Monday, September 17, 2012

Love Handles

Recently, I’ve been trying to diet. And by diet, I mean 'technically eating less by ignoring the option of a third portion'. And let me tell you, it’s hard. Why are all the good things in life so fattening? And please, don’t even try to make some sort of argument that a really good fruit plate works as a sufficient dessert substitute. We all know that when push comes to shove in the final hour, you’re going for the brownie. It’s scientific fact.

I have a serious problem (or is it obsession? Yes, obsession) with food. It is almost embarrassing (and by ‘almost’ I mean I don’t care, but other people sometimes look at me with terrified eyes) how much time I spend thinking about food. Whether it’s cooking it, eating it, or usually just picking it up from a restaurant, food is generally on my mind. If there was a ‘Hoarders’ TV show regarding food, I would be their first episode. All of the characteristics of a Hoarders show would be there: someone tearfully trying to stage an intervention, the host wondering where it all went wrong, me threatening everyone and trying to run away with hidden stockpiles of food, and a shocked crowd gazing agape at the mountains of wrappers I've accumulated. Some of my more recent eating accomplishments include eating a pound of pasta in one sitting, eating 10 pancakes (in one sitting), eating an entire plate of pasta and a pizza (yes, in one sitting, all of these things are in one sitting, mmmmmkay?), and eating a vat of potato salad. That last one, I regret immensely. More often than not, I pass out post-binge eating and awake in a pile of crumbs, food containers, and shame.

Let’s just talk this out. Food is an interesting thing. People don’t give it enough credit, I think. I regard it as a first love. My relationship with it is powerful. Strong. Amazing. Food is always there for me. It is ever willing to be creative and inventive. It can be comforting or adventurous, and it’s always down to hang out at 3 a.m. Can you think of someone who does the same thing for you? No? That's what I thought.

Someone I used to work with was proud of the fact that she couldn't remember the last time she ate. Umm...get away from me. Now. To me, one of the best ways of determining a future friendship and/or relationship is to gauge how well we can eat together. If we're both at a restaurant and have the understood agreement that oh yes, we're getting appetizers AND our own entrees, then you'd best believe we're going to be BFF's. If you eat a half cup of soup and announce that "oh my, I'm stuffed"...ummm, we're done here. I have been very lucky to be blessed with friends who will devour small villages with me. Our arrival somewhere has a similar effect to that of a plague of locusts.

I'm not one of those foodies who will become enraged if the salmon is seasoned with paprika instead of cumin. But you'd better believe and know that I will assume you're proposing marriage to me (in code, of course) if you're talking about cooking for me. And oh yes, we're talking dirty if said meal is all carbs. I’d say the most romantic way someone could propose to me would be to place the ring in my food, but that bauble would be eaten before the flash of bling even crossed my mind.

This blog post is a cheers to everyone, who like me, was that kid growing up who hated eating at friends' houses. You know, you'd go and sit at the dinner table with your friend’s family, and you'd take one look at the dinner portions and think “well, this isn't going to work”. This post is a dedication to all my brethren who are 'the friend that makes you stop for drunk food on the way home'...even if no one is drunk. Let us toast to my kinsfolk who frequent a 24-hour drive-thru during all 24 hours. I feel that I may be the person that the question “You’re STILL hungry?” was invented for. When I order food from restaurants, I receive a bag full of food and a thoughtful assortment of cutlery appropriate for a party of 4 (come on, who hasn't had that happen to them...right?). I plan on riding the explanation of "I'm just a young growing girl" into the ground, even though I am no longer very young, or even growing.

I'm pretty much a carb-atarian. There will be times when I'm 97% sure I'm developing scurvy because I haven't seen, thought, or heard of a fruit/vegetable for several weeks. And be honest. “I’m so full from that delicious low-fat salad full of kale and quinoa” said no one EVER. Fast food and or comfort food is a surefire sign that there is some sort of holy deity above us. Whoever said “nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” never tasted Marshmallow Fluff. Or wedge potatoes. Or Milanos. Or lobster ravioli. Or buttery mashed potatoes. Or anything deeply decadent and chocolate. Or breadsticks. Or deep-fried anything. Wait, what was my point again?

While at some points my attachment to food is quite terrifying (I will growl/hiss at/maim anyone who tries to take this fork away from me), there is good reason for it. Food is a type of passion. It’s a way of expressing love. No one goes “oh my god, congratulations on your accomplishment! Let’s go to the gym to celebrate.” No...you eat, drink, and be merry. I think food is a way of showing happiness, and a source of comfort. I was raised in a Jewish household, and the cure for pretty much anything was (and still is) to go eat something. I could walk in with a broken limb and internal hemorrhaging and the advice I would receive from my mother would be to go wash my face and then eat something. I personally believe that one could settle the Middle East conflict by inviting everyone to a lovely pasta dinner.

I think that life is too short to worry about looking like a Victoria’s Secret model or the guy from P90X if it means sacrificing some eggrolls. I'm all for healthy eating and feeling good about yourself, but I also want a life where my jeans work for their closet space because I ate two desserts. I want to be with people who enjoy a late night snack, and I think it's fun to go out to eat and try a little bit of everything. I don't have time for people who judge my portion size, and the answer to "would you like to see the dessert menu tonight?" should always be yes. There's so much food to be tried and enjoyed...why hold back? :)

So if you’ll excuse me, I'm going to have the phrase "if it's not deep fried, I’m not interested" tattooed across my forehead. Mmmmm-mmmmm.