It’s a Sickness

When I was growing up, my dad was the one who made most of our meals and did the grocery shopping and since I spent a lot of time with him I learned many things about proper produce selection and cooking. My sister and mom had a closer relationship back then, than my mom and I, made possible by their mutual love of shopping and more shopping. My mom found it frustrating to take me along because, when I was young I’d yell “Come find me!” and take off to hid in the middle of a clothes rack while she screamed “Get back here! I will not find you!” across the Nordstrom sales floor and, as I got older, she quickly tired of my moping around and sitting slouched in a chair whining about how I didn’t want anything pink and no, I will not wear that skirt. I’d rather die. DIE, I TELL YOU! So, I spent a lot of time with my dad, taking trips to the dump, fixing things, hammering odd, rusty nails in to scrap pieces of wood, or shopping for groceries and making dinner.

In all those years of bonding, I learned some very important lessons and took away some useful skills that I am grateful for because, you know my wife Janie? She can’t even make Kraft macaroni & cheese, even though there are only three steps and those three steps involve boiling noodles, putting in three simple ingredients and mixing it up into a bright orange bowl of sodium-rich deliciousness. What’s I’m saying here is that one of us needed to come out of childhood knowing how to cook food that is not made at the Mexican restaurant, and that person could never have been Janie, so lucky for us, that person is me. We have my dad to thank for that.

When my dad passed along his mad chef skills, he also gave me, what I like to call “a preoccupation with what’s for dinner.” I’m constantly thinking about what Janie and I will have for dinner at any given time. If we’re having a party in three weeks, you can bet that there will be menus and recipes and shopping lists littering every available piece of counter top in our home. If we’re going camping in a month and a half, I spend part of my lunch hours scouring the Internet for suitable foods to pack along with us. If we’re having some friends over for dinner tomorrow, I’m making more lists and mentally scanning the grocery store aisles for ideas of what to prepare. It’s a sickness, now made worse by Oprah’s 21 Days of Soy Products. In addition to researching suitable recipes for what Janie and I can have for dinner tomorrow, I’m looking for ideas of what we’re going to eat on June 22nd, the day after the cleanse or: The Best Day Of My Life.

Just this afternoon I imagined taking a walk from my office to the Pike Place Market to get some seafood or some wieners from my favorite German store. Or maybe I’ll get some crepes, or some of those miniature donuts, or some cheese. I’ll probably eat that miniature Mr. Goodbar sitting in the candy dish on my desk, too. I’m a woman obsessed, which is bad because part of this experience was to work on ending my preoccupation with what I will put into my mouth next.

In my detailed meal planning for the precious days after this cleanse, I decided that we needed to celebrate our healthy living with a meal so decidedly unhealthy it would cancel out the prior three weeks in a matter of moments. That’s why we’re going to have brunch at one of my favorite restaurants and, guess what, I’m already imagining the tasty meats and cheeses I’ll be piling on my plate next to those waffles and donuts. All things in moderation, though, I know – that’s why I’ll be pairing it with a Diet Pepsi.


  1. E's Mom
    June 13, 2008

    Yes, well I just spent the last 3 1/2 hours trying to decide if I should eat the tuna wrap I bought for lunch at Noah’s. After vowing to take a long walk, in the dark, by myself tonite I ate it. Half way through I got nervous and had to look up the nutrition values. After reading them I then had to calm myself down and rationalize that well, I’d eaten it as a wrap and not a glorious, delicious, gluten-laden sourdough bagel and added in extra veggies but no tomato. That plus the walk should bring it down a notch, right? Now I regret my choice but there is no taking it back. BOO! Talk about a sickness.

    Now then…what IS on the menu for our camping trip? I don’t know how it will travel, but I got two words for you: Pink Salad.

  2. June 13, 2008

    I remember trying out that game at the old Aurora Village Nordstrom exactly one time when we were kids. My mom quietly “yelled” in that distinctly mom tone of voice to “get out here NOW”. Then she marched us out the car, drove us home, told us to go sit at the picnic table in the backyard, and went shopping without us.

    I think she just went to the grocery store to cool off, but we got the message and never tried it again.

    Also, is it wrong that now I want a Diet Pepsi and some miniature Mr. Goodbars?

  3. June 13, 2008

    My entire family does this. When together at holidays we plan dinner while eating lunch, breakfast over snacks, lunch or any meal. We plan to eat while eating – it’s truly a fine art.

  4. heathen
    June 14, 2008

    fairydogmother: I hid in the Aurora Village racks! I spent much of my childhood hiding in those ones. And no, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting a Mr. Goodbar and a Diet Pepsi. There is something wrong if you don’t want that…

    Meredith: It IS a fine art. I’m glad to know I am not alone in this affliction.

  5. June 14, 2008

    Yes, of course that sounds like a completely rational plan – snarfing down mass quantities of meats and cheeses after three weeks of Oprah. I’m sure that’s what Oprah will be doing, too. I shall be thinking of you on the 22nd.

  6. June 16, 2008

    I remember reading somewhere that men think about sex something like once every 45 seconds. I do, too, but I think about food at least once every 15 seconds. My days are consumed by menu planning and memories of great meals. I’m so glad others feel the same way!

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