Outwitted, my intestines enlarged, soon to the point of out-trousered. On the phone last weekend I had told my aunt then when I came down to visit that a light diet would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to watch my waistline. Lose a few of the sausages from my spare tire, follow me? In advance my requests were no salted or smoked meats, especially from cows or pigs. Accordingly, on the first night I ate catfish.
My aunt and I had gone out to eat without my grandmother. Probably because my grandma just the day before got her hair did, and because the night of the catfish in question she was wearing white; those are the two reasons for her decision not to go out to eat with us, in my mind at least. The psychological underpinning goes back to the last time the three of us went out to eat this summer, at a hamburger stand in the middle of the state where we ate out on picnic tables, and the wind and I blew mustard and chili and grilled onions all over my grandmother’s new clothes and into her hair.
Not to say that I didn’t feel strongly that my grandma should have gone out with us, but I respected her decision on its merits. Besides, my aunt and grandma spend a lot of time together, yada yada yada, the restaurant du noit was right down the Post Road, etcetera. I respect the familia. In any event my aunt and had a fantastic meal at an outdoor restaurant right down the Route 1 called, simply, The Place. It was fabulous. Outdoor dining on tables ringed by tree stumps, the setting sun in the trees, smoke rising from the giant outdoor grill pit, the heavy-mitted grillsmen lending a hand to fetch the still-cooking food to the table.
Catfish seemed the best choice for me, what with my committment to dieting, and my aunt had the grilled one and one eighth pound lobster. We had a dozen grilled clams for an appetizer, a container of home-brought aunty-made potato salad for a palate cleansing course (just me on that one) and a piece of pecan pie for dessert (okay that was just me too). Because I am carefully and suspiciously watching my weight, keeping my hairiest eyeball on my waistline, I opted for a diet cola and declined the ala mode option for the pecan pie. Trying to lose a pound or two.
Earlier in the night my aunt, who likes to spoil me, my sister and the constantly starved cocker spaniel, had doled out a precise one ounce serving of the potato salad along with the ends of a loaf of bread sandwiching the last scrapes from the side of a bowl of chicken salad and a Boost for my grandma’s dinner. This being before we left for the Place. My grandma didn’t complain that even though we were going to a restaurant I needed to bring the bulk (close to a pound) of the potato salad with me. The Place is no frills barbeque, bring your own sides and beer. Did I forget to mention that my aunt and I also ate each one ear of buttered shucked-back grilled corn? So they serve some sides…
All joking aside I would have let my grandmother have as much of the potato salad as she liked but my aunt was very militant about the precise one ounce serving so that there’d be enough leftover (approx one pound) for her “poopsy” to enjoy it. That’s me. From a dietary standpoint I felt fantastic that I’d chosen something light like catfish, brain food, for my dinner instead of a one pound steak. Both on the menu, but I used my brain. Or I should say, I felt fantastic about my dietary choices for dinner until I remembered that just the very same afternoon I’d scarfed down a Big Mac and fries.
But it was all about reversing the curse, and thats what I did with that smart, handsome, lucky catfish. My stomachship captained by Admiral Longintestine reversed course away from the stormy salted and smoked meat bluffs and towards the tranquil isles of brainfood. No way could I gain five pounds again during this trip down to see my aunt and grandma like I did the last one, the one before that, and so on, because my brain was in the drivers seat this time, Admiral Longintestine hanging out the passenger window like a mile of windsock puppet trailing behind the automobile as we raced acrossed the desert.
Unfortunately, the very next day my aunts good cookering got me in the gut, right where I most expected it. After visiting a pre-made Italian food boutique that smelled like cooking pasta and sauce and Marsalis and such, my brain fell asleep in the backseat and so my person was primed for cruxifiction in the Passion of the Cheese. Cheeses Christ! How could I forget on the phone last week with my aunt who is the cooker of the best yet most filling food in my life not to put a future stop on cheese digestion?
In such a manner my dieting waist watching plans unraveled, like a loose ball of yarn batted incessantly by a liquid cheese lapping kitten. For dinner tonight my aunt first served mozzarella and tomato salad, with olive oil spices and scallions. For a light summer supper we ate cold broiled chicken, boiled corn on the cob and french fries. It was delightful and everything I had hoped for on the phone the previous week explaining my plan to pinch a couple hammers off my utility belt. The kicker was the dessert and the football landed on a slippery cheese slope that soon avalanched down my throat.
Cheesecake. Real cheesecake was the dessert, and so helpless was I that even the abstract warnings emanating digressions on integrity in 1960’s Butterfield 8, could not quench my thirst and Sprite was not on tap. Elizabeth Taylor, like my belly, can really play a whore, or even the biggest slut in New York, and still win an Oscar. My gut has those kind of guts, too. After the delicious cheesecake my mousified brain dispelled all decrees of diet and devoured a box of Cheezits. Then I moved on to bagels with hefty and yet disturbingly artful schmears of cream cheese. Chive cream cheese.