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Meeting with the Food Parole Officer Part 3

I meet with my Dietitian weekly. Over zoom. She’s lovely. Smart. Knows her science. Charming. But to protect her identity and to always remind myself it was my own behavior(s)/choices/whatever that got me in this mess, I refer to her as my Food Parole Officer. There is a confessional aspect to meeting with your dietitian weekly, and Food Parole Officer seemed better than Food Priest.

Anyway, I asked how she had been doing and she said, “doing well” and she had been doing some writing. I asked what kind of writing and she said they were working on doing a “Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking Class”. I guess I must have made a face, because she said, “What, doesn’t that sound good?”. “I don’t know, it kind of comes across as “Sex in a Public Library Class”. You can do it, but it doesn’t sound like fun.

Pleasantries can only go on for so long before she asks the “So how are you doing?”. She’s very consistent in tone, as I can’t parse out any of the variations, which all have different meaning, like “So, HOW are you doing?” vs “So how are YOU doing?” vs “So, how are you DOING?, which in all honesty is probably the meaning I’m wanting to escape. So it doesn’t always sound like a bad episode of that reality show, “Confessional Booth Superlatives”, I try to alternate between starting with “good news” and then “bad news”. Sometimes if the bad news is bad enough I’ll say, “Trigger Warning”. She’s learned to gird herself in the chair like when a flight attendant, 5 minutes after announcing severe turbulence, says “Brace in your seats”, milliseconds after the oxygen masks have popped out of the ceilings. ( I conjured this image the time I said “trigger warning” and then described my craving for my favorite mexican dip which is velveeta and salsa heated in the microwave till melted. You could definitely see the oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling on her face).

“I got a craving for my favorite cinnamon buns from my favorite bakers which I haven’t had in three months and the baker is next door to the greek place where I get my fresh ingredients lamb gyro so I popped in and got two and I ate the first one that day and it was amazing”. (somehow saying all that without breathing makes it seem easier. I’m relying on all the tricks my inner 8 year old remembers) But as she was looking up, which she now does anytime I tell her something that freaks her out (because I told her when I said something that freaked her out she would look left so now she only looks up), I said very quickly, “And I had the second one the next night and it gave me a horrible food hangover” hoping the pleasure that the second one made me ill would help with the whole freak out thing. Then, as she often does. She surprised me with, “That’s not so bad, next time you have a craving like that, you have to make the thing yourself. From Scratch.”

black smoke burst in brown open field at daytime

Is what my brain immediately did. Wait what? I can’t churn ice cream! Oh no, if I make a yellow cake with chocolate icing – I’ll eat the whole thing! OMG, this is going to eliminate 80% of my cravings. Crap. Apparently, as you will see below, she was still talking and as usual when my mind has this processing explosion, I heard nothing of what came after “make it yourself”.

Fast forward a few days later when sure enough, I get a craving for my fav cookie – oatmeal raisin. Gotta make it myself, I think. I’ve never made cookies in my life. Yes, I had a mother. Yes, I was married once. Yes, that’s another blog. Less funny though. Looked up a couple of oatmeal raisin cookie recipes. I thought, this is not so hard. Made my plan for Sunday. Here’s some things I learned. When they say “cream the butter” (which means mix the soft room temperature butter with the sugar until its “creamy”) and you don’t have a stand mixer, you DEFINITELY don’t’ want to use an immersion blender or a hand mixer. If you’ve ever been to the beach in a very skimpy bathing suit and gotten caught in a sudden hurricane where sand enters every pore and orifice in your body – that’s close to my experience. (My housecleaner is going to be really pissed tomorrow)

After putting the “balls of dough” (my thirteen year old brain loves the expression, “balls of dough” on a cookie sheet, I noticed the recipe said “refrigerate dough”. My not so quick thinking brain thought, “I can’t fit this cookie sheet in my fridge, so how important cant that step be” not realizing that I was supposed to put the MIXING BOWL of dough in the fridge. This is how important that step is…..

As I mentioned on my social media post, these cookies looked like a drunk driver took a car airborne into the living room of a home where the car burst on fire and burned. But they tasted good. Well,the first 12 I ate tasted great. I decided to send this pic to my food parole officer and mentioned we might need to discuss portion sizes when I found out that part I mentioned above where my head exploded and i missed what she had said after? Apparently it was, “make it yourself from scratch, EAT ONE AND THEN GIVE THE REST AWAY”. Wait. What? You mean like find a beautiful women, ask her out, hope she accepts, take her out to a lovely dinner, pray for chemistry, get invited back to her place where she gets naked and then say, “Hold on, I need to call a friend.”? We have some negotiating to do on Thursday. We have some very different ideas about “cookies”.

Categories
Humor

In Search of Ancient Aliens. No- A 50 year old Fruitcake Recipe

Growing up, my parents had three holiday treat, cooking traditions – homemade Sicilian pizza, strufoli and this fruitcake. I make the pizzas every year, the strufoli is just too much damn work (I just learned in this process the oldest brother made it every year and never sent me any) but the fruitcake recipe was “lost”. On a lark, I asked my middle brother, Richard, who is the volunteer expert family archivist (he scanned and organized all family photos after my parents died – literally thousands of hours of work – thank you again) if he had the recipe. He said he didn’t have it on the computer, but maybe in the basement. After two days of searching- he FOUND it!!! Best Christmas present ever and I became so excited about trying to recreate this taste and smell experience from my childhood.

My parents made this amazing Fruitcake recipe every year at Christmas 50 years ago when I was a kid. When I say amazing, people who liked fruitcake said it was amazing. It made no fruitcake converts. I never remember somebody who hated fruitcake trying some and saying, “OMG- I like fruitcake NOW!” But as fruitcake goes, it was good. Moist, rich and a good jigger of rum was included in the baking and poured over it every other day for a week after baking.

So, I dutifully took the recipe list and made a shopping list -most were common items, self rising flour, sugar, spices. Two interesting learning items in what turned out to be an exercise in food archeology – 50 years ago you could by 8 ounces of “junior baby” food “prunes with tapioca”. Having not been down the baby food aisle in 35 years, first surprise- it’s in the pharmacy. That scared me a little. Why is baby food now with the drugs? Admittedly, the food selections were a little high in fruits. That’s a lot of Sugar but ok. Second, while you could get prunes (which I assume makes the cake more moist) none with tapioca. I had to google “Tapioca”. It’s actually a plant- like a starch- acts as a thickening agent. Why I wonder would you give a baby prunes- with a thickening agent. If this was a thing 50 years ago, this explains a lot about our current political environment. Also surprised that publix had candied fruit for fruitcakes. No citron though. Also had to google citron. Did not know that citron is the original citrus fruit from which all other citrus species came from. (I may have to do further research on that- it still seems like suspect info) Decided lemon peel would do. Amazed to be leaving store with all ingredients.

My parents made this case in a deep round smooth springform pan with a tube in the middle. So, I go to the Litchen works chain store thinking buying a pan and som Empty Tim’s will be a breeze. Nope. Nada. They had no tins. Salesperson shows me last 10 in, 2 inch tall spring form cake pan. Bought a center “hole” thing. Ordered a deeper pan and find from Amazon while still in store

On way out, salesperson asks if I found whatever else I needed and says yes. She leans over and in her best CIA whisper says, “that lady who wanted the springform was very angry you got it – she said she was in the store before you!” Wait. What? Is that a think now? Can I show up to target at 6 am when the store opens and park my ass in a folding chair by check out and ad folks come by pluck things from their cart saying , “I was in store before you!”. I told the sales person the grumpy lady should use Amazon like I did.

Final update coming soon- cooking the fruitcake”