Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Taking the bait and losing my head--like a silly trout!
Aren't those babies beautiful? I've been promising a post on fresh trout, caught by expert fishermen in Virginia's rushing waters, and here they are!
They were frozen for a short time waiting for a special Wild-Man-Weekend with my grandsons. I'm the honorary fourth Wild Man. Yeah, buddy. We watch wrestling, play video games, stay up all night, go swimming and hiking, have Fartmaster competitions, wear too much men's cologne, curse like sailors, turn the music up loud and eat whatever we want. It's absolute mayhem until they go home. I love Wild-Man-Weekends.
And long-anticipated trout was on the menu.
At the same time, a friend of mine was going to be leaving her home to stay elsewhere and she had all these groceries that were going to go bad. She knew Wild-Man-Weekend was upon me, so she filled two ice chests and several huge boxes of everything I don't keep in my house anymore. She told me I wouldn't need to buy any groceries for the boys.
When we opened the ice chests and the boxes, the boys were ecstatic. Me? Less so. Here was a test for my healthy eating lifestyle.
I cooked trout the first night, but they didn't want it grilled. They wanted their trout floured and deep-fried. I didn't have any flour, but my friend had packed two huge bags of seasoned flour (and the seasonings included MSG). Wow.
That's where my descent into madness began. Simple pan-fried trout that wasn't so simple (or healthy) anymore. It was a small concession to their wishes. I could have fried their trout in flour and then washed my only large cast iron frying pan and then seared mine with a little avocado oil.
But I didn't.
They wanted mashed potatoes on the side. I opened one of the boxes, and it was filled with instant mashed potatoes of varying types. (I'm a diabetic, and I don't keep potatoes in my house). I hadn't had instant mashed potatoes in forever. Granted, to my credit, I only had a bite (or two).
The boys started digging through one of the bags excitedly pulling out honey buns, plastic packs of pudding, brownies, cupcakes. No Twinkies, thank God. But there were some Fiber One brownies. There are no longer any Fiber One brownies in the box. Sigh.
Breakfast the next morning came from a box in the freezer entitled French Toast Sticks, with some fried commercial pork breakfast sausage on the side and frozen tator tots we deep fried. I remembered how when I was young I loved to eat frozen tater tots raw and still frozen. I still like them raw. I also apparently enjoy them cooked I quickly discovered. They're especially good slathered with cheese. I tried to make homemade ketchup to go with them (made with apple cider vinegar and raw garlic and onion and organic tomato paste). The look on the boys' faces after one taste. Blaaagh. But really what was I thinking? What was the point? At that point.
They found boxes of Hamburger Helper in a variety of flavors and each picked their favorite flavor, so I made two different pots of Hamburger Helper and one pot of macaroni and cheese (for the youngest who just wanted mac & cheese). But the thing is, they wanted it as a side for their chicken-fried steak. Since my friend had sent a pack of pounded steak (what do you call that?) to make chicken fried steak, it simply had to be eaten, so we had chicken fried steak with hamburger helper on the side. Meat with a side of meat. Oh yes. Dredged, of course, in the MSG flour.
Fortunately, I despise Hamburger Helper and didn't even have a bite. Noooo. Instead, I had more deep-fried trout and then a nice-sized piece of chicken fried steak. I thought of it as our manly meat-lovers meal for men who love meat.
Today is the day they go home, and I'm sending all of my dear friend's remaining food home with the boys. I have learned a sound set of lessons:
Number One, I have been reminded of how hard this is for all of you out there raising children and trying to cook for them while eating healthy. Children want things like Hamburger Helper and frozen French Toast Sticks full of chemicals and gluten and sugars. You are having enough trouble retraining your taste buds, so how are you supposed to retrain them?
Number Two, I have seen how an innocent set of circumstances can lead to a complete fall from grace and we shall see together how I manage to turn this two-and-one-half day smackdown back around into healthy eating. The trick is: get it out of your house. Just its unexpected presence brought me down.
Number Three, I learned I really don't like that kind of food anymore (except the tator tots). Most of it, I ate, but I didn't enjoy it like I used to. I also didn't eat much of it. Just putting any of it in my body was a fall from grace, but my hunger level really is diminishing from all the healthy eating I've been doing. Normally I would have plowed through all of those snacks and forbidden foods. But I didn't.
I told the wild men we're grilling out when they next come for a weekend. We're going to have grilled organic steaks with asparagus with homemade Hollandaise and maybe some lobsters if I can wrangle them. They were thrilled. There will be no more groceries coming from my friend, and I will stock the house with organic strawberries and blueberries and healthy Brown Cow organic yogurt and all manner of healthy items that kids like.
I should have done better this time, but I didn't.
I will next time.