Dan Ruth - Among the Collectors

Dan Ruth - Among the Collectors

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I have decided to start eating shrubs and other health-like, taste-free foragings.

I will soon be 45 years old, just discovered that I have high cholesterol and I’ve decided to move forward into a healthy diet. Getting older isn’t about forgetting things, it’s about having so much new shit to deal with, that your bound to not remember it all. A diet? Please. Guys don’t diet. I could have given two shits about what I ate when I was younger. After all, I've never really been more than only slightly pork-ish, what did I care? Okay, that's a lie. I've always been slightly pork-ish and I don't recall a day since quitting football in High School, that I actually felt "in shape." In fact, recently I acually found a picture of a young fourteen year-old "fat me" wrapped in a towel. That was me! In shape and pork-ish. I ripped that damned picture into a million bits and flushed it down to toilet. Yes, I flushed myself down the toilet bowl. I didn't like that me. I didn't like the drinking me either, hell nobody did, but when drinking me took over, the food just went out the window. When I quit drinking, I got my appetite back and oh, I took advantage. It's been over four years now and I’ve been enjoying hearty helpings of terrible and horrifyingly delicious foods. Often, I’ve turned up my nose at vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic diets and went straight for the Filet, smothered in BĂ©arnaise sauce with baked potato, oozing with butter and sour cream. Next it would be the Molten Chocolate Cake and vanilla bean ice cream, topped by a single peanut butter cup, tipping its hat in my direction, before silently sliding off into a sea of Hot Fudge. That was my right. I deserved it. I enjoyed it with relish. No, not that kind of relish, I would save that for the All-Beef Kosher, drenched in greasy fried onions, chili and French’s mustard.

Awe, man. . .French. I forgot about French food and I haven’t even gotten my seasonal Cassoulet from CafĂ© Luxembourg yet. Perhaps I should plan this after my birthday. No, no, no, no. I have to start a complete cholesterol-free diet now. I can’t wait. I don’t want to end up being a victim of expensive none-enjoyment-laden pill-popping like my Grandmother. I cannot allow my body to be ruled by Lipitor. Then again, I can’t let it be governed by Coquille St. Jacques, Short Ribs and Duck a l'orange either. Or can I? After all, my Grandmother is 98 years old and she still eats ice cream. Well, that’s because she doesn’t have any teeth, I’ll give her that one, but my entire family is from solid farm stock. Good ol’ farm families from Western PA who eat Scrapple, ham, flapjacks and drink Birch Beer should be used to high cholesterol. Our bodies should be used to fat by now for Christ’s sake. We should be able to pass fat.

I can’t pass fat. I can’t not put butter on my toast. I love butter. Butter and gravy. It’s as though years ago, I could see into the future to this very day – a fat me, planning to eat healthier foods. Even back then, I can remember thinking that I would have the hardest time giving up butter and gravy. Now it’s time. I will have to give them up. I will say goodbye. . .after I finish the Breakstone whipped, that’s hiding in the fridge. After I finish the Breakstone I will be able to stop the spread of butter, but how? I can’t imagine it. A piece of toast without butter? Perhaps I should look at it as a delicious crisp piece of toast that I will smother with. . .with what? Smothered with what? Yogurt? Toast and yogurt? No, that’s disgusting. Toast smothered in jelly. That will have to do. Dry wheat fucking toast with jelly will be fine, even though the entire time, I’ll be thinking about a buttered piece of dream toast drenched in cream chipped beef.

I’ll be back, I’m hungry.

Okay, thumbs down to the dry, Chocolate Cheerio’s I just bought earlier. They taste like Cocoa Crispies or Count Chocula, sans the Marshmallow tidbits, but there is a whole box of them, so that’s a relief. Cheerio’s are supposed to lower cholesterol and chocolate doesn’t have any to begin with. Thank God for that one! Of course, while I’m at it I should definitely cut down on the sweets too. That would be a bigger fear – the “D” word. I cant imagine a life poking myself with needles. Still, dark chocolate is supposed to lower one’s risk of a heart attack, so here I am back to Chocolate again. I hate dark chocolate. I love white chocolate with macadamia nuts and milk chocolate with caramel and peanut butter. I suppose I could learn to like dark chocolate. . .where was I? I don’t remember what came before chocolate. Pork? Was I admitting that I’m a porker? A porker inside? Oh, I remember now, wrong meat. I was talking about shit on a shingle. The creamed chipped beef will just have to go. Beef. . .

Beef will be easy-er to give up. Even if it means saying no to my friend and his generous invitation to a steak dinner at Peter Luger’s. Ok, this really isn’t fair. How can I say no to a delicious, bloody, juicy Porterhouse from Peter Luger’s? How? We’ve been planning this for months. I can do this. I’ll eat the tomato and onion salad, skip the creamed spinach which is fine with me, limit myself to only one of their delectable onion rolls, without the butter and then focus only on the rarest, leanest, juiciest parts of the steak. There again, that’s a dilemma because that would mean the whole damned steak - it’s Peter Luger’s for Christ’s sake. Perhaps if I’m good I can splurge and do the random steak dinner. . .every now and again. I know! I’ll only eat steak dinners at Peter Luger’s. There. I can’t afford the steak dinner at Peter Luger’s, so I won’t eat steak very often. I think that will be fine. I can do this, I’m not chicken.

Fried Chicken. . .shit. I forgot about the damned fried chicken. How am I going to do this!? How can I turn down the Chicken Biscuit from Pie’s & Thighs every Friday night? That’s one of the best deep-fried, honeyed-up hot sauce-soaked buttered biscuit there is. It’s heaven but so is Walter’s Food’s fried chicken. So is KFC and Popeye’s. I can’t do it! I just can’t! That’s no steak, no fried chicken, no Chinese buffet, ice cream, butter, gravy, not even a sliver of France and none of anything I’ve eaten that got me into this to begin with. Okay, for a while there, I kinda forgot about food. . .all together. See, four and a half years ago, I weighed 145 pounds when I came out of the hospital where I almost died of alcoholism. That’s what happens when you forget to eat for eight years. I guess when I put down the bottle, I picked up the spoon. I put down the pint of ale and picked up the gallon of Turkey Hill. I’ve been eating and making up for all those years because I thought it was my right, perhaps it was and now it’s got to stop. It’s not enough anymore to put down the bottle and quit smoking. It’s just not enough. My vices are bullets hurling at me and it seems there just aren’t enough places to hide anymore.

It’s time to end the four and a half-year hangover from food. I figure I’d write about it as a form of telling on myself. That way I will think twice before cheating. I sound like Cathy. Being 45 may be starting out with a thumb’s down, but there’s a hill in the distance and it’s getting closer. I can see the horizon and I want to be able to at least get to the top first. I want to be the one who’s driving. I have many friends with health problems worse than my own and I suppose that to not even attempt doing what’s right for me, isn’t doing anyone else any good either. I will do this for me. I will try to begin enjoying toast with yogurt, wheat pasta, rhododendron and soy, bean curd gluten-free bowls full of bluck. I will quit sweets, red meat and anything with fat in it. Fat and flavor are now my enemies. Even though this is all very foreign to me, I have to reason with myself - if I just quit the cholesterol, it might be the big “D” the next time, or perhaps the big “H.A.” and yes, perhaps the big “C.” I’ve got to be careful. I have to do this for me. I did the booze, I did the smokes and now I will pass on the fat. . .after my birthday. I have yet to enjoy my Cassoulet. I'll do good until then. Even though I swear that worrying so much about dying is killing me.

1 comment:

  1. Just read this and laughed my head off... or wistfully, wishfully, laughed my fat off

    ReplyDelete