Happy Summer – we ARE still alive, despite the two month lapse that somehow happened. Our roses have bloomed now three times since the season turned – and while this rose is safely in the Portland Rose Garden, we’re getting lovely-smelling ones that look nothing like it (ours are more peach shading to pink edges than white). We’d like to point out that this one is too beautiful to look real anyway.
It’s been now a year and three months since we changed the way we eat. Not a diet, not a “movement” or a “challenge;” not “clean eating” or “Paleo” or anything else with a title and achievable goals except, “maybe we shouldn’t eat ourselves into an early grave, you think?” These things are easier to leap onto when you’re feeling like sick, and easier to become zealous and self-righteous about when you look like runway models. (Looking at you, annoying celebrities writing cookbooks when you clearly don’t eat.) The funny thing is that, now that visible results are achieved — you really can’t lose three or four stone and a few sizes without someone noticing — people are eager to eat with us. We’re receiving a lot of invitations… because apparently, we look good enough to where eating in public is now safe?
Unfortunately, most of what we’re offered, we don’t eat. Not never-ever, because we do enjoy moderate amounts of everything – but generally T., at least, since she’s most apt to keel over genetically, plays it super-super-SUPER safe and says “no, thank you.”
Pub grub? Is mostly out. Pancakes? Not even a stack of super-granola-crunchy-whole-wheat. Mac and cheese cupcakes, even the Gouda ones – definitely out (and let’s take a moment to shake our heads at … mac and cheese cupcakes. Because EVERYTHING can be made into cupcakes and NEEDS TO BE. Not). Balanced atop the stunning pile of things which we don’t, as vegetarians, eat anyway, with our food …weirdness, we’ve become the Unfun People again. Which is fine. T., at least, is generally not fun anyway, she’s cranky, and she likes it like that. But how funny that for a moment, at least, we must have looked more fun than usual. Or else, maybe the invitations correspond with it being summer? Yeah… that sounds reasonable and less paranoid. Summer. *cough* Not suspicious of anyone’s judgment here at all.
Happily, some of the people who don’t live in our heads have become helpful in us achieving our goals in eating differently. COSTCO – generally supremely indifferent to anything but providing massive boxes of Halloween candy months before the stupid holiday and muffins the size of your head – now sells our almond flour. Smaller bags than we used to order from the company in the Midwest (who helpfully opened a California store, too), but still! Even more convenience! And, if you haven’t noticed, Smuckers has jams that are both Low Sugar – 50% less – AND sweetened with Truvia AND sweetened with Splenda. T. is confident that the raspberry one is just copying the flavor of red Kool Aid for fun (how is it that everything raspberry tastes artificial? Even freeze-dried raspberries tastes suspiciously like Kool Aid… which leaves you to wonder more about Kool Aid, really, than raspberries), but wow — suddenly, other people seem to be sharing our delusion that bleached everything/high fructose corn syrup/sugar not be super awesome all the time. Imagine.
So, Summer’s been dancing along delightfully, for the most part – we’re really grateful to live in a fogbank much of the time, and are surprised to waken mornings when we can actually see the street below our house. Despite the moderate heat, T. has killed several pots of greens and poppies so far, which means it was too exposed on the deck when she started, and the idea of winter gardening is looking more and more attractive (although the news continues to warn of the approaching El Niño cycle… ::sigh:: SOME OF US cannot win.) One superior success for this summer so far has been our little worm farm. The disturbingly large, red and burly worms in our little bin have been eating egg shells, tea bags and every vegetable matter but onions and citrus peels (too acidic) and have provided us with a horrible smelling but really nutritious “worm tea.” Our plants (that T. hasn’t yet killed, anyway) are very happy, and we’re really hopeful to continue to enrich this HIDEOUS soil in this area.
Every summer (winter, autumn, spring) day needs treats – little things that you can eat with one hand, while with the other you pull weeds around your blueberry bush which isn’t going to produce this year (unlikely) or water confused and shock transplanted strawberries (and beg the green ones to redden up) or wave away ginormous flying insects and wonder why outdoors is so…full of… things on which to inhale and choke (DAILY). T. has been cheerfully churning out kitchen faves, perfecting her pastries, and altogether enjoying herself because D. is too busy hating the stacks of papers he’s grading to interrupt her in the kitchen/save her from the kitchen. T’s actually a tiny bit reluctant in her baking, because D. has always been the kitchen king, and his love of things with noisy engines and buttons and blades sort of overshadows T’s hesitant forays into the culinary world. But, now that D.’s even been too busy to feed the ravening hordes at his office, he recently swiped a few of her cookies to hand around. She was… okay, more than a little worried.
T: “No, you can’t take those. The recipe is still In Tweak. (An official state, wherein notes are scribbled in the margins of spattered pieces of paper then shoved into random kitchen drawers and utterly lost.)”
D: “It’s just a couple for These Guys From This Trailer And Those Guys There, and one of them is even gluten intolerant. He’s allergic to everything. He’ll be fine.”
T. moped about for days, when one of the guys said of her cookies just tasted like… peanut butter.
You may have noticed that we mentioned “pastries” a few lines back. Amusingly, we eat more pies, shortcakes, cookies, pastries, fats, nuts, and eggs and all than we EVER did before – happily. It’s not that we don’t eat treats, but we eat treats WE make, and we really scrutinize ingredients, and there’s a lot of Tweak. Well, over time… our tastes have changed. Without noticing, because we eat so much less sugar, we don’t need things as sweet. Which means that occasionally? Our cookies are … apparently not really sweet to people.
Which T. found bewildering.
T: “But, there’s more than peanut butter in there. There’s sweetener. There’s jam in those. Regular jam, with regular sugar. You gave him the regular ones, not the Truvia ones, right? Just jam. You can’t make blackberries not sweet.”
D: “Well, he only said — “
T: “I mean, it’s fruit. Fruit is automatically sweet. What does he mean, it’s not sweet. They’re COOKIES. Did you tell him they were vegan? Is that it? People are always so hostile to vegans.”
D: “Oh, were these vegan? Huh. Well, anyway, he said — “
T: “It’s YOUR fault. I told you those cookies weren’t ready! Now nobody likes my food.”
Fortunately, D. knew better than to pursue conversation with the irrational. Finding lemon scones on the counter some days later, he ganked a half dozen for the ravening hordes which were cherished and passed around and hoarded and everyone said very sweet things about a professional baking career, and “best scones EVER IN THE WORLD,” so some of our egos are finally somewhat mollified. *cough* Until next time.
Have a cookie. No, HAVE ONE. What, you think I can’t tell you hate it? What? Oh, you’re allergic to peanut butter? …oh. No. I’m not trying to kill you. No, really, it’s fine. We can just sit here and watch the grass grow and have water. Oh, look, a squirrel…”