I lied in my prior post. To quote: “I typically have great eating habits.” It’s true that I am well informed about good nutrition. My favorite food group is vegetables. I don’t drink soda or ever eat fried or fast food. If faced with a choice between a plate of sautéed kale and a cheesesteak grinder or a slice of pizza I will choose the kale every time, on one condition: it’s ready NOW.
Otherwise, all bets are off. Habits-schmabits.
If I had a personal chef, I’d be leaner than a greyhound. You know that game kids sometimes play: if you could only have three foods with you on a desert island, what would they be? Mine would be arugula, summer-ripe cherry tomatoes and a good, strong-bodied hard cheese, like a nice parmagiano reggiano. It about kills me to have to eliminate olive oil from this list, but I’m hoping I can create a reasonable substitute on my island – maybe it’s an undiscovered desert island somewhere in the Mediterranean that just happens to have a grove of wild olive trees? I figure I can forage for nuts, berries and other greens, I can make salt from the salt water, and since it’s an island, there should be plenty of fish, so I’m good there. In other words, I am not bringing a lifetime supply of Pringles, or Skippy peanut butter, or even sirloin steak. My instincts are good.
Here’s the reason why I lied when I wrote that I have great habits: When under stress, I am a pantry junkie – usually when I am rushed for time, but also when I’ve let it go too long since I last ate, or when I am anxious. (As an aside, I rarely get hissy-fit level anxious anymore—thanks, menopause! But anxiety is the ambient soundscape of my psyche, rarely rising to a level above the gentle sussuration of an ever-present breeze. Which can be annoying.) Say I am coming in the door from a meeting that ran overtime – the traffic was bad and now it’s 5:30 and dark and I still have to walk my dog but I am ravenous and there really isn’t time to make a nice green salad with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, a few strips of parmagiano reggiano and a slice of lightly sea-salted grilled fish. I am resentful, because I would really prefer this. But there’s shit I gotta do. So I open the pantry door. It starts off reasonably well: a few nuts. I mentioned I am ravenous, right? So, oh look: Mary’s Gone Crackers. Gluten free, loaded with seeds and nuts, with a satisfyingly molar-engaging crunch. Still not too bad, right? But my impatience and irritation with the fact that I don’t have time to make myself a nice little meal right now so often lead me further down the pantry shelves to: chips. Tortilla, potato (we don’t often have those, but when we do, I’m a goner), pita. And you need cheese or salsa to go with those, right? Before you know it, I’ve spent as long standing in front of the pantry mindlessly munching as it would have taken to make the desert island meal of my dreams.
It’s a habit I’d like to break.
P.S. That’s my pantry above. It looks so innocent…