Back to Crunchy Granola Tofu Lesbianism

20 01 2012

Women get into relationships and then they get fat. How many of us have blamed our partner for our flab? I have. Is it the love or them cooking for us? A change in routine? Or maybe we stop taking care of ourselves, because we’re no longer on the market.  It makes me think of that completely misogynistic, irreverent song “Women Lose Weight” by Morcheeba.  The husband kills the wife because she’s fat. It’s her fault that he had to kill her.

I have never really been thin except for those few years as a teenager when I was biking everywhere. When you bike 70 miles in one day, you can eat whatever the hell you want. But I got my driver’s license.  A couple years later, I started college and packed on the freshman 50. That’s what happens when every meal is a buffet, and Pizza Hut is a few hundred feet from the dorm.

After my girlfriend died, I lost about 40 of those pounds over a 4 year span.  During those years, I met quite a few vegetarians and vegans. I snubbed  milk, cheese and mayonnaise. And I began to experiment with  tofu,  Silk milk and Ener G  Egg Replacer.  It’s not that I counted calories or watched fat, because I didn’t . And I wasn’t exercising either.  Maybe it was stress, unhappiness or preoccupation.

When Jacks met me, I was a chunky but average size 12. She called me a hippy. Mateo called me his Tofu Lesbian.    One night when I met  her Lake George friends, I made dinner:  a vegetable lasagna with eggplant and zucchini slices, whole wheat pasta, ricotta with herbs and other various cheeses. And don’t forget the chickpea salad with parsley and an oil/spice dressing.  Unbeknownst  to  me, everyone else was stepping outside to fart the whole night. No one was really into the chickpea salad.

Jacks likes to bring up the incident of the flaxseed pancakes. Our friend Amber who lived across the street  came over for breakfast. Flaxseed is one of those healthy ingredients that I liked to slip into foods.  Omega 3s and a nutty flavor. What’s not to love?  I added them to my eggless, whole wheat, soy milk  pancakes.  It was not long after Jacks and Amber ingested the pancakes, they were fighting over the toilet.  That was at least 6 years ago. To this day Jacks always asks about the pancakes to make sure I haven’t slipped in anything extra.  But  I do keep some in the freezer just in case ;O)

In my size 12 days, I would eat half a sweet potato and two vegetarian sausages for breakfast. Sometimes instead of the vegetarian sausage I would have lima beans or peas with soy butter.  I’m not the type of person who can eat the same thing every morning. It ruined sweet potatoes for me. Now, I’m only interested if it’s fried and accompanied by a dill aioli.

Somewhere along the line, I gained it all back. When I plug in my weight and height into the BMI calculator, it tells me I’m obese.  Now I’m a chunky size 18.  I could blame Jacks going to Culinary school. She would bring home  loaves of fresh Baguette bread every night.  I rediscovered  butter, cream and red rare MEAT!  The soy butter was pushed to the back of the fridge.

These days my friends & I are counting calories and trying to burn a few extra off. Measuring and weighing food. Walking the dog. Shoveling the sidewalk. Dusting off the recumbent bike.  I’m down 6 pounds. It’s a start.  We were all surprised at how small portions of cheese, rice and pasta have so many calories. And some fast food is completely out of the question–like Culver’s Atlantic Cod Dinner .  We’re doing this thing. It calculates the calories you need to create a deficit so that you can lose weight. It’s like Facebook for fatties.

Before I started to count calories, I tried the Weight Watchers points system. That lasted about a day.  They have this  formula  based on  weight, activity, age,  and sex that calculates how many food points a person can have.   I bought their Food Companion book, so I could look up all the food.  I burned more calories flipping through that book. Instead of having all the foods in alphabetical order, they had them in categories.   Basically, Weight Watchers charges a shit ton of money by assigning point values to foods rather than have a person count calories which is readily available on food  packages and the internet.

Besides the cracked out point system,   I have no desire to attend meetings with strangers and share my shame.  Talk about the days when you used to frequent the Bistro and order 2 appetizers, entrée, and dessert. “Yeah, my name is Julie Ann, I’m a lardass.”  Or maybe go undercover. “My name is Chloe, and I’m a compulsive eater.” I wonder if Weight Watcher’s in anonymous like AA. I wonder if they give out chips for pounds lost.  “Hi, my name is Beatrice, I’m a binge eater. I’m 2 months sober.”  “I’m Fran, I’m a foodie. I fell off the wagon today.”   I’m just trying to figure out what the $60 is for. Do you get a sponsor that you can call in the middle of the night when you’re depressed and standing over a gallon of  mint chip chocolate ice cream with a spoon? Do they have their very own serenity prayer, 12 steps, and bad coffee in Styrofoam cups?   Isn’t AA free? And then they have all these special Weight Watcher’s foods—prepackaged and frozen deals.  Because it’s easier to stick with the points system if you’re eating food from the Weight Watchers company. I live with a Chef and you want me to eat a cardboard energy bar and a TV dinner?

I mean seriously, why should I pay a company while I do all the work? Is anyone at Weight Watchers going to get on the treadmill for me?  Let me dial their 1-800 #, “Um yeah, this is Sherri.  How much for a mile of jogging at moderate pace? I want to eat out tonight.”

So my friends and I have begun our weight loss journey.  The tofu noodles snuck back into the crisper drawer. Luna soy bars are nuzzled next the Trader Joes Freeze Dried blueberries in the cupboard.  I’ll work on portion control, counting calories and exercise.  But I refuse to eat low fat cheese, sugar substitutes and fake butter (aka margarine). That’s not food. Those are synthetic substitutions for food just like most of the processed foods in the snack aisle.  And don’t touch my half & half, because it’s going into my coffee.

But I don’t want to be another health statistic either—not just the fat American kind—you know, the dead kind.  So here’s to a sort of return to Tofu Lesbianism— a Reformed Tofu Lesbianism that includes both tofu and butter– in moderation, of course.


Death at the Chinese Buffet

6 01 2010

I thought about checking into a food allergy support group. But I didn’t want to be in a group of over protective soccer moms and their snot nosed nut-allergic kids. Nut-free schools and safe snacks. That’s like having a playground without metal slides.  What’s the fun if no one gets hurt? No, I wanted an adult group. A group where we are allowed to make poor choices.  The allergist ordered strict avoidance, but shouldn’t that be open to interpretation? Strict avoidance—except for special occasions. Strict avoidance unless having intense cravings. Pre-medicating with Benadryl is acceptable when it’s something that you really want. I’ll die if I don’t get my rapunzels! It’s okay to evaluate the pros and cons before indulging. If I die eating crab rangoons at the Chinese Buffet, will I die happy?

Jacks always told me that she would give up cigarettes if I gave up chocolate. I told her it wasn’t the same thing. Chocolate wasn’t going to kill me.

 Jacks was mixing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. She dumped an entire bag of chocolate chips on top. She swatted at me with the spoon as I slipped a morsel into my mouth. After I swallowed that chocolate chip, breathing was like sucking air through a dirty straw. Jacks stopped stirring. I started to cough and wheeze.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I must have swallowed wrong,” I said.

“I thought I was going to have to call 911.”

 It happened again at a New Years buffet hundreds of miles from home. There was no chocolate on my plate. Oysters Rockefeller, Rainbow Trout, Bison. Nothing I hadn’t eaten before. I turned all red and blotchy and I could feel my heart pounding in my neck. I stopped eating, drank water and it went away.

 Finally, I got tested for food allergies.

 I used to laugh at people with food allergies—not the serious ones. You know the ones I’m talking about. People who claim to be allergic to pepper because they sneeze or brussel sprouts because they develop intense flatulence. Or those rich people in East Grand Rapids that give chefs a hard time by claiming pseudo-gluten allergies. Low-carb has fallen out of fashion, so gluten-free is the new black. Only they don’t know what that really means, so they get mad when the chef substitutes potato for the couscous. Okay, I still laugh at those people. 

 I’m a pain in the ass. This past New Years dinner, Jacks made me a special pork roulade without pistachios. Just yesterday she made stir-fry minus the red pepper chili sauce. I read about how some people with food allergies carry a Chef Card, a business card with a list of allergies to give the waitress when dining out.  If I gave any waitress my Chef Card, they would escort me out the door. Corn. Tree Nuts. Shellfish. Fish. Chocolate.  Black peppercorns and hot peppers seem to becoming more of an issue.

In the past, I have enjoyed Thai, Chinese and Indian Cuisine. I love Sushi. Jacks still makes this for me in the safety of our own home. Untried restaurants were the next frontier. Now, I have to be careful what I order. Everything invariably contains corn in some form or another. And pre-medicating with Benadryl, means I need a designated driver, because I’m comatose before the meal ends. This must be foodie hell.

Corn Whores agree–Corn is Cheap

14 12 2009

I’m convinced that Subway is working on global domination. No matter where you drive, there’s a Subway within a mile radius, touting their healthy choices. They are setting themselves up as the healthy fast food—a better choice. Don’t go do McDonald’s. Go to Subway instead. Subway is probably a healthier choice, depending on what you pick from the menu. However, the food is just as unreal and manufactured as any other fast food corporation.

Their sandwiches are loaded with processed lunch meat that contain hydrolyzed proteins and nitrate preservatives.  Their 9 Grain Wheat bread contains high fructose corn syrup. The number one ingredient in their fat-free honey mustard dressing is corn syrup. It’s the second ingredient in their red wine vinaigrette.  Lunch meats also contain corn syrup. Not to mention the lists of unpronounceable additives: disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium phosphates), polysorbate 80, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, tetrasodium phosphate.

Like any corporation that is striving to take over the world, they want to do it cheaply. Corn is a cheap ingredient.  The fast food industry needs a source of cheap meat and cheap food products in order to make a profit. Lucky for them–corn is in everything. Corn is overproduced and unprofitable for farmers to grow, so the government must provide subsidies. What do you do with an overabundance of corn? You find ways to get rid of it. You hide it all food products. Read your labels.

Cows, pigs and chickens used to eat grass. Now they are fed corn. They are fed corn because they get fatter faster. How much corn do you think we consume? Are we being fattened up? I keep thinking there are giants waiting to feast on us.

One of the ingredients in Subway’s oven roasted chicken patty is “chicken type flavor.” It’s chicken isn’t it? So why would you have to put chicken flavor on a chicken?

 The following is a menu item copied and pasted from Subway’s website. All red ingredients are corn derived.

OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN PATTY Oven roasted chicken with rib meat, water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch & tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt, dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate & disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphate.

The grocery store gives us the illusion of choice. I recently watched a documentary Food Inc. Three corporations control 90% all the meat sources in the United States. So you may think that you have all these choices, but you don’t. Your meat still came from the same corporate slaughter house. Sick, corn-fed cows standing in 2 feet of their own shit.

You say that you’re a vegetarian. That’s all very nice. But our vegetables and fruits are being controlled as well. Monsanto has been diligently working on patenting life. Eventually they will control our food source and choose what we get to eat. Monsanto has been suing farmers that reuse their seeds, because it’s an infringement on Monsanto’s patent.

I’m just as guilty as the next person. I indulge in fast food. I buy meat from the grocery store. If you close your eyes and really taste what you’re eating, does it really taste good?  I did this with some grapes recently. It tasted sweet. Wet and sweet, but not much like a grape. Our food is being hijacked. 

There are a few ways to get around this.

  1. Move to a hippy commune.
  2. Own your own farm and use heirloom seeds and raise your own meat.
  3. Start your own hippy commune.
  4. Buy fruits, veggies and meat from small local farmers.
  5. Demand better quality food from stores & restaurants.
  6. Support your local hippy commune.
  7. Starve to death.

Links of interest:

Food Inc.

King Corn

* A side note. A couple years ago, I discovered I was allergic to corn. It was corn that was making me short of breath and wheezy. I’m not sure if this allergy is related to the genetic modification of our food or my poor genetic make up. Either way, I’m bitter because I can no longer indulge in tortilla chips, polenta and cornbread casserole. I can’t have it, so nobody else should either. But it has also made me an avid label reader. And it concerns me how much corn is in everything. Wheat and soy are also found in many food products. Both grains are listed in the top 8 food allergens.   If I want to eat wheat or soy or corn, then I’ll chose to do so, but why must they be hidden in everything?


Slavery Ads on C-List

3 10 2009

Ads copied, pasted & altered (except for original spelling errors)from C-List (green font denotes name change to protect the allegedly guilty):

In Need of Line Cooks (Lizard Room/The PapSmear HouseLounge)

Located downtown on the corner of  Slavery & Indentured  Servitude.
Must be open to work
3pm-11:30pm Monday-Saturday.
Must being willing to learn to roll sushi.
Must be able to handle the stress of two restuarants from one kitchen.
Will get a set schedule.

Please don’t call or stop in! Email resumes to


  • Location: Lizard Room/The Papsmear House Lounge
  • Compensation: 7.40
  • This is a part-time job.
Entry Level Management (30-40 hours/wk)
Starting Position – Lead Night Cook
Full Time
Paid Vacation
Demostrates Leadership Skills
Great Work Ethic – Role Model
Works well within a team environment
Great at cost control
Great at food quality
Career minded in the food industry
Compensation: $8.50-$8.75/hr.


The Lizard Room wants a line cook to handle the stress of making food for 2 restaurants, roll sushi, and maintain a flexible schedule (be available 6 days a week, but not necessarily work or get paid) for $7.40 with no benefits. Notice they can’t even spell restaurant correctly in their ad.  $7.40 is minimum wage. The dishwasher is making the same amount by spraying dirty dishes and running them through a machine. I’m not suggesting that the dishwasher get paid less, but should the line cook only be getting the same for work that is more difficult? You could probably make just as much or more working at McDonald’s or holding one of those cardboard signs that advertise Eat at Joes or Going out of Business.

 It wasn’t that long ago that I saw a dishwasher position posted on C-List for minimum wage. They wanted them to be able to pass a drug test. WTF? If I was working in a hot, stinky dish room, getting paid $7.40 an hour, I would have to take drugs just so I wouldn’t kill myself.

 The Lizard room menu features sushi rolls ranging from $6-8 per roll with the most expensive rolls being $16-18. The poor little line cook in the back has to work almost 3 hours to pay for one of those top dollar rolls that s/he made.  You will also find on the menu Asian fusion cuisine and signature martinis for $12.  They have a fancy website featuring a half naked chick, and advertise being the premier college bar. I always thought that independent businesses treated their employees better than the corporate conglomerations.

In the second C-List add you can manage a Family Restaurant for $1 more/hr—that is if you meet their high quality standards.  

 There are other independent restaurants that pay a little more. Take SuckMyDick  Restaurant  for instance—an upscale establishment that makes all their food from scratch. For $9/hr you can have keys to the restaurant, open the restaurant, prep, clean, maintenance equipment, be on-call without pay, create your own recipes for daily features,  cook food for catering or in house parties while simultaneously getting slammed by the lunch/dinner rushes, and fix the toilet. Benefits? Zero. You can smoke pot and expand your culinary skills, but other than that . . . No paid vacation. If you take any time off, you just don’t get paid. If you’re sick, you have to bring in a doctor’s note even though they don’t offer health insurance. It doesn’t matter that you work full-time. Oh and that day that you requested off a month ago—well, you have to work. Sorry.  But you say that you have formal chef training and a Culinary Arts degree. That’s nice. You still only get $9/hr.

 This isn’t the glamorous life of  the iron chefs on food network with their pretentious dishes. This is real life. Artists don’t get paid.

So when you go out to eat and order your pita bread with hummus and your grass fed filet mignon, remember the one who cooked it to order and arranged it nicely on your plate. Your expensive little dinner is probably more than what they make in a day. And when looking at the unemployment rate in Michigan also consider those people who are working, but getting paid minimum wage without benefits. Go to school, get an education! Some of these people have gone to school and do have an education. And even if they don’t have a degree, doesn’t everyone deserve to get paid what they are worth? If someone wants to work and pay their bills, they should have the opportunity to do so. $7.40/hr does not equal life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It equals slave labor. You could make more prostituting yourself out on C-List—only the authorities have been  cracking down on that sort of thing.

Eating Pie

7 09 2009

One of my poet friends shuns social networking sites. Says he doesn’t want to be connected to the world. He’s happy with his peaceful life. I get that. Why does everyone need to know everyone else’s business? Aren’t these sites only devices to hypnotize us with advertising? Don’t they cause social networking addictions—where we aren’t addicted to connecting with people as much as we are addicted to the meaningless applications and time wasters under the façade of “games.” And is it really necessary to have messages sent from Facebook and Twitter to your phone? My once best friend in 3rd grade who I haven’t talked to in 15 years just drank a cup of coffee 30 miles away. Or my ex-girlfriend’s sister’s kid woke up with a hang over. These aren’t urgent messages. We could have gone on living without them.

 But aren’t these messages from friends on Facebook or Myspace just a faster more immediate mail service? Isn’t Twitter an updated version off the telegraph? Some people are worried that nobody talks anymore. Why can’t they just pick up the phone? I have set up dinner dates with friends without ever picking up a phone. Isn’t this how people used to get together before the phone? Send letters and notes? I suppose if you have a problem with social networking sites, the internet or cell phones, then maybe you should get rid of your landline and join the Amish.

The other day I updated my Facebook to: Made peach pie. Real peach pie–not from a can. The peaches still had green leaves attached. I received a slew of comments. Even my mom wanted to know where her piece was.  My friend JW left multiple comments about this peach pie. We see him once a year at the Wheatland Music Festival. Jacks & I know him through his girlfriend, and we see her just as much as we see him. So I don’t know where he lives, and I don’t have his phone number. But he’s a seriously nice guy. I told him he could have a slice of pie if he drove an hour and 30 minutes to our house. He asked me for our phone number, which I gladly sent to him—not thinking that we would actually hear from him. At 9:30pm, my cell phone did its little song & dance. It was JW. He was on his way and wanted to know how to get to the house. At first, I thought it was a little strange, because I hadn’t seen him in a year, and he was driving all that way for pie. It had been a half-serious invitation. But if he was willing make the drive, I was willing to give him the whole damn pie.  And then I was worried that maybe he was interested in another kind of pie. Not that he’s the type of guy who likes to eat everyone’s pies.   

 I’m not so sure he came all that way just for peach pie, but he wasn’t looking for any other kind of pie, and the visit wasn’t so strange either. I think he was just looking that human connection. So we ate pie, drank coffee and bullshitted until 2am. Had it not been for Facebook, JW would have sat home alone without peach pie, and we would have slept, missing out on a good time.

I still don’t deliver, but I think I’ll make pie more often. Maybe branch out and make cookies and cakes.