May I tell you about a journal entry of mine from ten years ago? It is a sign of my fondness for you, my readers, that I am able to write this, as once I would not have been able to.
R.H. and I had been invited to a large, fancy dinner party by people we did not know well socially. I was nervous, shy, and overweight. I especially dreaded going because I had just finished reading a book by a beloved author. Here is my old journal entry. I must warn you that this was written, at the time, for my eyes only, and I was depressed about my yo-yo weight.
"In Seasoned Timber, by author Dorothy Canfield (Fisher), published in 1939, there is a scene around a boarding house table in Vermont that seems as revealing of the attitude that people had towards fat people then as I imagine they do today."
"Ah, how do you do, Miss Ingraham," he said in his second best tone…"
"Immediately I recognize this tone as the tone people use for me, their 'second best tone.' Why would they waste their 'best tone' on me?"
"…for he thought her drab and uninteresting, though worthy,
and often wondered how, with all that is now known about dieting,
it was possible for any woman to go around with such a waistline."
"Miss Ingraham is portrayed in the book as a twittering, talkative lady, clearly lacking in self-confidence or self-esteem or self-control. At first I thought that Canfield was falling into the stereotypical fat woman character, but I admit she does portray an admirable character in her book, Miss Peck, as 'massive, swarthy, saturnine, with thick, straight, large features, and bushy crinkling gray hair.' Miss Peck is not considered fat but massive.
"The male protagonist of the book values Miss Peck, the owner of the boarding house, for her Vermont cooking and for her silences. Also for her 'astringent, disdainful quality, which he relished as he relished horseradish with beef.'
"I feel that the author is saying that to be put up with, fat women must keep their mouths shut or at least utter only profound words and few at that, as does Miss Peck. I have sometimes felt that society really thinks, 'Just be glad we're letting you sit in the room. Don't push your luck by talking. What credence do fat women have? After all, if they knew anything, they would lose weight. Pu-lease!'
"So we went to the dinner party and everyone made me feel bad, right? No, what actually happened was that we had a delightful time and ended up laughing so much that one man from another table stopped by ours and said, 'You people are having entirely too much fun!'
"So shouldn't this blow my theory out of the water about the way people think of fat women? Not exactly; I can't help reminding myself that our table mates were too mannerly to reveal it if they did think so. But it does occur to me that one wonderful byproduct of my losing fifty pounds in 2001 was that I forgot about me and just enjoyed being with other people.
Thank you for bearing with me sharing that ten-year old journal entry. I put you through it because it is the 12th of the month again, time for me to report on how the diet is coming, and it is not much fun to report again that, while I've kept off 12 pounds that I lost since August, I have not lost the fifteen pounds needed to reward myself with a lampshade for the lamp (and I bet you're getting so tired of seeing it here all naked!).
There have been some healthy meals here this past month. I try to have wild Alaskan salmon once a week, either fixed quickly and simply with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper:
Or one of my more complicated recipes from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Oven-Braised Salmon where the salmon is first browned in a pan for only three minutes, set aside in a baking dish, then thinly sliced yellow onions, a minced garlic clove, bay leaves, and salt are added to the pan the fish was cooked in, olive oil added, and cooked covered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 15 minutes. Next you remove the bay leaves and stir in a little paprika and lemon juice. Rewarm and then put on top of fish. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. It is wonderful!
Blogger aside: Aren't these beautiful plates? I collect old Italian fish plates so I jumped on these on eBay a few years ago. Does anyone know what form of sea life these plates could be?
I've been using luncheon plates while on this diet so I would think I was getting more to eat and love these, even if I wouldn't dare put them in the dishwasher.
Back to dieting. Most of my meals have not been exactly unhealthy…
Roast beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes:
Pork loin chops on sauerkraut (and yes, there are mashed potatoes on the plate too):
One night after hours of cooking, we ate Lee Bailey's Beef Stew with Rum and Olives:
It was supposed to have been served on buttered noodles but I used whole wheat rotini. I didn't think this dish was very good but R.H. and our son Gurn liked it.
Then there were some meatless meals like sautéed mushrooms and parsley on potatoes with a new whole grain cornbread that I made without remembering to put in the butter that was melted in the microwave. It tasted more like a corn pudding and was a happy accident.
I'm not giving up on this diet. I'm still not eating sweets except for my one time a month slips: 3 pieces of R.H.'s chocolate-peanut cluster candy in August, at midnight; 3 fig newtons in September, at midnight; and an entire Haagen-Dazs container of pineapple coconut ice cream in November, the other morning at 1:30 a.m.
I will not give up, but what I am ending is this 12th of the month reporting on it because I want to feel that my readers are my friends, not my wardens. I may moan and groan some about dieting in my future posts, and sure, if I happen to lose six dress sizes you can bet I'll tell the world about it.
But I don't want to begin to imagine that you, my beloved readers, are using your second best tone for me. So the monthly reporting is ending.
And, I plan on following the advice of a dear reader in Oklahoma who neither blogs nor comments but who does write me the nicest emails. Dianne advised me to go ahead and buy the lampshade and I'm going to take her advice. I am getting pretty tired of seeing it sitting on my kitchen counter without one.
You are troopers if you've gotten through this long post, and I promise you that my next post will be a one-sentence original thought that might help someone as they gather with family and friends at the Thanksgiving Day table.