Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What I Ate for Lunch

My blogger friend, Leah, is beautiful and looks young for her age. She's a great blogger and nonfiction writer, a poet, a photographer, and a wonderful perceptive kind loving friend. I love her.

One day at lunch, as bloggers do, we talked about blogging. We both admitted that we like to blog, we sometimes resent the time involved, and we don't always like other people's posts. Some are great, some OK, some boring.

"I hate reading about what people ate for lunch!" Leah told me emphatically. I winced. I myself am guilty of writing about what I had for lunch.

This reminds me of a story. I had a stalker for a while, at least, that's what everyone called him. So I'll refer to him as Stalker Man. He used to come by my house and leave me notes and presents. That would have been worrisome enough, but worse yet, he meddled in my life, sent threatening letters to my ex-husband, without my permission (or prior knowledge), and to my boss, etc. I was really afraid of him and relieved to move away where he could hopefully no longer bother me.

During the time after my second husband left me, I dated a number of men, mostly briefly, before I gave up on men entirely for many years. Stalker Man was one of the reasons for my giving up on men. (Biker Buddy was my sole reason for starting up with men again.)

During the time I was dating, I dated a man who worked in construction. He was a stonemason and carpenter. He was rough looking on the outside but kind, gentle and sweet. I adored him. I'll call him Mason Man.

Stalker Man came by my house almost every day while I was at work. He drove a big truck, and every time he drove in and out of my driveway, he drove across the grass. In the spring and winter, he made big muddy ruts in the lawn.

Long after we quit seeing each other, Mason Man stopped by to visit me. He too drove a big truck, to haul construction supplies. Because there was a car parked in my driveway, Mason Man drove up on the lawn in case the person to whom the car belonged needed to leave. (She didn't—it was my mother's car and she was in the nursing home.)

During the course of my conversation with Mason Man, standing in the yard with his truck, I was noticing the deep ruts in my lawn made by Stalker Man. Understand: I really like Mason Man, whereas I was afraid of Stalker Man and found him annoying. I mentioned Stalker Man's ruts to Mason Man, and he apologized profusely for driving on my lawn. I was SO embarrassed. It hadn't occurred to me that Mason Man would think I was criticizing HIM. I wasn't! I wouldn't. I didn't care if he drove on my lawn. I was angry at Stalker Man and it had nothing at all to do with Mason Man. I told him that, but I didn't think he believed me, and I felt really bad. I wish Mason man knew I didn't mean to criticize him. That I cared about him and never meant to upset him. The worst thing is, I haven't seen him since the day I criticized Stalker Man to him. I've been unable to tell him again I care about him and had no intention to criticize him. He could drive on my lawn all he wanted.

What does all this have to do with what I ate for lunch? I don't know whether Leah meant to criticize MY talking about what I ate for lunch or whether she meant the criticism as an analogy for boring posts in general or some specific other blogger who wrote often about food. In a way, it doesn't matter. Because I love Leah, and her criticism of my blog, whether intentional or unintentional, is well taken. Her blog is much more interesting than mine.

Here's what I say (excuses, excuses):

I have a lot going on with my family and life right now with the death of my mother, her estate, and the sale of her house, my move (still not unpacked), my art my writing and so on.

I am putting my writing energy into my novels and poetry. Also investing time and energy in my art.

I could go on, but I won't. Why do I blog then, if it's not the highest priority in my life. I don't really know, maybe I shouldn't.

But I have another issue about what I ate for lunch. I had no lunch, and it's 1:38 PM and I may not get any lunch. I often miss my lunch. I seem to be so busy lately. It's ridiculous how busy I am, and for what?

Busy-ness, though, is not the worst problem with talking and writing about food. The real problem is, I have issues with food. I am overweight, my weight threatens my health, and I can't get it under control. And all my doctors can't help. Or don't.

Maybe I shouldn't be writing about what I ate for lunch. But I like to. I'm interested in food. Supposedly, one should eat to live, not live to eat. I'm not in either category, but I do like to eat and I like to write about eating and food.

I recently wrote a story about Key Lime Pie, but I didn't post it, because I was thinking about what Leah said about not liking to read about what someone had for lunch. I thought about making a separate blog and naming it, "What I Ate For Lunch" and putting food talk and recipes on it. But, I have too many blogs already! I'd like to cut down on the number of blogs I maintain, not increase them.

So, I am going to label all my food-related posts, "What I Ate for Lunch" plus a subtitle. Then anyone who doesn't want to read about what I had for lunch can skip that post. And yes, Leah, if you're reading this, I DO realize you might not have meant me (Hence the story about Stalker Man and Mason Man.)

So here then, finally, is my "first" (new) post under the "what I ate for lunch" category. It is not really the first one, but it will be the first one with that label. I will go back and label the old ones and then maybe post the Key Lime Pie story and some addendums to it. Maybe. If I ever have time.

"What I Ate for Lunch; Spicy orange Syrup on Whole Grain Pancakes"

As I'm sure you realize by now, I'm getting old. I'm 61 years old. I have a problem that bloggers rarely blog about: constipation. It's unpleasant and I don't intend to talk about it here, at least not much. I've tried all sorts of remedies without much success. The one thing that seems to work fairly well with a minimum of unpleasant side effects is bran. But bran is hard to take and no, psillium pills do not work.

I've experimented with various delivery systems for the bran, and my current delivery system is pancakes. With every meal, I make a whole-wheat bran pancake, because it's quick and easy and the taste is fairly acceptable. But it's better with syrup.

Syrup is "bad." It's high in sugar and being overweight, I do not need a lot of sugar in my diet. I also don't like paying the high cost of maple syrup, even though it's yummy. So I've been experimenting with homemade syrups. My mother used to make homemade syrups.

I made a delicious vanilla syrup. I made an elderberry syrup (I'm done at the doctor's and headed out and that's another story, a story about honesty and truthfulness and the goldfish I'd LIKE to write about.) My favorite syrup so far is the one I made last night, spicy orange syrup. It's perfect on my bran pancake and it tastes so good it's almost like a dessert. And I don't need desserts!

Here's how I made it. I did NOT use a recipe; because we got home really late last night and we were very hungry and I didn't want to waste time looking up recipes, so I invented one. I made it while concocting an ad hoc stir-fry (not sure if ad hoc is the right word here). I put one cup or sugar and about 2 tablespoons of water in a large saucepan on medium heat. The water did not entirely dampen the sugar but made it dissolve faster as it heated up. I heated it and stirred it until it boiled and then about two more minutes, took it 3/4 off the heat and added about a quarter of a cup of frozen concentrated (undiluted) orange juice and 2 sprinkles each of cinnamon and cloves. I stirred it until well mixed over the ¼ burner, cooled it, and decanted it into a plastic squeeze bottle to squeeze onto my pancake. It was wonderful.

Next time I'm going to try adding a little orange zest.

It could be served on dessert pancakes. For presentation, sprinkle the pancake with powdered sugar from a sugar shaker and then make a spiral or other design with the orange the orange syrup. Serve with a wedge of orange and three cherries or a scoop of vanilla ice cream also decorated with the orange syrup.

I made the pancake with a scant 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup mixed bran (wheat, oat and corn), ½ teaspoon baking powder, a sprinkle of salt and sugar, a teaspoon of canola oil and enough rice milk to make a batter. I fried it in a teaspoon or two of canola oil. Crepes would work well with the syrup instead.

Today's Detroit Photo


hpy said...

I like eating too. (You could try prunes.)

BerryBird said...

Write about whatever you want! It's your blog. Besides, lots of people write about food and cooking. I guess your warning system will warn off non-foodies.

Nadine said...

I figure that part of the appeal of blogging is that you can blog about whatever you want, and then your readers can chose to read or not to read. I have blogs that I check daily through my feeds and I occasionally skip posts that I'm not interested in, but I always go back the next day.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks for your comments, Happy, Berrybird and Nadine!

I've tried prunes and they make me flatulent. They taste good (to me) so I eat them occasionally, but not after every meal.

I do sort of write whatever I want, but I must say, I've been thinking a LOT about blogging and why I do it at all, since it takes a lot of time and I have so much going on in my life. Sometimes I neglect to post things I've written in part because of my feared reaction by others. I have such a tiny readership anyway. But mostly, I just "Go for it!"

bluerose9062 said...

For a sugar free syrup, you might try this: 1/8 teaspoon Stevia powder, 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder, they recommend 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice [but I suppose you could use water], 1 cup orange juice [I'm don't know about using concentrate], 1/4 teaspoon dry lemon peel [I'm sure orange will do]. They just brought everything to a boil over medium heat until thickened. I've never tried it. If you do, let me know what you think.