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Friday, 25 October 2019 19:37

COLUMN: Old eating habits are hard to break

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In an effort to be a more transparent journalist, I am informing the readers of this column that it was written about five minutes after I ate some hazelnut almond biscotti ice cream directly from the container. 

The points I would like to make before some predictable judgment from some folks are: the ice cream was mine and mine alone, as no one else in the house likes this flavor; the container was only a quart and not a big half-gallon block; I did not eat the whole container, though I probably could have if I had set my mind to it and had not eaten two hot dogs and a bunch of onion rings for dinner; I did make a quick run to the store between dinner and dessert, so that probably counts as exercise; I didn't actually run, per se, but drove a couple of miles. 

As most of you know, we are living in a time when we are told that everything is unhealthy and, by replacing the Hershey bar we have been eating on a regular basis since we were 5 years old with a forkful of kale, we can live to be 90 years old. 

This came as a surprise to a dear friend of ours who is almost 100 years old and has never eaten kale a day in his life. He has eaten his share of Hershey bars and has stock in the company. I don't see him being the poster boy for eating kale. 

He also likes rye whiskey and when rye whiskey is paired with kale, it tastes like a brush fire started with a cheap accelerant. I don't like kale much either. I like other leafy things, but I imagine kale as being largely a weed that someone decided to eat and when they realized it tasted awful, tried to cover up their mistake by telling everyone it was great and healthy and not the only leafy thing that goats won't even eat.

I eat what I like and I like what I eat. I don't smoke cigarettes any longer and I rarely drink these days, so I need all the vices I can manage. Eating is one that I can still get away with. It's legal, it's not terribly expensive if you know how to do it right. I'm not eating rare truffles or pate or caviar or anything that costs a $100 an ounce. I want a snack, not a financial commitment. 

I have eaten rare truffles and pate and caviar and while they are delicious, I'd just as soon eat a cheeseburger. I like my cheeseburgers lightly browned on either side, red in the middle, with cheddar cheese, red onion, lettuce and steak sauce. I like Peter Luger steak sauce. You don't have to go to the restaurant to get it as it's sold in a lot of supermarkets. While I realize the rare red meat is about as healthy as a donkey kick to the chest, I am okay with that. My doctor told me once that he was surprised that a man of my age could eat the way I did. I told him I have learned to enjoy red meat, spices and incurable heartburn and abdominal distress. I'm a chronic insomniac anyway, so the heartburn really doesn't keep me awake as I am already awake. I'm sure plenty of other people sleep sitting straight up within arms reach of a big bottle of antacids.

I don't like small portions. My brother has lived in Europe for years and marvels at how large our portions have gotten here in the U.S. There was a restaurant I would go to years ago that offered a cheeseburger that was a pound and a half of beef. I had my share of them back in the day. I'm not so sure I could eat one of those nowadays. I'm certain I could get through a pound of it, but that remaining half pound would be left on the plate. It came with a ridiculous portion of steak fries as well. I like to think the pickle on the plate was supposed to be an afterthought, but it was an entire kosher pickle. The pickle was always wasted on me, though, because I never ate it. I was saving room for dessert. 

The company could have saved a mint on not giving me the pickle and giving it to someone else. A few times they offered me a to-go container for my pickle, but I didn't want to be the guy, full on burger and fries, walking around with a pickle in his pocket.

I'm not planning on changing my eating habits anytime soon. My wife and I were talking about what could happen if I don't. My wife was concerned with my health, rightfully so. 

“That food is going to kill you one day.” she said.

“If it's my time to go....” 

“I don't want to start planning your funeral anytime soon.”

“You can have it at the VFW on a Sunday morning,” I told her.

“Why the VFW? You weren't in the military.”

“You're right, but they have a great breakfast buffet.”


Joe Weaver

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