Food, food everywhere, but not a bite to eat!

            Ever notice when you’re trying to avoid food either voluntarily or involuntarily (in my case) that the subject of food always seems to magically appear?

            For almost three weeks now, I’ve been experiencing spontaneous internal combustion problems. So far, the doctors have not been able to determine the source. A day in ER last week found me being pumped with IV solutions of potassium and electrolytes in order to avoid dehydration. My diet plan upon discharge: 24 hours of clear liquids, then I could graduate to plain, white rice and bananas. Trust me, I know have a whole new perspective on the phrase, ‘eat to live’ (vs. ‘live to eat.’)

            Many of our daily activities center around food…meet me for coffee (and a sweet snack), don’t forget about the potluck next Saturday night…the list goes on and on. Even while getting some fresh air last night on our deck, our neighbor shouts out, “Want to come join us for hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire?” Would I? I made an instant calculation of how long it would take to jump over the railing (providing I landed on my feet), and be on their patio. But my husband nipped that illusion in the bud as he smiled and replied, “No thank you,” and whispered to me, “Eat your banana!”

            My body, already in a weakened state prior to the ER experience, accepted resting, reading, and watching television as the extent of my activity plans. I soon discovered the level of frustration accompanying simple acts of viewing television and reading.

            For instance, I flipped through the channels and discovered one of my favorite old-time programs, “The Andy Griffith Show.” However, I’d forgotten Aunt Bee’s excellent southern culinary talents. In this particular episode, she and Andy attempted to stuff food down Deputy Barney’s mouth so he’d gain an extra pound. I’m talking scoops of creamy mashed potatoes with butter and gravy, homemade rolls, and fried chicken! Enough! I surfed some more never finding out why Barney needed to gain an extra pound. At that point, I didn’t really care.

            I then landed on a popular shopping network where they were demonstrating a handy grill cleaner. Rationalizing to myself that this cleaner might be a great Father’s Day gift, I continued to watch. Little did I suspect their demonstration would lead to items upon the grill to cook…succulent T-bone steaks, burgers piled high with blue cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and a side of avocado? No, don’t do this to me! I cannot eat real food now. But did I turn my eyes—no; I didn’t even turn the channel. My eyes and brain continued glued to the shopping channel until a vision came to mind of me on the floor hugging a wastebasket yesterday that those food images turned my stomach.

            Flipping through magazines isn’t a whole lot safer. Pages of advertisements, food recipes you just have to try—complete with enticing full color photographs…fresh strawberry glaze over pound cake and grilled asparagus straight from the market. Even food promoted to lose weight appeared appetizing and oh-so-inviting!

            The phone rang. It was my sister who wanted to play a guessing game with me.

            “Guess what I’m making the family for dinner?” she asked.

            “I really don’t have the foggiest idea, Karen,” I replied, minus much enthusiasm.

            “Taco Salad! Remember that was one of our favorite dishes mom used to make when we’d go on picnics.”

            At that point, I could almost smell the crushed spicy chips, and taste fresh tomato and lettuce, with a topping of grated cheddar cheese. She must have heard my groaning in the background because all of a sudden I hear, “Sorry—I forgot you can’t eat real food yet!”

            I managed a half-hearted, “That’s okay. It’s good to know real food still exists and other humans do eat it on a regular basis.” She meant well—she really did.

            No, television was safer. So I flipped the remote back on. Let’s see now…cosmetics—safe, then came a plug for fancy pots and pans (could be risky because now we’re back in the kitchen.) Next came two adorable brothers who’d designed a cookbook with recipes handed down from generation to generation. How touching! And if I ordered right away, before they ran out, my cookbook would be personally autographed. That did it! Being an author myself, the temptation to receive a personally signed copy of a book proved a temptation too great to ignore.

            I resisted no more. I did what any red-blooded (hungry) American citizen would do—I picked up the phone and ordered my very own autographed, limited version cookbook. The gal on the other end of the line was pleasant and assured me I would not be disappointed. I should receive my prize the day after Father’s Day. Who knows—by then I may even be able to eat real food again! One can only hope!

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