bowl of chocolate vs responsible adult

What should be done with this?

We have a big bowl of chocolate candy bars in our dining room. This is not normal, because we try to eat reasonably healthy most of the time. But we just passed Halloween, and for various reasons we had less trick-or-treaters this year. (I’d guess because it was a Monday — a school night — and our closest neighbors decorated less than normal. More people went to the other side of our subdivision, which had more decorations.) Regardless of how and why, the end result is a lot of tempting chocolate in my house.

So what am I supposed to do with all this chocolate? The obvious answer is to EAT IT! But there’s a flaw in the slaw: I’m trying to be a responsible adult here. One of my goals is to lose some weight and be more fit, and chocolate bars don’t exactly fit in fitness. But the counter-argument is that I’m a grown-up, so I can eat whatever I want. And that’s true. Therein lies the dilemma.

Do you remember being a kid and being limited by your parents on things like eating sweets and watching TV and playing video games? You probably dreamed of how one day you’d be a grown-up who can set your own rules and how wonderful that will be. And it is good. But you also (hopefully) learn that there are good reasons to be responsible and it’s better to do those things in moderation. It reminds me of this funny quote:

I don’t think I can talk Jen into installing a deep fat fryer in our kitchen. That’d rock! A short order grill. I can sit home and make grilled cheese sandwiches, hash browns, French fries, and pancakes all day long. Mmm. The fat kid in my brain just got really excited. The adult in my brain has to calm him down. Which really is what “growing up” is all about — telling the kid in your brain to sit down and behave, while the grown-up in our brain says, “You know, it’d be more responsible of us if we did this instead…” Stupid brain. ~ Jeff Schell

That’s the mental battle that we all must endure. But let me caution and encourage you with the word “moderation” in another context. Being an adult — especially when you have children — means being serious and responsible a lot more often than you may want to be. If we go too far on the serious side, it can drain the joy and happiness out of life. We don’t want to become an adult that forgets how to have fun. (I suppose that applies to everyone. But if you don’t want to laugh and be happy, that’s your choice, but I don’t recommend it.) Life is much better when it’s enjoyed. You can still be responsible and serious while enjoying the journey. That’s where moderation applies here — it’s not just about limiting the fun, but it can remind us to be serious in moderation. Allow yourself to have fun, even when life is busy and overwhelming. Actually, being able to enjoy your life makes the serious parts less tedious! So it’s helpful to have fun!

So the next time you’re about to eat a piece of chocolate that you might feel somewhat guilty about, find the balance — set a limit of how much, but within that limit, enjoy it as much as possible. While eating it, don’t think about calories or saturated fat grams or sugar or how much exercise it would take to burn it off — just close your eyes and savor each delicious bite. (You tend to enjoy it more when you eliminate distractions, so closing your eyes actually helps.)

Now go enjoy a reasonably-sized piece of chocolate! 🙂

deep-fried dollar bill

Ah, America… The land of deep-fried excess!  🙂  (Is this poetic or ironic?)

This picture was forwarded among the Buffet o’ Blog staff, and one person said, “That’s a waste of perfectly good breading.”  So true.  Because there’s no way I’d eat a dollar bill, even if cooked.  I don’t even want to think of how many germs it could have on it.  (I hope they threw out the grease after it was cooked!)

Then someone wondered: “Would the dollar be worth more now that it’s fried?”  That is an interesting question.  In general, the dollar isn’t worth what it used to be.  (Think about that for a while… but don’t hurt yourself.)  This version is a novelty.  I bet there is someone who would pay more than $1 for it.  I suppose that would make it worth more than $1, at least to a small percentage of people.

Technically, it’s illegal to deface U.S. currency.  (So before inquiring minds want to know, I don’t know who made this picture.)  I wonder if it’s illegal to make a dollar bill be more valuable.  I suppose so, from a legal standpoint, but that seems counter-intuitive.  But not like it matters — I’m not planning to deep-fry any dollar bills.  I’ve got bigger fish to fry…

Would you eat a tarantula?

The other day I watched a little bit of the TV show “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern“.  I don’t usually watch it, but it can be interesting (and quite gross at times) . In the clip I saw, he was in Cambodia, and he showed people who eat tarantulas.  And of course he tried it.  I don’t think I would try that…

Yummy... NOT!

The story of how this happens is unusual also.  A husband and wife team go into the forest to catch tarantulas, then they de-fang them using a stick, a knife, and their hands, and they sell them for 12 cents apiece.  Imagine if that was your job!  It’s dangerous enough to find and catch poisonous spiders, plus the other dangers in a forest.  Then they remove the fangs and poison.  What could possibly go wrong?  And to get only 12 cents per spider… I realize the economy is on a different scale there, but that still seems quite low for the amount of risk involved.

A woman buys the tarantulas, rinses them off, seasons them with a mixture of powdered instant chicken soup, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar, then fries them.  While cooking, they make whistling noises and popping sounds (like a small explosion).  While frying the hair/fur falls off.  Supposedly they are quite tasty, with a sweet and nutty taste.  The woman sells them in town for 25 cents each, and makes about $25 a day, which is a really good living there.

Reading about it doesn’t do the story justice.  You should watch this short clip to experience it a little closer.

To answer my original question: No, I would not eat one.  I’m not scared of spiders, but I’d still rather not eat them, especially when they’re potentially poisonous.  There’s plenty of other foods I would rather eat.

tempted with jealousy

Somebody did me wrong today.  They didn’t mean to, so I won’t hold it against them, but it just wasn’t right.  My story begins like many others: I was minding my own business, mowing my yard.  I was trying to get my lawn mowed before the rain came.  My wife was inside cooking supper.  Since we’re trying to lose weight, we’ve been eating healthy meals more than we used to.  She was baking some Cajun-seasoned fish and frying some fresh vegetables (squash, okra, and tomatoes) with Creole seasoning and olive oil.  It’s not a bad meal, even for a meat-and-taters guy like myself.  But while I was mowing, one of my neighbors decided to grill burgers, and the wonderful aroma wafted into my yard.

It really doesn’t matter that I was about to eat fish and vegetables — just about any meal is trumped by home-grilled burgers.  So I found that to be quite rude of them.  I’m outside dripping with sweat from mowing in the crazy heat-and-humidity mixture here in Arkansas, and they’re making me jealous with their grilling.

So if you find yourself in the situation of the person grilling while your neighbor is mowing his yard, it would be incredibly awesome if you were to offer him a burger or hot dog off the grill.  That would make their day, and it would certainly make the rest of the mowing not so laborious.  I’m just sayin’…  🙂