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.