Monday, June 26, 2006

Meal planning

I love vegetarians. You never hear them complain about their metabolism. I think my metabolism went on vacation my sophomore year of college and forgot to return from Spring Break. Right now I'll bet you it's on a beach sipping pina coladas out of a coconut shell with a little yellow umbrella sticking out of the top, lounging in a hammock, and laughing at me.

I, myself, am an omnivore. Although I don't eat a lot of red meat, you get me the slightest bit anemic (and it happens every so often), and I'm like a vampire in a blood bank being told "plasma, the other white meat." I like to think of myself as one of the people put on the planet specifically to keep the cow and chicken population down. I blame my parents.

Some time in my adolescence, I got sick of hearing how everything tasted like chicken, so I got adventurous and tried frog legs, aligator tail, caribou, elk, escargots (snails), emu, and am still looking for new things to taste. What I can tell you is that after high school biology (remember dissecting a frog), frog legs taste oddly of formaldehyde. Or maybe it's just a mental glitch. As for the others on that list, I'd eat them again happily (sorry vegans, seems therapy isn't helping me.)

I tried my junior year of college to lose some weight with the Atkins diet. I choked a bit on my five crackers a day over giving up pasta and bread, but shrugged and conceded. After three weeks of no fruit I had a small mental breakdown and had to take a day off of work to consume a watermelon, half a canteloupe, a bunch of grapes, a pint of strawberries, and an apple by myself. I didn't eat anything but fruit that day, overdosing on the Atkins' allowance for glucose, and not giving a damn. I've never neglected my first love since then (ah...fresh juicy and naturally sweet!!)

I do sympathize with vegetarians, as well. I love a good plate of grilled zucchini and yellow squash as much as the next guy. Maybe more. And I can leave the cheese off of my steamed broccoli (lightly flavored with Season-all) and have a lovely time. Now that I'm thinking of it, a steamed artichoke sounds tasty right now.

My problem is not what I eat, or overeating, or even the metabolism on vacation in the Keys. My problem is that I love food... the taste, the smell.... It's not a problem, actually. I mean that I'm quite fond of my adoration of food. And I do not resemble a weeble wobble, so the metabolism comment may be a tad over the top. My problem is with regards to meal planning, I'm a lazy cook. Because of scheduling and dietary needs of the rest of my family, I end up eating alone many evenings (after successfully wrangling the kids into bed), and I'm too lazy to boil lobster for one.

I've discovered that even as a lazy chef, I prefer my own cooking (or simple food preparation -- ya don't cook a nectarine) to eating out. Not a bad habit to be in, granted. But raising a kid that's allergic to milk protein (this is different from lactose intolerant, by the way) and raising a kid with brittle bones and all but on prescription to consume much dairy daily... well, at the end of the day of running the short-order restaurant out of the kitchen, I'm happy to remember to throw something on a plate for dinner before going to bed and being informed I forgot to eat by an angry, empty, and complaintive tummy.

What I've learned from all of this is that it's great to introduce the kids to all sorts of new foods and tastes. Whatever they wrinkle their noses up at I get to eat, and I don't have to cook for myself! Hmm... wonder if I could talk them into refusing to eat some zucchini for lunch?