Friday, June 22, 2012

"Create a Plate"

Well, I'll be jiggered.  Both of us slept later than usual.  How in the world did we ever, for over 40 years, set an alarm for 5 a.m., get up, and get going.  Can't honestly fathom that life anymore.  Some retirees ask for trips abroad and jewels around their neck.  Not me.  All I ask is no clock, no shoes, comfy clothes, and my laptop so I can write.  Those are the creature comforts I dreamt of all my working years.

The oats fields in our area are ripening.  One month early.  The reason I'll always remember when oats ripens is because when I was born my Daddy was harvesting the oats.  It became the seasonal reminder of back in '46 when the angels gathered and dropped me down into a happy family of three.  Eight years are between bro and me.  Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I'm pretty sure I was an accident.  Of course, neither parent ever admitted that to be true, but they  probably made a secret pact never to tell me.  I could see them doing that.

Our June morning here is positively gorgeous.  Blue skies, the trees are quiet and green, as are the lawns.  Flower baskets and flower beds are sprinkled with whites, yellows, reds, pinks and purples.  Our rain gauge, night before last, showed we had one inch of a soft and soaking rain.  Just perfect for the crops, just perfect for the earth in general.

Our household has started a new approach to consuming food, for reasons known only to us, to the Great Spirit, to our doctor, and the bathroom scale.  It's the "create a plate" plan.  Visually divide the plate into for fruit, on-fourth for vegetables, one-fourth for meat or fish, and one-fourth for potato.  Reasonable portions, and no second helpings.  That's the plan, but on special occasions we have agreed it's okay to fudge and eat freely.  There's a limit to what we're willing to deny ourselves these days.

This new plan has brought me back to the kitchen.  I'm second in rank in culinary skills around here, trust me.  My style is stingier and more brutal, but that's what is needed right now.  Variety is the key to 'dieting,' so it's exciting to ponder what to prepare.

Last evening I microwaved the crumbled hamburger instead of frying it in a skillet.  I put the meat in my yellow Tupperware strainer, placed the strainer on top of a bowl, covered the strainer with paper towel, and pushed the button.  All the fat dripped down into the bowl, and it's amazing how good that worked.

The word "diet" is the unfriendliest word in the English language.  The very thought of dieting sends an instant message to the brain warning that starvation is on the way.  Then our brains tell us that we are going to be deprived of what we love the most....good food.  And, that, my friends, is enough to send me into a full-fledged, and possibly fatal, tizzy.

Our "create a plate" strategy doesn't involve counting of calories, carbs, neutrons, or futons.  It does require common sense and wise choices.  Eating slower is something we have to work on, too.  We, for all the years of our marriage, have dined by the t.v.  If we had to move ourselves to a table, it would tip our canoe.  Negative eating habits are spawned by the television, but we aren't willing to give up that part of our lifestyle, quite frankly.  Like I said earlier, there are limits to what we're willing to deny ourselves.  As my fingers type this, my conscience is nagging....."Oh, America, you struggle not to eat food, while other parts of the world struggle because there is no food."

Sometimes I think we're drowning in a pool of unrelenting guilt.