Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sex, Food, and Survival

image from Quest Protein Bar
I don't care to discuss my sex life, present or past.

Food? I'll talk about food. In fact, last night I dreamed about a "Bowling Special." In this case, Bowling is a surname rather than a sport. 

Odis Bowling was an interesting man. Rumor spread that he was illiterate, but he was a prosperous fellow all the same. He had a hobby of smoking meat. Tall, thin, most of his teeth intact, but still a hillbilly, he carried a surname that traced to the early days of the Ozarks. His hobby turned into a business, mostly catering to trail rides, rodeos, and similar events, and then later he opened restaurants. Rumor spread that he would build a restaurant (barbecue shack is a better description), turn it into a prosperous business, and sell it. The new owner wouldn't be able to make a go of it, and Odis would buy it back at a discount or foreclose, and start making money again. Maybe he never told the buyers the exact nature of the wood, or how it was aged. Maybe he withheld a key ingredient from the rub. Most likely, he knew the business and how to operate it successfully, or at least until he got bored with a particular location.

A "Bowling Special" began with slices of smoked turkey, pork, and beef layered on an 8-inch (that's dinner plate dimensions) bun. Over the meat went barbecue sauce, then sauerkraut, then Swiss cheese. I could eat one, although I did skip ordering side dishes (baked beans, home fries, cole slaw, potato salad) that made the meal complete for the local gourmand.

That was thirty years ago. Odis works at the Great Barbecue Shack in the Sky, and I'm surviving on yogurt, V-8 juice, homemade tomato juice, nuts, frozen fruit, and an occasional can of sardines. Yesterday, in fact, I ate a cup of yogurt and a cup of blue berries for breakfast; 19 Brazil nuts during the course of the day (yes, I count them); a Quest power bar (my wife's discovery and a 2-ounce meal loaded with protein and fiber); another cup of yogurt; and four low-salt soda crackers.

It turns out a person (at least a sedentary person age seventy) doesn't need 2000-3000 calories a day to survive. In fact, I am beginning to realize it's remarkable how little a person needs to eat in order to flourish. True, granted, only if you embrace the Eat to Live ethos rather than the Live to Eat lifestyle.

Ask me now -- I just drank a glass of homemade tomato juice and ate 12-Brazil nuts -- and I'll tell you I don't believe I'm missing anything, a situation remarkable enough in that I have been addicted over my lifetime to Fritos, Pringles, Baby Ruth candy bars, Coors beer, Spanish rice, Dairy Queen blizzards, lemon meringue pie, hot dogs with sauerkraut, hamburgers with cole slaw topping, barbecue ribs, baked potatoes with multiple toppings, guacamole, Coca-Cola, spinach pizza, omelets, buckwheat pancakes, maple syrup, shrimp cocktail, spaghetti, lasagna, garlic bread, Swiss cheese, bleu cheese, and other things ranging from tea to peppermint candy to dogs (as companions rather than food). 

The menu for today ...

  • a cup of yogurt, a cup of blueberries
  • a half cup of yogurt
  • twelve Brazil nuts (number determined by calorie count)
  • a Quest chocolate-peanut bar
  • a 3-ounce can of sardines in water
  • 9 saltine crackers (number determined by calorie count)
  • a cup of yogurt 
  • three cups of green tea
  • a cup of homemade tomato juice (tomato paste, frozen peas, kosher salt)
  • 5-ounce can of low-sodium V-8 juice
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