the neighborhood and I'll hook you up. Or just come in for the tea; I try to always have some in the fridge this time of year.

more

spring eating

the tip of an asparagus spear in the garden

springing up

It's spring, and there's things to eat outside. I always like it when the garden starts to produce edibles, since it helps to justify my hobby to the world. Two and a half pounds of asparagus so far, over the first three days of the harvest, and it's still as exciting as the first time lo these many years ago now. Asparagus is definitely one of the embodiments of spring, culinarily speaking, so it pairs well with that other symbol of the season, the egg.

poached egg, asparagus, and corn bread on a plate

the freshest

Something is going right when we can enjoy, as we did Saturday supper, eggs a few hours old and asparagus picked 20 minutes before it hits the plate. Plus leftover cornbread, but that doesn't signify anything.

And it's not just asparagus around here either. The woods are full of garlic mustard, a tiny bit of which I made into pesto on Friday (with almonds, cheap parmesan, and olive oil). And today's couscous (made to accompany more asparagus) was livened up with a generous handful of chopped spring onions.

The best thing about all these delicious ingredients is that I barely have to do any work for them. Sure the asparagus was a bit of work to set up, and I suppose I must have planted the first bunching onions at some point, but now the food just rolls in every spring with no added work from any of us besides bending down to pick it. Since there's plenty to do in the garden otherwise this time of year, some easy payback is very well appreciated.

Do you think we'll get tired of asparagus?

more

the imaginary sandwich

Yesterday the kids were having a hard time getting into the car. I don't mean physically having a hard time getting in the car; they do that quite well. In fact, while I was trying to get their clothes and shoes on for a trip to Drumlin farm, they walked out the door shoe-less and hid from me inside the car. It's not that they didn't want to go to the farm, it's just that they had a very vivid imaginary game going on that I was interrupting. Whatever I wanted to do they did not want to do. They were trying to get away from me. I was the dragon.

Now look. I appreciate imaginative play and all, but we had friends to meet at Drumlin at nine oclock. And after packing all their snacks into the car, and the stroller and the birthday present and the diapers and the baby-carrier, and THEN having to find Zion's shoes and socks which he'd left on the living room floor, I was pretty peeved. I got into the car with a pretty big lecture. "Things are going to be different around here next time," I said. "We are NOT going to have another morning like this, do you hear me? I do not run myself around ragged just so you can meet your friends for fun outings. Next time you want to go to the farm YOU get your socks and shoes on, mister."

Rather than pouting or yelling back, Zion just smiled up at me. "You still the dragon!" he exclaimed.

Touche.

Children's imaginative play serves a lot of functions for them. One of these functions is that, in a world where children have very little power or self-determination, imaginative play lets them process the million slights they receive daily. If we are hell-bent on putting them in their place, they will come up with ways to save face that do not strictly belong to our reality. It's almost genius.

As an adult I have outgrown explicit imagination games. But there are still lots of ways I play pretend.

Right now my favorite game is, "Let's pretend I'm dieting!" This is where I spend 99% of my time analyzing the nutritional/moral content of dozens of different food options, along axes of fat, calories, fiber, sugar, gluten, mouth feel, and availability to my kitchen. This game is very engaging, so much so that I can make it stretch juuuust until the power of hunger becomes so overwhelming that I run to the kitchen and throw into my mouth the nearest thing possible. For losing weight it works about as well as not dieting at all.

When I wake up, when I read to my kids, when I am driving in the car I am probably thinking about food. When I DO ANYTHING I am probably thinking about food. Except when I'm exercising or nursing. There is a magic state of calm that rests upon activities that I've labeled 'Calories Out.'

For someone who thinks about food nearly all my waking hours, I'm noticing how little I pay attention when I'm actually eating. How can this be? When I've taken an hour of hungry time, internally debating the merits of one sandwich filling versus another? Will greens detract from the experience more than they enhance the health of the final product? Which will make it feel more filling: a wrap, or two slices of bread (only 50 calories different)? Will the whole thing can hang together without mayo? With just a dab of mayo? After literally AN HOUR of doing other things, PRETENTING like I'm not obsessing about that sandwich, what happens when I'm finally sitting down actually eating the sandwich? I'm reading a magazine? I'm opening the computer? I'm looking for something to distract myself from the thing that distracts me from everything else.

Like Zion, I prefer to experience reality through the lens of my imagination. I don't want to focus on the actual sandwich. The hazy, changeable, imaginary sandwich was safer than the sandwich itself. Not just because I want to eat no calories, but because the real food is too wonderful and frightening in its every bit of REALNESS.

You see, when I force myself to focus on the sandwich, this happens:

First of all, I notice how GOOD the sandwich is. It's not only good, it's the BEST thing I've EVER eaten. Perhaps it's the best food ever created in the history of the world. When I put it in my mouth it explodes with salt and fat and melty bready goodness (I'm imagining a cheese sandwich here, but a chicken sandwich would work equally as well). As soon as I take a bite the complex carbohydrates shoot serotonin straight into my brain. The protein tells my mind it is alright to function again. The salt and the fat and the pepper tell my tastebuds: "here you go — you are no longer wanting." And all this happens in the same instant. The instant that I put food in my mouth, my body is transformed from outside in.

I am no longer just a brain, free-floating, imaging pleasures that may or may not come to pass. I am actually biting something and chewing it. That bite is an real interaction between the inside of my body and the outside world. What was external becomes internal. It's holy and crazy and amazing and baffling. It's the physical experience of God's creation, its taste and its fullness. It bursts at the seams with EXPERIENCE and LIFE!

At the same time, it's just a sandwich.

And if I really focus on it, I know no matter how GOOD it is, it's just a friggin sandwich. It's really good, don't get me wrong. But is this all that life has to offer? In its fullness? The whole wide world of possibilities? The outside world and me, connecting magically? A sandwich?

I mean, it's pretty good but then it's over. In a few hours I have to come up with another thing to eat.

If eating generates an existential crisis, then you could see how a magazine might help.

The thing about a sandwich, or a sunset, or holding your newborn baby on your chest, is that they are inescapably beautiful expressions of life, IN THAT as you enjoy them you are aware that they will soon be gone. Eating a sandwich only takes two minutes. The sunset maybe a few minutes more, depending on where you are in the season. A newborn baby takes hours upon hours and days upon days of holding, but when he is grown I will shed a tear and wonder, "How did the time go by so fast?"

The reality of this life is it is so painfully beautiful, but the beautiful bits we can't hold onto. This is the reality that faces me three times a day, or five counting snacks. Every time I open the fridge, I am up against nothing less than the realization of my own mortality.

Do you think maybe I need more of Jesus?

We were having a discussion in our church group about keeping our eyes on Jesus. When hard times come, just fix your eyes on Jesus. And I thought: I keep my eyes on Jesus like he is a sandwich I'm not eating. I am perfectly happy to think ABOUT Jesus. I think about him all the time in fact, either theologically, or how I'll explain him to my kids, or in relation to my friends who I'm trying to help. But when it actually comes to ENJOYING Jesus? I'm not so sure I know how to do that. I know how to get a quick little taste of Jesus, like a hundred-calorie-snack-pack, but then I'm running in the other direction chatting up everyone else: "Hey, have you heard about Jesus? You should really try him! He's so fulfilling!"

Maybe I don't believe Jesus really has time for me. Or maybe I'm scared that I've mostly made him up in my mind, that if I look at him, REALLY look at him, I'll say like the sandwich "Is that all there is?"

I know that's not true. I know it's really much worse. I'll meet the real Jesus, the one I didn't manufacture to be safe and portion-controlled and healthy. And I'll be so satisfied in a way I've never experienced before that I won't immediately launch into planning my next craving. And then what will I do with myself? How will I spend the next hour of housework? How will I face my life if I'm not so focused on imagining it away?

more

living in the buffet

As the dad of a new baby, I've had several people ask very kindly how we're doing. Honestly, I've had to answer that we're actually doing great! But I make sure to explain that this is the easy part: at this stage in little Elijah's life he mostly hovers in a halfway stage between sleeping and waking, and he likes nothing better than to be carried around while we accomplish other useful tasks. At the same time, everyone around us is incredibly solicitous. We get to avoid all the usual responsibilities of our everyday life, and when we manage something simple like going to church we're treated like heroes; and even better, people keep bringing us delicious food!

It started on Thursday with a roast chicken dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetable sides, cooked to perfection by my mom with maybe four hours of warning (and delivered to our door in time for our unsocially early 5:00 dinner hour!). Friday saw two pasta dishes—allowing us to choose between mac-and-cheese and pesto penne—as well as giant deliveries of fruit from both grandmas. Not only did we get pizza on Saturday, but the Stevenses came over and cooked it fresh in our oven while their children entertained ours. And today we got meatballs, more chicken, and brownies.

If you're keeping score at home, that comes out to six dinners so far, in just four days. So even with our best intentions and appetites there are leftovers; in fact, the refrigerator is so full that taking anything out—to say nothing of putting it back!—is quite a puzzle. A puzzle I'll happily solve, of course, since it means that whenever I want I can eat, say, a chicken sandwich with avocado and baby spinach with sides of mashed potatoes and pesto pasta. And the fruit. Thanks, everybody!!

Now two weeks from now things might look a little different. Elijah will have found his crying voice, I'll have to go back to work, and Harvey and Zion will be over the novelty of having a baby in the house and will be back to expecting (fairly, I might add!) a little bit of attention themselves. And people might have stopped bringing us food! Of course, that's the one part of our woeful future that you, dear reader, have the power to change. We have no food allergies or dietary restrictions, and Leah is very good at sending thank you notes promptly. You don't even have to tell us before you come by with something!

more

food that looks better than it tastes

Sometimes I fear I have too many food choices. Maybe my life would be simpler and easier if I weren't faced with a taste / healthiness / hunger decision matrix three to five times every day. Sometimes I think of Laura and Mary eating turnips all winter and I think: well, at least they knew what to expect.

sweet potato grilled cheese with avocado and kale

I followed a link-bait headline last week titled "47 grilled cheese sandwiches that are better than orgasms" or something like that. For obvious reasons it made me really want to make a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. This one is a mix of steamed sweet potato, pureed with mozzarella and american cheese. I put that on both slices of homemade bread and piled on kale and avocado in between. Sounds like it should have been good, right?

Well it wasn't. I should have sauteed the kale first, because the whole thing tasted like straight-up bitter. I opened it after the photo to add salt and pepper, which improved the taste enough to be edible. Still, it was not even marginally as good as an orgasm. Maybe it was the bitterness, or the sweet potato and cheese is just too heavy together. The kids barely touched their sweet potato and cheese sandwiches, though they liked eating the sweet potato cheese mixture straight out of the bowl. Go figure.

You know what else the internet is nuts for these days? Pancakes that aren't really pancakes.

egg and banana 'pancakes'

If you see a blog post titled "two ingredient pancakes" and the two ingredients are eggs and bananas? Don't trust that shit. I've been trying to make these things for months, and they always come out like fried ideals: lacking in something and in dire need of firming up.

On one end of the heat spectrum, eggs and bananas make a hot runny mush you can pretend is oatmeal if you get too tired of cooking it. Turn the heat just a little higher and they make a burned-at-the-edges banana-tasting omelet. On their own these two ingredients do not make anything that in any way resembles a pancake.

If you add some baking powder and powdered peanut butter, you can get something that kind of approaches pancake stability. It still doesn't brown up unless you add A LOT of the powdered stuff, but hey powdered peanut butter is good for ENERGY! These ones below were cooked for approximately a billion minutes on either side, and some of them came out resembling pancakes. The ones a little farter to the edge of the pan were more mushy. They all had a lot of ENERGY, though.

no flour pancakes in various stages of firmness, based on centimeters away from flame

Truth be told, I added some avocado to the mix just to mess with my stomach first thing in the morning. I mean... to up the superfood content of the most important meal of the day. Just kidding, it was to try to make the buggers stick together better. Doesn't this just look like an ingredient list of champions?

pancake ingredients

These pancakes take a long time to cook, and they're really only palitable when you eat them super hot. So there's a lot of waiting around, and then a quick rush to scarf down four tiny pancakes. Then two more rounds of this on repeat. In the end, it's a good way to consume two eggs, a banana, half an avocado, and a serving of peanut butter while still feeling like you didn't actually GET THAT MUCH FOOD.

pancake mix on the right, next to breakfast shake on the left.

I had to make a breakfast shake while I was waiting for my pancakes to cook because I was too hungry.

Next time I want to eat a healthy breakfast, I think I'll have some avocado on my toast alongside a single fried egg. Gluten-free isn't worth this much, if this much is an extra 300 calories plus half an hour of cooking time.

I don't know why I'm letting the internet complicate my food choices. Perhaps I consider myself a modern day Ponce de Leon, searching for some magic concoction of energy dense / low calorie / fulfilling nutrition that doesn't require too much time to prepare or dishes afterwards. Perhaps February is just a boring time for eating, or perhaps I have greater problems in my life that I am avoiding by trying to tweak my intimacy with grilled cheese. Either way, don't follow me down this route. If you're bored or overwhelmed with your food options, consider eliminating from them fancy grilled cheese and no carb pancakes. The answer isn't there.

more

hunger games - but not the fun kind with killing and stuff

Here I am, awake in the middle of the night, trying to decide what to eat.

If I am honest with myself, I will say that I hate food right now. I hate that I have to choose what to eat, every day, every hour, over and over and over again. Its the choices, the choices of choices, the choice between decision-making metrics of choices... unbearable.

For example, foods are usually safe and healthy if they're vegetables. But if I'm eating only vegetables then I'm not getting enough protein and I'll be hungry again in an hour. But if I eat some egg I'll have to have some bread with it, and bread makes me nauseous and bloated. And vegetables by themselves are boring. What about cheese, could I put some cheese up on there? Have I had any milk yet today? More than one serving and I become lactose intolerant.

So okay, let's say now I've ruled out bread and cheese. There are some cold carrots and turnips in the fridge, but I'm afraid that the sound of the microwave might wake everyone up. Maybe I can wait and make it till breakfast time. But what will I eat for breakfast? I could make a shake, fruit won't make me sick all day, but I threw up a shake last time and even if the cause was unrelated now a shake just looks like throw-up to me.

Cold cereal and almond milk sound appealing. They're just a pour away. But cereal is bread, and bread is poison, and the nausea will be so much worse in the middle of the night.

Maybe I should just wait until morning. But what will I eat then? Yesterday I had a vegetable curry for breakfast. But that's all gone now, and making another one will take an hour, and I just can't get excited for early morning squash soup with a side of roasted root vegetables.

But imagine I line up a day's worth of balanced meals: shake for breakfast, avocado on toast for a snack, rice and veggies for lunch, bean tortillas for dinner that Dan puts together while I lie down somewhere quiet. Then I still have to figure out what to feed the two children, two little baby birds with gaping beaks whose tastes and schedules are mutually exclusive from mine.

What's that Harvey/Zion? What am I eating? Well, I'm eating toast and avocado right now, but you already had your toast at breakfast so if you want a snack then it's time for you to have some fruit. We have melon and grapes and — no, a banana makes it harder for you to poop, have something else first. No, not a glass of milk, that's not a solution to that problem. Do you want a whole apple? Apple slices and honey? Stop screaming for milk. I'm putting the grapes on the table, you can eat them if you want. No sweetie, this is mama's snack. Okay you can have a tiny piece. Hey, that avocado is expensive, you can't just eat the bread and spit the green part on the floor!

Human being, what are you, most bizarre of animals, that feeding yourself makes you absolutely miserable?

I could blame the pregnancy, oh how I wish I could blame the pregnancy for everything. But my hatred of food choices far predates reproduction. The latter only makes the former much more intense.

For example, I am almost incapable of waiting in line for food and then following that up with actually purchasing food. The longer the line, the more health objections I raise to everything on the menu. So that, if I have to wait longer than two minutes before ordering, I convince myself to "just get a drink," and my family has sandwiches and enjoys the rest of their afternoon, while I crankily suggest we go home because I don't feel well.

The first time I noticed that food made me sick was my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to be thinner so I didn't eat anything all morning. Then at noon when I'd voraciously consume a sandwich, and my shrunken stomach would wake up all of a sudden, enzyme cannons blasting against the surprise attack. "Intruder! Intruder!" my gastric juices screamed. "How dare you come up in this skinny bitch. We'll fucking kill you!"

What is more socially acceptable these days? Worrying about food because it'll make you fat? Or worrying about food because it'll make you sick?

If only, then and now, I was able to apply reason to my problems. After all, a well-measured approach to sudden onset eating discomfort might be: calm down. Drink something warm. Eat something different in a half hour if you're still hungry. Not: invent more rules about more foods that are evil, slowly sweeping through the category of ALL FOODS, until absolutely nothing is safe to eat except that which costs even more money or takes even more time to prepare. Make your life about a quest for that magic food, one that is an oasis or fear-free calories in a vast desert already covered in manna.

And what then is a well-measured approach when I am awakened by hunger in the middle of the night? Calm down? Drink something warm? Go back to sleep - for the love of God why can't you ever just sleep when it's time for sleeping?

Oh right, because I was hungry...

more