I am a domestic menace. A trail of shoes, coats and tote bags full of papers mark my progress through the house. The dust bunnies under my bed are forming a union, and I fully expect to be found in my office one day buried under a pile of books, clothes and sheet music. As long as I can locate spouse, spawn and felines amongst the detritus of my life I’m content. I’ve never considered myself to be terribly domesticated, except when it comes to food.
I learned to cook when I was ten after attempting to make breakfast in bed for my parents and nearly burning the house down. My mother, bless her Mississippi born heart, didn’t get mad. She put me in the car, drove to the nearest bookstore and let me pick out an age appropriate cookbook. From then on I was allowed to cook a few things a week under her expert supervision. In a short time I had worked my way up to making important Southern staples like corn bread, fried chicken and chicken fried steak. Although, to this day I have yet to master red eye gravy.
I loved cooking and yet when spouse and I were first married and spawn was little I put it aside for a while. The craziness of work, raising a precocious toddler, and just life in general left me with very little time and energy at the end of the day to indulge in much beyond basic sustenance cuisine. There was, if I’m completely, honest, quite a bit of takeout. I knew we’d probably gone overboard with the readymade food when one evening around dinner time the doorbell rang and Spawn went racing toward it yelling “dinner”! I am sorry to tell you that until the time he was five he believed that homemade cookies came from plastic tubes in grocery store refrigerator section.
As we’ve all grown up a bit and our lives have changed I have more time to spend on cooking and food. I don’t cook every day, because too much domesticity frightens spouse and spawn, but I do it as often as schedules permit. I even make the occasional homemade (not from the tube) cookie.
This brings me to my current problem. Facing the mirror after a summer filled with travel, feasting, and a schedule that keep my daily three mile constitutionals at a bare minimum I realize I’m carrying just a bit too much avoirdupois (that’s a nice Frenchy way of saying flab). I’m by no means obese and there have been times in my life when I’ve carried quite a bit more weight than this. Still, it’s best to nip these things in the bud before it gets out of hand. The thought of having to wear double Spanx and saran wrap to fit into my pencil skirts holds no appeal.
I have managed to learn a few things about reducing myself even though I love good food. The most important thing I have gleaned is that there is no substitute for good food. Reduced fat cheeses taste like melted plastic and all those 100 calorie snack packs just depress me. I have found that if keep good chocolate and cheese in the house I actually eat less. The ingredients are richer and I feel satisfied with less. It could also be that once you pay ten bucks for a really good bar of chocolate you want to make it last as long as humanly possible. It seems the poorer the ingredients the more I want to gorge myself. I think the Reeses people put crack in the peanut butter cups so that you’ll keep eating them till you pop.
Telling myself that I can’t have certain foods only guarantees that I will eat more of whatever it is I put on my list. If I am mindful of what I eat I can have whatever I want and that’s far better than dreaming of things I must give up even for a brief time. So, let us all eat chocolate and cheese! In moderation, of course!