Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Rules of Eating

I don't actually cook every day, so I cook on the weekend. That way we have yummy, economical, home-cooked meals fresh and ready when dinner time comes. Except, when we don't have them. Maybe on the weekend I am, hypothetically speaking, looking at a potential college for PPP. Hypothetically. Not cooking. Also not grocery shopping.

Tonight I am serving rotisserie chicken fresh from a huge chain grocery store and Stauffer's Macaroni and Cheese. If you cook it just a minute longer it makes this cheesy brownish crust in the corner. That's the only part I like.

On to the rules - # 1 - hungry means fast. Restated - "give me sugar, and I want it now." Today, after my particularly wild morning that started in the dark headed to the airport followed by a traffic jam that made me LATE to school, I was feeling the hungry -means-fast feeling. And, within the friendly halls of my school I rounded up these choices:Two beautiful pears.
Brown-sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts with the University of Florida Gator logo somehow reproduced on the icing. (Yes, that is Vergil's Aeneid, in Latin). They look alarmingly like temporary tattoos people put on their faces at football games and swim meets. If I had gone through the whole football themed box of Pop-tarts, theoretically I would have also seen Ohio State or Boston College. Question. Why are we putting tattoos on Pop-Tarts? To make them even more disturbing? Is the tattoo infused with vitamins? Does it make them even more nutritious than a brown sugar Pop Tart is already? Who would CHOOSE a Pop Tart over any other food because of the college logo? "Sorry Mom, I only eat UT Vols Pop Tarts!" It's the sugar!
Which did I choose? Seriously?

Two beautiful pears or two Pop-Tarts with a tattoo? Remember, HUNGRY means FAST.

Surprise - the Pop-Tarts. I ignored the logos. I also ignored the jarring juxtaposition of Pop Tarts and the Aeneid. I ate them because they were easier and ...easier...and more disgustingly junk-foodish. But so gooey and hot.

Under what circumstances would I have chosen the pears?
  • The circumstances of the pears being the only food available.
  • EVER.
Why? Hungry means sugar. I always choose Pop Tarts over Pears. But I choose Toaster Strudel over Pop-Tarts, and there is some faux fruit-ish substance within the Toaster Strudel, which is actually like a Pop Tart on steroids.

So.. the rules. I use another little-known rule to make sure that my growing adolescents eat nutritious and well balanced meals. One is taking advantage of the rule of home means hungry. Both PPP and our Young Son walk in the door starving. Same with The Sophisticate and BigB. It makes no difference if they walk in at 3:30 or at 5:30 or at 3:17 a.m. Home means hungry. Let there be food, because the fastest, easiest thing is what's going to get eaten.

SO, back to the rules again - the plan is to put out the food that the minions are LEAST LIKELY TO EAT first, when they are starving, and they will eat it. Put out a bowl of freshly washed grapes. Our Young Son chooses this begrudgingly, unless he is starving, when he will eat 4.7 pounds of grapes in roughly 12 minutes, then ask "Are there any more grapes?" It also works with brussell sprouts, the fresh kind. I discovered this when I steamed some up and they were ready before the rest of the meal - and they became finger food for the minions, who tossed them back like bon-bons or truffles or some exotic mushroom and gourmet cheese combo, that I only hear about while planning people's wedding menus.

Here are a few things my unsuspecting offspring have eaten, when I apply the 'starving to death, here's your only choice' rule:OK, that's not fair. That's Mimi's salad, and it has a lot of bacon on it. Even I will eat that salad. So will our Young fact he'd eat all of them.

Back to the rules - here are some things they have eaten after arriving home STARVING.
  • Salad, of any kind . . . often without bacon
  • 2 whole pineapples
  • 3 quarts of strawberries
  • avocado
  • smoked oysters
  • asparagus
  • spinach
  • a whole rotisserie chicken
  • almonds with no salt

If I DO NOT supply a "healthy alternative," they will eat bowls and bowls of cereal or a whole stack of Club Crackers until I provide an alternative. Then, they will say "I'm not hungry, I just ate a bowl of cereal." Never mind your actual food.

Back to the rules. The "don't count calories" are a mystery. When one eats more calories than one expends, one gains weight. Unless they are 'don't count' calories, like the ones in the 'Hundred Calorie Packs." Or the ones that you lick from a bowl, or eat directly from a knife. Those no-count calories. Pop Tart calories count. Trust me. I have tested the theory. Often. They count. Every single one of them. But they shouldn't. SO...back to the rules. No count calories apparently actually don't count for some people. Our Young Son is - how to put this delicately and not offend his sensibilities since he is one of my three loyal readers? Our Young Son is LEAN. Very, very, very lean. It starts with an 'S' and it rhymes with BRAWNY. He thinks he eats a whole lot. I think so too. But, since he is not moving from the S word to Brawny, I have decided to count his calories. If Michael Phelps needs 10,000 calories a day ( or some obscene number ) then our Young Son, by a complex algorithmic calculation needs about 6OOO calories. Or I made it up. (Actually, I did Google up a website, and he needs more than 4000 to maintain, so there.)He thinks he's eating that much, but since he's not gaining - from the S word to the B word - then we are going to COUNT CALORIES. For Weight GAIN. I have counted a lot of calories. But not for weight gain. EVER.

A food diary. For weight GAIN. That is a concept I cannot grasp.

I'll report back.


Mike and Katie said...

Hi Ann,

Funny stuff. My oldest is so lean, too. He does not eat enough though. That would take too much time.



kikibibi said...

My 16 year old is 6'3" and 150+ (he says 160). If they lift weights, they will gain pounds, but what teenage football player/student has time or energy to also lift weights??!!? Try "whey protein" available at health food stores. Mix it in with milk, yogurt, on top of cereal, just about anywhere. Supposedly that helps to increase bulk.

p.s. Congrats on the mid-week post! I'm about 3 weeks behind where I'd like to be on my blog!!

Carin said...

ooooo... pop tarts. That's my choice if I'm in a hurry and hungry. My boys have pop tarts with knock knock jokes and Indiana Jones. I'll take the Indiana Jones please.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could count calories to gain weight...I also wish I had a poptart right now...although I would much prefer a Florida State Seminoles one!

Rue said...

Hi Ann :)

I'm sorry I haven't been by in so long. I'm so backed up with visiting, I don't think I'll ever catch up... ugh.

Is that how many calories it takes to gain weight? Apperantely I've been eating A LOT. LOL