Thursday, October 2, 2008

Say the word fat

I'm in a weight-loss program again, six months long. They gave me a charming little pedometer with their logo, plus a copy of this valuable reference work by "the Calorie King." I had made up my mind to use my hour-long bus ride to Burlington every morning to do my food journaling for the program, recording everything I eat and looking up each item's calories and fat gram content. But the first time I fished the book out of my bag to start, I put it right back in. The dominant graphic element of the cover is the word FAT in 144-point letters, yellow on a field of blue. It's bad enough that my co-commuters already look at me and think "FAT!" No point encouraging them. Our assignment for next week, beside learning to keep our journals, is to find the highest calorie food item in the entire book. As far as I've read, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake is winning, at over 2,000 calories per slice. Tonight I searched my bookshelves to find a suitable cover-up for the offending book cover. After reviewing many volumes which were willing to sacrifice their covers to the cause, I chose Dante's Purgatorio, in the John Ciardi translation. For the sin of gluttony, six months in purgatory should be just about long enough, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Passing Peak Lemon

These things sneak up on you, like global warming and the credit crunch. On Saturday, the shelf-stocker at Greg's Meat Market told me he hadn't been able to order bottled lemon juice for a month, and that the other stores in town didn't have any either. This sounded fishy to me, so I investigated. There's definitely something going on. Shaw's did not have either Realemon or their house brand in the big green bottles, only a tiny plastic jug. I bought two. Hannaford's did have regular-size bottles, but a brand I hadn't seen before--"Lemon Time." I bought two of those too. And why am I hoarding lemon juice? Why am I acting like a Baghdad taxi driver who can't find an open gasoline station? It's because recently lemonade has become a big item at our house, both the cold and hot varieties: bottled juice, water, and Splenda. I'm sort of an improvisatory cook, using whatever's around, so my shopping isn't systematic either. The problem with lemon juice is that there's no substitute for it--hence the panic. Googling around revealed that there is indeed a worldwide shortage of the sour stuff, caused by weather and crop failures. I won't trouble you with the details. I'm just here to remind you that food comes from farms, not grocery stores. If you see a a farmer today, give him a nice cold lemonade.