A few weeks ago on Good Food—which I listen to with the non-participatory fascination that many people watch Inside the Actors Studio—a guy who might have been Michael Pollan was talking about how until relatively recently, meat was a special-occasions-only food in most cultures. This had to do with scarcity and the sneaking feeling that it was a slippery slope from munching on a roast pig to cooking up a fellow human. They developed elaborate rituals around meat eating to ensure it couldn’t be done to excess.
With the exception of a petite slice of mozzarella in a Caprese salad made by our friend Hataya, I haven’t had fish or more than bite-sized bits of dairy since Earth Day.
|Portobello, grilled onions, cucumbers and hummus on marbeled rye.|
What was my point?
Ritual—right! I’m feeling ready to eat fish again, but not the way I used to, which was to order it whenever the veggie option on the menu seemed boring. Fish is mostly good for you, so I’m open to putting the necessary ritualistic bells and whistles on it, say, once a week? There’s a piece of wild salmon waiting in my freezer for the right occasion. And maybe a box of fish sticks, but I’ll find a way to make them fancy, I promise.
Dairy may not be as good for me, so I’m going to make non-bite-sized bits of cheese and non-sip-sized milk more of a Very Special Occasion thing. Like, if someone wants to make me homemade ice cream (anyone?) or if there’s a cannoli anywhere in a two-mile radius.
I know these rules are a little silly, but as food-related control games go, they beat anorexia.
I only have two more assignments to grade before I’m done with my class, and AK is about to graduate, and I want summer to start today and to be the start of all kinds of great things. I want to read something that is not a typo-laden Word document. I want to revise my YA novel and send out my near-future short story. I want to see movies and stop buying cheap shoes. I want to eat dinner on our uneven patio. I want to put up the Cheryl’s Mood equivalent of those signs you see in factories (at least in movies): It has been __ days since our last injury! (This applies to me injuring others as well as injuries to myself.)
I made a list of four big summer resolutions, not all of which are entirely in my control. And I am familiar with my tendency to play control games in my head, so I make these resolutions with caution. The paragraph above sounds strikingly similar to any random entry from my high school journal. I will never be everything I want to be. Today is just a day. Yesterday was real too.