Posted in Room and Board

Holier Than Chow

Diet and nutrition have been elevated to a passion equal to that of religion.  People don’t just share recipes for fun anymore.  They share recipes the way they pass out propaganda listing the benefits of a virtuous life.  The recipes include organic, locally grown ingredients, with instructions for storing it in an environmentally friendly method.  Cooking anything else for your family will guilt you down to a loathsome, uncaring, gluttonous scum of the earth.

lunch bagBack when Mom packed my lunch she bought white bread, spread on Miracle Whip, slapped a piece of bologna in it, then packed it up with Fritos and a pop.  (Read “soda” if you live outside Minnesota.)

That’s right.  My bread was not whole grain, my sandwich spread had lots of ingredients she couldn’t pronounce, and the lunchmeat — well, we don’t want to know.  The sandwich sat in a brown paper bag until it’s internal temperature was 87 degrees.  But boy, was it good with those Fritos tucked between the doughy-white slabs of Wonderbread!  To top it off, the packaging all got tossed in the trash because there was no such thing as recycling.

I’m not saying I want to go back to that, but eating food was fun.  You had to go to church if you wanted to feel guilty.  Not anymore.  There are food priests among us, folks.  These are people with deep-rooted beliefs who feel that if you are not eating what they are eating, you are doing yourself — NAY! The WORLD a grave disservice.

It is the food priest’s mission in life to save your nutritional soul, and lead you (kicking and screaming) to health.  But wait!  There is no eternal life, here.  We’re all dying in the end.  The goal is to die as healthily as possible — perhaps biking to Whole Foods.

saladThe rite of worship is the meal.  It is in the planning, buying, preparation and consumption.  Oblivious to other shoppers, meditation of labels takes place smack in the center of each isle.  Children are indoctrinated in front of the bananas, blocking all access from other food clergy and heathen alike.  Trips to organic farms are carried out like pilgrimages to the holy land.  The meal is consumed in solemn reverence of the plants that sacrificed their life.

Yummm . . . animal secretions . . .
Yummm . . . animal secretions . . .

The food priest also hears confession.  They use scary phrases such as “animal secretions” as euphemisms for wholesome sounding ingredients like eggs, milk, and honey.  “Refined sugar” equals cookies and muffins.

MMmmm . . . FLESH!
MMmmm . . . FLESH!

“Flesh” is the definition for roast beef or turkey breast.  The cuisine of our mothers is smugly called “Comfort Food” like a poisonous secret.  Sins are encouraged to be confessed using these terms, the worst of which is pink slime, and punishable by up to a full month of liquid detox diet.

Unsought counseling is very often the first indication that you have encountered a food priest.  You may experience unwelcome scrutiny over your cheeseburger with grilled onions and fries.  The evangelist may laughingly toss out the nickname of “foodie” as if adding an “e” to a word makes it harmless.  Druggy.  Achey breaky.  Owie.

In severe cases, you may be required to refrain from eating food prepared in certain establishments.  If it is suggested that you discard of kitchen utensils that have ever touched prohibited edibles, it is very possible you have encountered an actual nutritional cult.  This is dangerous, as you may never enjoy eating again, leading to any of a multitude of eating disorders.

Ellen

Look, I’m glad we all have our religion, democracy, and plenty of nutritional models to choose from.  I’m not picking on anyone.  Personally, I tend to be nutritionally non-denominational.  I love my congregation, as we welcome vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians, omnivores, Aktins followers, and anything in between.  We “pin” recipes, listen to each other rave about menus, and share samples.  When faced with a meal, we EAT it, ENJOY it, and share in each other’s company.  No one is moping, or preaching, or judging.

I try to do what I think is right for the world, my family, and my body . . . most of the time.  Admittedly, I sometimes feed my disposition (which is often a pepperoni pizza with chocolate chip cookies for dessert).  pepperoni pizzaHow very lucky for me that I have that choice.  You may choose to indulge in pomegranate.  Some people can only choose from rice or beans.  Some can choose from thirst or unclean water.  I’m pretty sure some would choose GM corn over starvation.

Which brings me to corn, and anyone who knows me well has heard me say, “Don’t get me started on corn!”  So yes, I know the sermon.  You’re preaching to the choir.  And sometimes the choir is fed up (literally).  I’m just asking the food priests to please stop trying to shove their communion down my throat.  If I want it, I know where to find it.

Posted in Lore

Define Normal Please

We all have challenges. Call it our cross to bear, affliction, hardship, or woe, but we all have them.  Some have more than others.  Some don’t think they have any at all, and that somehow gives them a license to go around tormenting the rest of us.  Since the majority of us admit to not being perfect, aren’t these thugs actually the ones with the problem? Why don’t we have drugs for that?

Let’s say some dude has a problem over people with learning disabilities.  Hey!  We have a cure for that.  He takes the Rx, and for the next month, he spends every waking minute with a learning disability.  Some people are going to need a refill, but I think most ought to only need round one.

Racist?  This pill might change your appearance a little.  One possible side effect is a tendency to talk with an accent, but is most common in those with an additional aversion to immigrants.

Do you hate people who have less money than you?  Dress differently?  Believe differently?  Vote differently?  Are too pretty?  Not pretty enough?  Hey, whatever your problem, we can fix that with a pill.

Some people will be requiring a cocktail.  They have it out for people who talk with lisps as well as gays and lesbians, but also make fun of elderly people.  Wow.  Well, take 2 of these each day with a meal, this one before you go to bed, and this one you’re going need 3 times a day but don’t mix it with the one you take at bedtime.  It’s going to be a rough month.  Hang in there.

I thought about a vaccine to avoid the idiocy in the first place, but there are just too many strains of ignorance.

Personally, I think people with no sense of humor need to see a doctor.  They don’t need to agree with what I find comical, but lighten up.  At least find it funny that I find something serious funny.  Like bullies.  They are not silly, but I find the thought of giving them a pill for it slightly amusing.

Who do you think needs a prescription?

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Posted in Great Outdoors

Don’t Judge a Flower by Its Dirt

dscn0371There was something familiar about contemplating my weed to grass ratio last week. I sat on the front step and let my mind wander. It drifted all the way back, to a year in the late ‘60s. My best friend and I were young girls playing down at the ditch.

Anyone from my old neighborhood knows what I mean by the ditch. It was a stretch of land outlined by the street on one side, the railroad tracks on the other.  It was our playground, wilderness, bicycle course, sledding hill, place of all dares real and imagined. It was our turf.

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One lazy spring day, the kind that makes you think summer is here to stay, I sat with my playmate watching the clouds.  We contemplated the kind of reasoning that 9 year-olds will. Our attention was drawn to the petals dancing in the breeze. We knew what our moms grew were flowers. We also knew if either of our moms had seen any of these in the yard, they would be deemed weeds and promptly uprooted.

And so our analysis began. Who exactly determined a blossom was a flower or a weed? We both agreed the blooms around us were just as delicate, vibrant and fragrant as any daffodil at home. Children of our age understood well the injustice of social divisions. How sad for the weeds that they cannot be showcased in a garden. How sad for the flowers in the garden that they cannot mingle with the grasses in the field.

dscn0390We embarked, that day, on the creation of our first garden. Right there in our wilderness we churned the earth with borrowed tools. We plotted, envisioned, transplanted and dreamed our weed garden into existence. We irrigated with water hauled in pails from home almost a block away. As I remember, the plants responded to the care we gave. We were proud and diligent until childhood distractions lured us away.

Maybe we were just children of the ’60s. Or maybe some lifelong morals were instilled out under the sun that summer.  All I know is that I still believe in the childhood convictions we committed to so many years ago.

  • Don’t judge a flower by its dirt.
  • Living things, given a little water and fresh air, flourish.
  • Mingle with the grasses.
  • Dandelions are pretty too.
  • If you are a weed in a flower garden, get a good deep root and just keep popping up.
  • Summer is never here to stay.

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Photos were taken at Como Park, St. Paul, Minnesota