Welcome aboard, train wreck.
The feasting season is at hand. Which got me thinking about food. Of course, it could be ten a.m. and I’m thinking about food. But what is my most favorite food?
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I now open the door to the Throwback Machine and take you to 2016 when I first wrote this piece. I hope you enjoy.
What food am I grateful for?
Halloween has just passed us. It is the first of the stuff your face holidays. Soon to arrive will be Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. We start by gorging on stolen treats from our children while they’re at school. The carb loaded Thursday feast of Thanksgiving follows, stuffing us as much into our bodies as we stuff the turkey. We just stuff different body cavities. Christmas is for cookies and eggnog. And the New Year is a liquid holiday. Just stay away from the lit candles. All this culminates in an avalanche of sugar, salt, and fat rolling its way down from my mouth all the way to my stomach, hips, thighs, and butt.
Mama didn’t get fat by not eating. I love food. I love flavor. I’m Italian and Irish. Carbs are the staple of any and every meal. It is not unusual for us to have spaghetti and garlic bread at least once a week. Eating carbs for me is like sleeping with the enemy. I love it when it’s happening. I hate myself when I look in the mirror and see the little gray mushroom staring back at me.
I love eating. Sometimes a little too much. This is clear because I am currently the same weight I was when I delivered my son three years ago. Which is thirty pounds more than I was when I delivered my daughter thirteen years ago. It’s also sixty-five pounds heavier than I was before I got pregnant with my oldest child. I wish I was the weight I was back when I first thought I was fat. I wish I had that body back.
My body must have ignored the memo that breastfeeding helps you lose weight. According to research and mom groups, your body burns five hundred more calories a day while breastfeeding. I call shenanigans on that. I don’t think I burned five hundred calories on a normal day, let alone with breastfeeding. In fact, because of breastfeeding, I was always hungry and munching on something. Maybe not always the healthiest snacks (chocolate-covered cherries count as a fruit, right?)
I used to be one of those girls that could eat anything in dump truck sized quantities and not put on one pound. I hate twenty-year-old me. I also used to be one of those people who forgot to eat. Now, if I go over two hours without something deep fried and dipped in chocolate, I get dizzy, my palms sweat, and I’m making lines on my compact mirror out of powdered sugar.
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate good-for-you food. I love zucchini, strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers. I’m a huge fan of bananas. I can make the most amazing smoothies with bananas. Not that my children would ever know or appreciate them. Their palates are far too refined for anything that isn’t deep fried, battered, chocolate, sugar frosted, sprinkle coated, or rainbow colored.
Our go-to, make it all better snack is Oreos. I’m fairly convinced there’s a crack or meth in the cream. That explains the PMS and the daily/nightly/hourly “where the hell are my Oreos” cravings. It is not uncommon for us to buy two packs at the store. One is for public consumption or as we call it “the kids pack.” This is the pack that always disappears overnight. And no one knows who ate them. Tall, blonde daughter swears she only ate three cookies. Short blonde daughter proclaims her innocence and her hatred for all things chocolate as she chugs down her hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Tall brunette daughter grabs a Bible and places her hands on it, testifying in front of God, family, country, and everyone that voted on American Idol that she was in bed by eight pm so she could not have been the one that ate all the cookies. All it takes is one look in the mouth like I was buying a prize winning quarter horse to see the black edged molars and the sickly sweet scent of that addictive cream.
What these little cookie hounds don’t know is that in the linen closet – in the bathroom, hidden behind the soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper – is a false back wall. This wall has a lock that requires a four-digit pin code, a password, a retinal scan, fingerprint and palm scan, a drop of blood from a blonde virgin, and the nuclear codes only given to the president. After you release the lock (you don’t want to know how many supposed virgins I’ve gone through), you will find the after bedtime stash. I also call this “the kids are at school” stash. This is also where we keep the Halloween candy.
Why is it hidden? Because Mommy doesn’t like to share. All over the country, mothers lament on Facebook about having to hide in closets and bathrooms, in the garage or car just to have one uninterrupted square of chocolate bliss known as a Hershey bar. All because children are moochers. We love them. We gave them life. Some of us fed them with our own bodies. We gave up sleep and fun for them. Sometimes, all Mommy wants is to sit down and enjoy a bowl of ice cream without Junior or Princess giving us the puppy dog face saying, “I like ice cream.” Yeah, so do I. That’s why I bought it, brought it home, put it in a bowl and am now eating it. But no. You only got my life force. You gave me gray hair, wrinkles, saggy boobs, stretch marks and varicose veins that make my body look like a road map of Austin, Texas. Here, let me give you my ice cream, too.
How about no? No, no no no no. Did you hear me? No. And then I see the tears welling in their eyes and that lower lip quivering. I have no choice but to hand over the bowl or my kid will wind up on a therapist’s couch in twenty-six years lamenting how selfish Mommy was.
“And then she ate all the chocolate from my trick or treat bag. She just put it on top of the last of the ice cream and ate it in front of me. Is this why I steal, Doctor? Is this why I can never form meaningful relationships? Is it too late for me, Doc?”
So into the closets we sneak, attempting to open wrappers without making a sound. We know it’s not possible. Inside every child’s ear is a specialized alarm. This alarm goes off whenever Mom and Dad are attempting to eat a snack in peace, talk on the phone about Christmas presents and where they’re hidden (the same place as the Oreos and Halloween candy), watch a rated R movie, or try to have some alone time (other wise known as the only child defense).
I’m convinced the candy and cookie corporations insert microchips into the package wrappers of their confections to triggering that alarm in the children’s heads. Like a world war two submarine, their internal radar finds us cowering in a corner surrounded by loafers, flip-flops, and last year’s Uggs. It fills us with guilt, shame, and coconut and chocolate-covered almonds.
As I write this, I am currently sitting in my bathroom with a gallon of milk and a pack of Oreos. I locked my door, and the shower was running. I’m not ashamed; I just don’t want to share. Sometimes a mom just needs peace to write, work, and eat her Oreos. I can see the little fingers with peanut butter under his fingernails creeping through the gap at the bottom of the bathroom door, grasping at carpet fibers to get in. I have my laptop propped on the toddler’s potty seat. I am tapping away while I munch on these narcotic laden black and white cookies, which will show up on my hips in three days.
I will rejoin my family in the living room. Right now, I am enjoying dipping my cookies into my milk, counting to ten, and pulling it out just before it crumbles and sludges into the bottom of my cup. That is just unacceptable and disgraceful. Not like sitting on your bathroom floor until your legs go numb to write and eat Oreos without sharing. That’s OK. I said so. And I’m the mommy so there.
When it comes down to it, Oreos would have to be the one food I’m grateful for. They have been a significant source of bonding for me and my sister. Whenever one of us felt lower than a pregnant ant, the other would go to the store and pick up a pack of Oreos and a gallon of milk. I think it was more for my benefit than her’s because of her lactose intolerance. I’ve already told my daughter when she goes through her first break up I’ll have a package of cookies and a gallon of milk waiting for her. She’s thirteen now, so I have about sixteen more years to go before that’s an issue.
Heres to you, Oreo cookie. Thank you for your companionship during the hard times. Thank you for being there for me when no one else was. Thank you for being the stopper of tears and the mender of broken hearts. But most of all, thank you for being compact and well concealed in a bathroom towel closet. Thank you for going so well with milk. Thank you for having a Double Stuffed version. And we need a canonization for whoever came up with the Mega Stuffed Oreos. Then hand that person a Nobel Prize. Yeah, they are that amazing. The Gods themselves are jealous of us because of Mega Stuffed Oreos. Hubris? Maybe. But I’ve got Mega Stuffed Oreos so I’m OK.
I am grateful for all Oreos. Except the thin ones. They’re an abomination.
Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. Do you like Oreos? What’s the food you’re most grateful for? Let me know in the comments. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.
For your Thanksgiving decor, I’m including a free printable. Because cooking, cleaning, and dealing with your relatives is hard enough. Let’s make decorating a little easier.