There’s this story that a friend of mine told me almost two decades ago so the details are fuzzy but here’s what I remember: She was living and working two or three jobs in Florence, Italy and had a real Italian boyfriend. Her Italian was fantastic. She spoke it a mile a minute. One day she had an opportunity to make a little extra money at this catering event. She was serving breakfast to a bunch of fancy Italian men. She circulated through the room carrying a pitcher of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. “Pompino?” she offered them. She thought pompino meant “grapefruit”. She couldn’t understand why the men were laughing and saying: “Si, si, signorina!” Turns out pompelmo is grapefruit in Italian, not pompino. Pompino means “blow job”.
Anyway, I think of that story every time I have a Paloma cocktail, which has been often this summer. It’s simply tequila topped with Italian grapefruit soda. We’ve tested several brands of soda and I have to say, I think San Pellegrino’s fits the bill best.
It’s been a beautiful summer, even without air conditioning–and even with limiting Palomas to only the weekends. Although, about two weeks ago, I had a bit of a startle after I weighed myself.
I stepped on the scale because my favourite pair of jean shorts, which I’ve worn for the last five summers, barely buttoned up. Worse was that they were so tight in front, you could see two mounds of flesh on either side of my vagina, sort of like a puss in boots.
After not exercising all winter and eating at least two dinners every night, I had grown a “gunt”. I don’t know if there is an Italian word for that.
In any case, the shock of seeing that number on the scale, despite it being a new personal record, was brief. Shock dissolved into a sense of calm resolve: resolve to correct some poor habits, to weigh less than the Beast again, and to lose that pair of boots my puss was wearing.
The Beast, who has achieved his rock-hard body™ by working out at home, gave me some exercises, mostly calisthenic in nature, to do as soon as I get home after my bike ride from work. They only take 20 minutes. I do them while he gets dinner ready.
He’s been incredibly supportive–even when I bought boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I know a lot of people who watch their weight eat chicken breasts. But they’re just off-brand for me. Thighs, however, have an air of mystery and intrigue to them. They also have flavour. However boneless, skinless thighs veer awfully close to the chicken breast crowd. But when your puss is wearing boots–and I’m talking military-grade–you need to make a few sacrifices.
I marinated those thighs in honey, soya sauce, garlic, ginger, and lime. I grilled the thighs for 10 minutes a side at 350 degrees–we’ve recently discovered that the barbecue doesn’t need to rage at 500 degrees–and they were perfect. A simple green salad with flash-pickled red onion and grilled new potatoes were lovely, and pretty much healthy, sides.
I’ve lost three pounds in two weeks, which is fine by me. It’s nice and steady. I really feel like I can reach my goal by September. I can do this.
I’ve also discovered I can eat just one bowl of pasta and not be starving. I still eat pasta because I don’t want to be afraid of food. I don’t want to say “I don’t eat carbs” or “I don’t eat cheese” because that’s not sustainable for me. I want to have grilled haloumi during the summer, just maybe four slices instead of eight, and make it a dinner by adding a nice zucchini, mint, and arugula salad and all the grilled vegetables.
The Beast and I used to laugh after we’d prepared our dinners because it looked like they could feed a family of four, sometimes six. We still prepare that much. Only now I’m packing up lunches with the leftovers and the Beast still eats two or three dinners a night because he doesn’t eat breakfast or lunch.
He claims simply to not be hungry during the day, which frustrates me because I worry about him but mostly because I’m jealous.
We have, however, found common ground in our movie-watching this summer, all thanks to his library DVD rentals. We’ve revisited His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, and Sullivan’s Travels and finally got around to watching The Awful Truth.
Sometimes there are movies that I encourage him to watch on his own, like a 90-minute documentary about John James Audubon. And sometimes I re-watch episodes of Sex and the City by myself. I started the series again after some online essays appeared around its 20th anniversary about how the show wasn’t racially inclusive and depicted gay-and-trans stereotypes, which should surprise exactly no one who is examining a TV show from the late ’90s through a 2018 lens. But there is no sound excuse for Big’s wine glasses. This guy is a millionaire who is moving to Napa to get into the wine business and he has flat-bottomed glasses with absurdly long stems? It’s outrageous.
As outrageous as the number of books that had accumulated in our washroom. I’m talking like a dozen piled up behind the toilet and another dozen on top of our towel holder thing. So before work one morning, I got rid of them. Later in the day, the Beast texted me:
Beast: Are you mad at me?
Foodie: Not in the least. I love you more than ever. Why?
Beast: I know! That’s what I was thinking! And then I see my Henry James, my Death of Comedy, my Freud case histories and my Italian cinema books so forcefully removed from the washroom!
Foodie: I was just tidying up!
Beast: I’m a writer! You should have seen the look on my face when I was having a dump and wanted to read a little Nietzsche !!!👿👿👿💩💩💩
So the Nietzsche is back in the washroom. Every time the Beast sits down on the can, he says hello to his little friend and I say hi to mine: the new puss hanging over the old puss, like plump wisteria in the last days of summer. Come autumn, it’s arrivederci.