My granddaughter, Arden Taylor – just home from school in Japan – has been staying with me and my son Matt, since February 14th. Since then, six weeks ago, she has lost 21 pounds and wants to lose more.
I can’t tell you how pleased I am about that because I’m pretty sure it was almost entirely due to my influence. Octo-woman has always seen to it that co-habitation was a life-changing experience for her co-habitants. Ask Matthew. (Maybe not today, though. Clorax accidentally got into the washer load full of his new sweatshirts. I can fix it with some fabric paint, though – they’ll look real nice, Matt,)
Anyway, right after Arden arrived in February, I got busy and prepared some of the dishes I’m kind of famous for.
The first day, for example, we had broiled steak, stir-fry vegetables, and potatoes. The smoke alarm, which I use as a timer, did go off 2 or 3 times, but all in all, the meal, if I do say so myself, was quite successful. The steak wasn’t as tough as it usually is, and while I might have gone a bit heavy on the salt, and while the vegetables were somewhat overdone, the potatoes were almost cooked and just right if you like al dente. We topped off the feast with Macademia Nut Clusters for dessert.
Arden didn’t eat much that night though because she was getting over jet lag.
The next day, I prepared one of the casseroles everyone begs for: Hamburger Helper enhanced with ground beef and canned green beans, and topped with a layer of toasted dry onions. As a special treat, we had Macademia Nut Clusters for desert. The smoke alarm only went off once, and Arden didn’t seem as unnerved by it as she was the first day.
She didn’t eat much that night either, though, because she was still getting over jet lag.
Whenever I make a casserole, – for the sake of efficiency – I always make enough for 3 days. So the next day, we all sat down to Act II of Hamburger Helper, this time, jazzed up with some hot sauce and some of the leftover stir-fry from the first day. And we had canned pears on the side with some chopped walnuts casually sprinkled on top. (I thought it was a nice touch.) For desert, we had Macademia Nut Clusters.
Arden just sort of picked at her food, though, because she was still getting over jet lag.
Unfortunately, Arden had to miss the 3rd day of Hamburger Helper, because that day, she went out for dinner with her mother – my daughter Judy Taylor. I earnestly explained that Matt and I were more than willing to share the last of the casserole, and that we would be having Macademia Nut Clusters for desert, but they declined. I think they were just looking for a little quality mother-daughter time.
The next day, I set about making a three-day supply of spaghetti with meat sauce. I was just pulling out the colander when Arden came into the kitchen. “Oh, Grandma”, she said. “Don’t make enough for me. I’ve decided to go on a vegan diet.”
“What does a vegan diet consist of”, I asked, alarmed.
“Well, basically, think of it this way”, Arden said. “I won’t be eating anything that came from something that has eyes.”
“Not even potatoes?” I gasped.
“Oh, potatoes are okay”, Arden said, “But no meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, or other dairy products. Or Hamburger Helper. I’m going to the store right now to get some supplies, but I can prepare what I want to eat for myself. You won’t need to do the cooking for me from now on.”
From that day on, I have been observing all sorts of alien-looking but apparently edible products coming into the house. Things like kale and bamboo and other comestibles which probably grow in a swamp.
Even though I may not be a vegan follower myself, I am determined to impart some of my culinary secrets to Arden. For example, apparently vegans don’t like to eat anything that has preservatives in it. Preservatives must have eyes. If Arden brings vegan bread home, she only has about twenty minutes in which to eat it or else it goes moldy.
I was thus able to teach her one of my most resourceful culinary tricks. If the bread has mold on the crusts and not anywhere else, just cut the crusts off. The rest of the slice will taste like it was almost fresh and you probably won’t even remember about the green fungi you almost shared it with. Arden was very impressed and told me she will always remember this helpful hint. She didn’t eat the bread though, because she was still struggling with that awful jet lag. I had to eat it myself.
Today, Arden is 21 pounds lighter than when she first arrived on our doorstop. She’s planning to keep losing till around Christmas, at which time she will probably become invisible. I am very proud of her, for her determination, self-reliance, and ability to subsist solely on subterranean plant life.
Arden often tells anyone who will listen about Grandma’s adventures in cooking. Even the smoke alarm is no longer a problem for her. Now, as soon as it goes off, Arden is often the first to grab the newspaper, vigorously fan the device till it stops alarming, and then runs and opens the back door to let the smoke escape. Just like a regular person.
And yes, she finally got over her jet lag. Let’s hear it for Arden!