Oh, it’s not just the ice cream and wine for dinner that attacks a judgey eye. It’s like living with someone who is constantly trying to lose weight while you’re trying to gain it: everything you put in your mouth, the dieter wants, but knows is strictly forbidden.
The thing is, you see, that The Mom and I take a rather laissez- faire attitude to food these days. The Mom, I believe, has just about had enough of all these sensible meals and eating programmes, and who can blame her? For the better part of twenty years she cooked three separate meals, three times a day, following three distinct and strict allergy regimes. I’m just pleased she still cooks. For me, I eat whatever because half the time it doesn’t stay around long enough to matter. I do count calories, but I’m not looking for less, I’m looking for more. i do try to eat healthily, mind, but for me that does not mean a mountain of lentils, with a side of kale. Because that will send me right to hospital. Because: Crohn’s.
Time was, when I was in tenure at The Mom’s, the only Artist in Residence, as it were, The Mom would buy junk food. This was because sometimes you just can’t face eating anything else but saltines and plain potato chips. And I was losing weight so rapidly that anything and everything was considered. That and The Mom does quite enjoy a cheeky afternoon snack. Usually it’s just cheese and crackers, but she has been known to indulge in potato chips, corn chips, crackers that may as well be chips of some kind and on and on. There is also a long-standing chocolate stash that everybody knows about but pretends to forget about.
If, when I am at home, and feeling rather unwell, I may eat, say, a bowl of fluffy white rice (that has zero in the way of fibre), a half a piece of plain chicken, and maybe a bit of miso. L’il Sis and Crazy D will look at this meal and recoil.
“Why are you eating that? There is no food in that food.” one of them will say.
“I know!” I’ll exclaim with glee. “That means I can digest it!”
If things really take a turn and I go on an all-liquids spree, that means Slim Fast or something similar, called ‘Nutrition’ for breakfast. Don’t judge! The Slim Fast, though utterly disgusting in taste, has a fair bit in the way of vitamins and minerals. So does the Nutrition but it’s harder to find and tastes far worse – and seems to be based entirely around thick dairy products.
If one of them catches me drinking that at the table, forget it. L’il Sis will take to her vitamins cupboard and give me a handful of tablets.
“These will serve no purpose in my world today,” I’ll announce.
“Take them!” She will order. “The acidophilus–
“Let me stop you right there. What I mean is that they will come out of me, within a matter of minutes, in the same shape that they went in. I have no way of breaking that down so that I get anything from it.” I may rap the pill on the table for added effect here. “See? Solid. Nothing doing.”
She’ll harumph and explain to me that I ought to take better care of myself. Which is true. But it’s also not the reason I have Crohn’s disease. That is down to genetics, and poor ones I might add.
Crazy D’s method of feeding me is to get me when I’m at my most confused and liable to agree to anything. He spies his opportunity at breakfast when I am both bleary and unable to have a conversation.
“Hey, do you want fancy breakfast?”
I will grunt in reply if feeling okay, whimper if unwell.
If okay, he will proceed with, “How many eggs can you eat?”
“Great, two it is. And pancakes, and bacon. And I was thinking of doing a thing with the eggs with mushrooms, and peppers and salsa. Yes?”
I may at this point look up, nod and smile. He will then cook. This normally happens when The Mom is out so that she cannot intervene, because this breakfast, which is utterly delicious, is also deathly. I will inevitably give myself a belly ache by eating it.
Though, neither Crazy D nor L’il Sis are without their guilty pleasures.
When I was the only one living at The Mom’s, the minute Crazy D walked into the kitchen he’d ask me where the chocolate stash was, and proceed to gobble it up. If The Mom, as per instructions, hadn’t bought potato chips, there might be a small whimper of defeat after he scoured the cupboards. That and I know for a fact he lives on Doritos and candy bars on his epic bike rides.
L’il Sis and I have our own dirty secrets from when we lived together. Namely, curry chips, which I discovered was a thing when I went to visit a mate in Scotland. It’s curry, with chips. Genius, obviously. I have also seen her make stuffing and just eat that. Sometimes with salad, sometimes not.
All of which is to say that none of us is perfect. And that sometimes popcorn and wine and ice cream are totally reasonable dinner items. Or, as L’il Sis put on my Facebook a while back, lettuce, corn chip crumbs and veggie chilli from a can totally counts as taco salad.