Jon de Vos: We have no cake, let them eat rats
July 11, 2008
Losing weight is a hot item nowadays. It seems that the average American posterior has expanded to the point where no actual sunlight ever reaches the ground anymore. Indeed, shedding pounds has become a growing concern across the breadth of the nation but it’s doubly tragic when it strikes at home. The wife and I discussed the matter at great length, well, let me say that differently: She carefully weighed the pros and the cons, studiously ignored my considerable objections, and decided we would begin to “watch” what we ate. While I was supportive and agreeable on the outside, inside my stomach was squealing like a mouse dangling from the lips of a mother puma carrying home take-out for the kids.
After a deep breath, I was able to portray the detached, studied calm every husband keeps in their back pocket for times of great emergencies. I immediately voiced my whole-hearted support of her delusional world, going so far as to drive to the grocery store for reduced-calorie pet food for our dogs. In an effort to staunch the debilitating and sharply piercing hunger pangs of a diet-not-yet-begun, I stopped only once for a double cheeseburger and fries, “watching” every morsel as it disappeared from sight, one MacBite at a time. Every meal is a happy meal if you do it right.
Over the next several weeks, thanks largely to intense adult supervision and oversight (wife), I climbed a mountain of cottage cheese and wandered through a dense forest of celery stalks. I grudgingly dove into the river of culinary monotony and found it teeming with broiled fish and boiled chicken, lying limp and pale on a bed of roughage with a hearty spritz of lemon juice. In my wife’s new regime, a shrimp salad described the portion, not the ingredients. But finally, doggone it, I began to see results: I was growing crabbier by the day.
It’s gone on now for more than a month, so you’ll perhaps appreciate my surprise when, unexpectedly, my wife began concocting an elegant variation of a club sandwich before my eyes. Eyes, I might add, that misted over a little in gastronomic gratitude for her thoughtfulness. I watched adoringly as she cut a piece of pita bread into whimsical triangles and slathered them with a oregano-infused goat cheese adorned with a sprightly sprig of cilantro, apparently for no reason but the simple joy of epicurean achievement, my God, but I love that woman! Next came delightful layers of shaved Black Forest Ham, covered with a thick artful wedge of Lorraine Swiss cheese. I wiped a bit of drool from the corner of my mouth as she laid down a final swipe of garlic mayonnaise. With a grand flourish, the whole thing was topped with a large dollop of … peanut butter?
I was stunned and blurted out without thinking, “Ham? And peanut butter? With goat cheese? But, but, that’s just so wrong!”
“Oh,” she replied, “heck no, the squirrels are crazy for it,” and she reached down by her feet and hoisted two Havahart live animal traps onto the counter. With a steady hand, she deposited one of her epicurean delights squarely on the bait platforms of each of them. I stared in horror for several moments before finally looking her in the eye.
She wore a puzzled expression, “You didn’t think these were for us, did you? Have you forgotten we had lunch hours ago?”
“I remembered,” I said, “I was just contemplating a life where the outside rodents live better than I do.”