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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What Does Your Little Voice Say?

What are your first thoughts when you wake up? Do you think about that lays ahead? What you did last night? How quickly you can dash to the bathroom? Or is it food? It will be no surprise to you that my first thoughts are about the food to come. It starts as a whisper while I open the curtains of my mind.

Once done with my morning ablution I hurl myself downstairs between running cats and an excited dog. My stomach is still sleeping as I feed the four footed kids and put the coffee on. Opening the fridge for the first time in twelve hours I gaze at the array of leftovers and condiments. My inner voice pipes up again reminding me of what I ate yesterday and its first thoughts on how to eat today.

Intent on my coffee and letting the dog in and out, in and out, in and out; I push the little whining voice aside, grind my beans and wait sluggishly for the water to boil. As if in a trance I consume the first cup with no more thoughts of the future. Then the little voice pipes up. This time in a duet with my stomach that has decided to add its own bass rumblings.

“All right,” I say, “What is it to be?” I think in basic units, starch, protein, fruit, and vegetable. Remember the four food groups of yore before we started scaling the Pyramids? I find it easier to remember a four item check list especially in the morning. This is where the little voice gets excited. It is its first food decision of the day and one that will set the groundwork for the rest of my eating. My stomach silently waits for the voice’s decision.

Since my last meal was pasta, my little voice suggests a protein. I open the fridge and gaze at the eggs both hard boiled and raw.

“Not today my stomach, you might go out to lunch and need that cholesterol.”

“What about egg beaters or cottage cheese?”

“Those are better choices, and what about a little fresh tangelo and a slice of Rycrisp?”

My little voice fades away knowing that my stomach will be fed fuel and I have two more meals to eat.

At lunch time my little voice is a bit louder and more demanding. This is when the decisions will directly affect “What to have for dinner”. Should I continue on my four pronged food assault with a bit more protein and some V-8? The bigger question is what will trigger the happy meal spot in my brain to make me feel satisfied mentally and physically so there will be no snacking before dinner.

Added to the mix is a trip to the club which squelches the little voice. My body screams out “I AM HEALTHY!! I CAN EAT LUNCH!! SHUT UP LITTLE VOICE!!” So with that in mind I cast my mind as if I was fly fishing toward different eating establishments to figure out what would be the most satisfying food, environment, and price to pay.

“Not so fast,” my little voice pipes up, “you have pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans, sauerkraut, and applesauce that you were planning for dinner, so just cool your caloric jets my gal and stay focused.”

I try to stay upbeat and optimistic about my options but that damn little voice has pulled the imaginary rug from under my culinary feet. “Okay, can I have a half tuna sandwich or sliced turkey on rye?”

“That’s better my human,” she says as she slips silently in the background again.

Life continues with errands, laundry, and dog walking. At 5pm my dog loudly barks; explaining that it is time for his snackies. The kittens erupt looking for snacks as well and attention.

By now my half a tuna sandwich, carrot wedge, and pickle have long ago rumbled down my digestive track leaving room for dinner. My little voice has awakened and rounded up a chorus from the bass stomach grumbles to the soprano melodies of the creative side of my brain. It is hard for me to think straight with this cacophony swirling around so I pour a glass of wine and the voices subside into a soothing melody.

As I pull out the various ingredients for my planned meal another voice is heard from. This is the little creative side that joyously pipes up every time I look at food. “Do you really just want a hum drum pork meal? Do you need that comfort today or would you like to take a trip to Asia with a stir fry and Hello Kitty made rice? Remember we had mashed potatoes a couple of days ago and you did exercise so perhaps a crisp potato pancake or that risotto recipe that looked tasty. I just can’t see eating sauerkraut right now so let’s nix that one. Anyway it is a bit salty- remember the high blood pressure. We’ll keep the applesauce and how about a dry sauté on those green beans- you’re trying to master that technique.”

I feel the creative voice clap its hands as it spins a web around my ingredients making me happy to cook and eat the meal. “But what are we doing with the pork again? I’m confused as the creative voice happily pirouettes demanding risotto rice, stock, panko soy sauce, shallots, and Parmesan cheese.

I am just a vehicle to prepare sustenance for the rest of my body but now my taste buds have started to weigh in. “A touch of lemon, some thyme, are we up to mustard today? Should we stay Italian? Do I want to taste green beans or how about some asparagus folded into the risotto at the last minute.”

Plastic vegetable bags are riddling my counter and crowding my cutting board. I still haven’t picked out the knife I’m going to use tonight nor given it a few strokes on the steel.

I take another sip of wine and put a damper on my mental crew. I decide on the knife, for old time’s sake I reach for my 10” Sabatier carbon steel and slowly run it over the steel. The sound of knife and steel rubbing against each other helps me focus on the final details and the order to prepare dinner.

Pots and pans come out, a splash of this and that. A grate and a chop, all is coming together when I realize there is calm in my production and the last ingredient of the meal must be decided. What dishes, glassware, and utensils will I use? I open my cupboards and stare at the options. Do I want to use my mindless everyday or would it be fun to go retro with Russell Wright? Do I feel black and white today or circular with my Manhattan glass? Another sip and the decision is made to do Russell.

The table is set, candles are lit and music is on. The dish is plated, the mess is- well let’s say I turn my back on it and eat in the dining room. I pour water and reach for a clean wine glass. Emitting a sigh I can sit down and enjoy the best meal of the day. My voices are sated. My happy meal spot pats me on the shoulder and says, “Well done, you’ve fed me well.”

Until tomorrow when I wake up to my little voice and new decisions.

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