A mother of twins told me that people always ask her kids whether they like being twins. They reply How would we know; we have nothing to compare it to.
Like the twins, with nothing to compare it to, for a long time I assumed friends’ formative years were “normal” like mine, like those of families on TV but not as funny. Only in the past 10 of my 67 years have I learned that several friends from my schooldays were abused by their mothers.
These were mothers I knew, homes I visited, homes I went to for sleepovers. Oh my goodness, what a somber opening to what I thought was going to be a merry post about quirky eating.
Ruminations about my own daily eating quirks led me to thoughts of the twins and then of the abusive mothers in that we really don’t know people’s norms and abnorms when it comes to eating, or anything else.
I am curious George about your gastronomic quirks. I’ll share mine—and if you share yours, maybe I’ll find that mine are not quirks at all and that everyone drinks a pint of tea in a Pyrex measuring cup before bed. Maybe you’ll be surprised too. Maybe we’ll all learn some ways to expand our noshing universes.
Back when my nest was full, I made my standard five or so weekly dinners: family favorites like Bonnie pasta (in a puddle of olive oil, bake tomato halves, each topped with a mix of bread crumbs, parm cheese and garlic powder at 400 degrees and toss with rigatoni).
I figured every family had their fave five and that we should all share. In that vein, and in the name of blogging that allows such trivial dwelling on oneself, I hereby share a day in the life of my kitchen.
My breakfast exemplifies two of my diet tips:
- The later you have the first meal of the day, the less you’ll eat, especially if you graze throughout your waking hours.
- You crave what you eat, so you might as well stock your cupboard with healthful groceries. (Try having a vinaigrette salad at 4 pm each day instead of a Snickers and see what happens.)
So my first meal—usually around 2 p.m.—consists of raw instant-oatmeal oats with unsalted almonds, banana, and skim milk, along with a plate of fruit, a small bowl of pretzels, and a cup of decaf followed by a mug of hot water with lemon, which I refill throughout the day.
Because I stand while eating, except for breakfast and sometimes for dinner, I don’t call my next meal lunch. I rarely get hungry; more likely, the thought of food creeps up on me and, once I get food for thought, I head to the fridge.
Typically in the late afternoon, I flip on NPR and stand over the sink with a small turkey lettuce wrap or a dab of peanut butter on a rice cake, which I follow with my favorite food moment of the day and best diet tip: dark (73%) chocolate, a large handful of almonds, and a large glass of skim milk. Like most of my food sessions this one gets topped off with a bowl of pretzels and a fresh mug of hot lemon water.
This keeps me full for hours and limits my eating if I go out to dinner. Around 10 or midnight or 2 a.m., I feel like having a meal. If I had my druthers, I’d eat rare chicken livers on toast every time, but I fear the cholesterol; so I’m more likely to heat up a crab cake or boil an egg and toss it with greens, black olives, microwaved new potatoes, tomato, olive oil, and red wine vinegar (essentially a poor woman’s salade niçoise; prep time 7 minutes).
I also steam or roast heaps of a veg and eat the leftovers over the sink the following day. A new favorite is roasted kale (of which there are never leftovers). You wash the kale, tear it up and toss in a roasting pan with olive oil and bake at around 410 degrees until it browns and the edges become crisp and brittle. Unlike my advice in a previous post, I salt the kale before and/or after. It cooks down to a little wonderful nothing that is impossible to stop eating until it’s all gone. I don’t bother preheating the oven, which reminds me to point out that you can cook pasta in a small amount of cold water.
Afterwards I relax with my pint of tea. If I feel like something sweet, I dip a slice of frozen banana into a square of melted chocolate and wash it down with skim milk. Alternatively, I pour skim milk into my Stonyfield pint container of minty chocolate chip frozen yogurt and spoon off the frozen layer created by the milk and then I drink the milk out of the carton—this is a benefit of living alone.
I go up to my bath with a glass of white wine over ice and my day’s final bowl of pretzels. And then I settle in to watch a DVR recording of one of the Jo(h)ns on The Daily Show, (Does anyone else love John Oliver’s smile with those wonderfully British jagged teeth?) followed by two girlfriends (of each other, not of mine) Kathie Lee and Hoda on Today, which makes it hard to have bad dreams.
Given all those liquids, it’s a wonder I can sleep at all, but I get up only once or twice to pee and then go back to bed to complete my eight hours. A live-alone-with-her-sort-of-beagle writer has the flexibility to sleep, work, eat, drink however and whenever she feels like it.
When I spend extended periods with friends, they remark how much I eat. Probably riding my bike as my primary means of transportation helps to keep me slim enough.
So now, it’s your turn! What do you eat on an ordinary day?
MARRIAGE, RELATIONSHIPS, PSYCHOTHERAPY AND MORE IN MY NEW MEMOIR . . .
Readers of all ages will relate to this deeply personal story, told with comical sensibility by a quirky, startlingly honest mother, daughter, ex-wife, and dog lover, who—à la Nora Ephron—will feel like a dear friend. Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
Susan Orlins bares her soul and her body in this honest and hilarious memoir. She calls it like she remembers it whether she’s talking about a lover, a therapist or herself. Very refreshing.