Friday, November 18, 2011

The Triumph of My Inner Scavenger

I have a bad habit of eating like a garbage disposal. It makes perfect sense, waste-wise. It’s a natural chain of events— a simple formula:

whatIcookfortheboys - whattheydon’teat = easymealsforme 

I’m a scavenger— a step above the decomposer in the food chain of our family. It hasn’t always been this way with the boys, of course. I wasn’t tempted to lick the crusty pureed squash and sweet potatoes hardened on their bibs or the applesauce and rice cereal splattered on the walls. But when they started eating solid food, slowly my natural waste-not, want-not (lazy) instincts took over. Now it’s gotten to the point where I avoid thinking back on what I’ve consumed over the course of the day because it grosses me out. It’s also hard to keep an accurate tally of the actual amounts. (Does the wide girth of Clark’s grilled cheese corners together with Cal’s meager corners girth equal a quarter or a half of a sandwich? Did I eat those raisins I found on the floor, or did I throw them out? How many spoonfuls of peas did I eat while dramatically illustrating how delicious they are? Did I eat that whole bowl of trail mix even though the nuts were chewy, or eat everything except the nuts?) It’s not uncommon, for example, to have my day of caloric intake look something like this: 

  •  coffee that I reheated ten times
  • a spoonful of warm, cheesy scrambled eggs
  • hours-old, matte scrambled egg crumbs from bowl and pan perimeters
  • the gooey, blackening bottoms of the bananas stuck inside the peel
  • a really big crumb of bacon (why is bacon so good?) that landed on the windowsill
  • two pieces of bacon
  • two warm, squishy string cheese handles and countless spidery string cheese whiskers
  •  giant macaroni and cheese clots that didn’t squish into the Tupperware
  • slightly browned apple slices (immaculately peeled) from the chairs
  • cookies that were just sitting there in the way of everything
  • a whole pear because Clark threw it and was it going to bruise anyway
  • two more pieces of bacon that were sitting around for bacon bits in a salad
  • all washed down with a sippy cup of diluted V8 Fusion because Cal didn’t want it after I told him there were veggies in it
Wow, that looks really grim on paper. Yikes.

Then when Brian comes home I’ll eat a salad, a whole turkey burger, drink a glass of wine, and automatically, in a happy coma that only comes from eating normal portions of real food, reach for the boys’ untouched turkey burger chunks. But Brian will swoop in, an advantageous carnivorous predator, and ferociously devour the chunks and I’ll blink out of my numbed scavenger stare and thank him. 

I’m better than this. Right? Maybe not.

I've wondered about extremely harried days, when I have no normal dinner plan. What if I saved up all the sandwich corners, slightly burned toast, piles of untouched vegetables, partially nibbled pretzel stubs, and weird-shaped chicken nuggets with bits of blue sauce (This is Brian’s trick— ranch dressing with blue food coloring. It’s all the boys want to dip food in these days.), and presented them to Brian, stacked on a nice platter, in low lighting, after a couple beers, in front of a football game? This would prevent any outside dinner preparations by either of us, which could free up valuable time. Maybe I could squeeze in a run and a shower. Of course, I’d have to either starve myself all day in order to accumulate crumbs and crusts for him or else fix a real breakfast and lunch for myself. Hm.

On the other hand, I could make my own full, normal-person breakfast and lunch, taking time away from doing awesome things with the boys, and try to throw out the boys' leftovers. Or I could put them in the fridge, but the truth is, none of it would get touched if it were stuck in the fridge. It's too nasty. And knowing that the food would be wasted in the fridge as well as in the garbage, my inner scavenger can't let much slide. The true travesty would be if I made myself real food and ate all the crumbs and crusts. That would be a disaster on the scale.

I've added it all up. Certainly, my friends, you see why I stick to the crumbs. It’s not a pretty picture. But it works for now.

My inner scavenger has spoken. 

Dinner is scavenged

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