I got together with a bunch of old friends that I used to work with in the restaurant business the other day. In the space of 2 minutes I was offered a beer (no), wine (nope), gin (no...distilled from wheat, typically). I asked for water.
They all stared at me.
Then they pointed out the pork ribs (YES! and YUM!) slathered in barbeque sauce (shit. tomatoes, vinegar...NO). Within these 120 seconds I had basically outed myself as a freak. To deny alcohol among industry friends is highly suspect. To deny food is downright nutters.
I had done both.
I have a long track record of being a gourmand (or is the word glutton?). To deny myself food or drink is fairly painful although I'm trying, dammit, to find the silver lining on my empty plate. For now, I try to make my friends laugh as I put on my mini-martyr hat (all the rage) and kvetch and moan dramatically.
I'm trying to appreciate a whole new way of looking at eating.
For example, I put my new way into practice yesterday when I was walking next to Bob's Red Mill Burgers on Phinney Ridge. The common people were eating such silly foodstuffs as cheeseburgers, milkshakes and fries. I realized then and there that my new way looks remarkably like the view through the bars of a prison. A prison that serves tofu. With no sauce. With a view onto a park that serves pizza, cold beer, ice cream and grilled rib-eyes.
In a moment of optimism, I told my friend, "well... the good news is that my stomach has felt pretty darn good these last few days." He replied, "because it's easy to digest NOTHING." True, true I've been reduced to eating like a baby. Nothing processed, nothing artificial, nothing with a list of ingredients. Except for a PMS-induced bag of Zours (amazingly to all who know me I am not "allergic" to the one ingredient I've overdosed on my entire life: sugar) I've been eating carrots, blueberries, bananas, turkey and rice. My most complicated meal in the last 5 days was a very simple non-chile curry made with coconut milk, fish sauce, lime, pork, string beans and carrots.
In a well-respected article in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollen says a healthy diet might consist of not eating anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Besides the Zours - a "phood" I don't even think my brother recognizes, I'm well on my way.
The silver lining on my plate turns out not to be on my plate, after all. It's in my glass. My doctor actually told me that I can have top-shelf triple-distilled tequilas. And wouldn't you know it, corn chips are a-ok with a dusting of salt and a splash of lime. Life is still good. Very good.
And just a little blurry.