I bought a $13 juice yesterday.
I’m as shocked and ashamed as you are right now. Let me try to explain how it happened.
It all started when I was a healthy-looking kid.
I’ve always been healthy-looking. Healthy-looking is a polite way of saying “chubby”. What’s kind of funny though is that I always forget that I’m a bit fat. Now, that’s not to say that there haven’t been blatant signs throughout the years to remind me. In grade three for example, when we’d play T-Ball at recess the boys would chant, “heavy hitter!” as I approached home plate. I thought it was because they knew I was gonna hit the shit out of that plastic ball. There was also the time in grade five when I scored the part of Tiny Tim in our town’s production of A Christmas Carol and the theatre reviewer from the big city just north of us commented that Tiny Tim was, “rather healthy-looking.” Oh yeah? Well I acted the shit out of that play, so who’s laughing now asshole?
There was also the time in grade eleven, when I was as athletically fit and firm as I’ll ever be, when I overheard aunt Sandy and my mom talking in the kitchen about another healthy-looking person, and Sandy said, “Oh so-and-so is not fat: She’s just, you know, built like a work horse, not a race horse, like ________ (insert my real name in that blank.)
The only time I looked more like “normal” rather than “healthy-normal” was the year I met the Beast. Coincidentally, this was the only time in my life when I lost my appetite. I had just come back from Italy, was recovering from a break-up, and desperately craved a vice, so I made myself become addicted to smoking. Also, I worked at a restaurant and lived in the basement of a former professor of mine who’s home was actually a church. My church basement didn’t have a fridge. So I had a Starbucks coffee and pastry every morning for breakfast, my staff meal at the restaurant for lunch, and instead of dinner, I smoked, drank obscene amounts of beer and bourbon, and hung out with kids about eight years my junior. The weight dripped off. And everybody kept telling me how great I looked and kept asking me what the secret was. When I answered, I was either extremely hung over, or drunk, and probably said something like, “The secret? I’ll tell you the secret: Get depressed, start smoking, drink like a mother f–ker, and forget to eat. I’ve never been more unhealthy in my entire life. Did you want the bill?”
Those were glorious almost-skinny days. Unfortunately, my appetite came back when I met the Beast, and after our six-month stint in Newfoundland, I was back to “healthy-normal”. I’ve been healthy-normal/built like a work-horse/am a bit rotund ever since.
Okay, bare with me here: I’m getting to the $13 juice. I just need to explain to you about how I forget that I’m the above-mentioned things. In my world, I’m a normal size, not a healthy-normal size. It’s only when I see a photo of myself or when I occasionally go clothes shopping that I face reality. (Oh, and there was one time at a Christmas party when an extremely buxom woman who was overflowing from every direction asked me where I got my dress because she wanted to know where “girls like us could buy cool clothes like that.” I almost shat myself. Could I be that delusional?) Quite frankly, I think it’s a good sign that I forget I’m a little bit fat: it proves that I’m not affected by what some people might call the media’s ploy to convince women that they’re not perfect because they don’t look like models. I never think about that shit. Most days I feel great about how I look! I’m not fat or skinny. I’m just me.
So on Sunday, my day got unintentionally rearranged. I won’t bore you with those details. I found myself near the Bay where I ran into Stephen from work (not to be confused with Other Stephen. What’s confusing is that both Stephens read and comment on this blog.) Stephen was returning a shirt to the Bay. After a lovely chat, I decided that I was going to buy a piece of clothing. I tried on a dress at a vintage shop. It was a very tiny change room and I had my eyeglasses on. (Usually when I get dressed, I am not wearing spectacles and I am far away from my mirror and I unconsciously twist and turn to hide any bulging bits thereby forgetting that I have bits to begin with.) What I saw in that change room mirror was astonishing. You know when you see microscopic close-ups of human skin and it has bugs crawling all over it? It was worse than that. I had to shut my eyes. And I believe I gasped so loud that the clerk asked me if everything was okay.
Upon leaving the store, I realized I was not only over-weight, but STARVING. So instead of eating real people food, I bought a juice for my lunch from Fresh. They used to have a delicious juice made of apple, beets and raspberries called the Susur, after chef Susur Lee. It’s not on the menu any longer but the nice girl said she could still make it for me. I asked her to put in a shot of something that would make me feel good, healthy and pure. She suggested something called…I can’t remember what it was called but it sounded like it would make me skinny, or at least make me forget that I’m fat, so I said yes to it even though she said it cost extra. And then she said my juice was $13 and I felt like punching her in her stupid skinny face but I just gave her my debit card and drank the fucking delicious juice anyway.
I walked my bike along Queen Street with my fat head hung low. And then, like a port in a storm, I saw one of the most beautiful, luminescent and creative people I know: Erinn. Erinn manages the restaurant OddFellows and writes this blog. (She also does many other things–too many things to list. Suffice it to say that she’s inspiring.) I told her about my $13 juice, but not why I bought it. And I told her that the Beast had asked me to make baked beans for him and serve them up with barbecued French Country sausages from Rowe Farms but I didn’t want to make them because it didn’t seem to fit the weather. Plus, I planned on fasting for three weeks and I wasn’t sure how I was going to resist baked beans and sausages. Erinn said that baked beans were perfectly suitable for this time of year and she also suggested that we use up the left-overs as a topping on a jacket potato, like they have in England. “First,” she advised, “slather your potato with a big piece of butter, then add your baked beans and maybe some coleslaw on top. And you know what I like to do sometimes? Open up a can of corn and throw that on a heavily salted jacket potato with lots of butter and melted cheese. It’s delicious.”
Erinn not only single-handedly planned two dinners in a row for me, but she also made me forget that I’m slightly fat by distracting me with her talk of jacket potatoes. For this, I shall be eternally grateful.
Now since this blog isn’t called patheticandforgetfulfatperson.blogspot.com, let’s get down to brass food tacks:
I’ve made these easy, Italian-style baked beans, courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, only once before. But the Beast flipped out over them. That’s beer I’m pouring into that pot. (I’d like to start including more action shots.) The recipe called for dark beer but I only had Creemore on had. The recipe also called for pancetta which I didn’t have. I gambled that the Beast wouldn’t notice.
The baked beans turned out perfectly.
And because I was still very fragile (fat), I did something I’ve never done before: I bought pre-packaged coleslaw mix instead of making my usual cabbage salad with my mandolin. Do you know that pre-packaged coleslaw only costs $1.29?
I will probably not do this again. It didn’t taste the same. But our dinner didn’t suffer too much because of my laziness and fragility.
Please take note that I only had one sausage plus a bit instead of an entire two. That’s what I call taking positive action.
And I can’t get enough of Ontario strawberries so I made sure we had some on hand for dessert.
You’re thinking that I should have just had a bowl of fresh berries for dessert, aren’t you. Only trouble is, I’d purchased some very good quality ice cream before I’d remembered that I was fat. I wasn’t about to refuse the ice cream that I offered myself because that would be rude and I strongly believe that being rude is a greater sin than being fat. So I ate a modest serving. Didn’t Kate Moss say something about how nothing tastes as good as skinny does? I think Ontario strawberries with good ice cream have got to come close to tasting as good as skinny, but I can’t be certain because I’ve never tasted skinny. Besides, my mom doesn’t trust skinny people so skinny isn’t really an option for me (blood is much thicker than non-fat milk product.)
Footnote: If you decide to comment, please refrain from saying stuff like, “you’re not fat!” because by the time I read your comments I will have forgotten that I’m fat and your words will only serve to remind me that I am. Also, don’t give me tips on losing weight because a) I’m not fat. b) Did you just call me fat? And c) losing weight isn’t rocket science: you just EAT LESS or cut out all white foods. I’m not about to do either because I like food, all food, whether it’s black, white, brown or yellow. I don’t see colour. Only food.