Tuesday, November 20, 2007

(Some) impulse control.

Written on Monday--
As i sit in my lovely reclining seat in the First Class cabin of a United Airlines flight home from England, i’m pondering the mysteries of self-discipline and impulse control. And yes, you read that right—First Class. There are some perks to a husband who has spent the last 32 years weathering the stormy seas (skies?) of the airline industry.

Why, you ask, am i pondering impulse control at the end of a lovely month spent with my daughter in England? Possibly because i am relieved i can still wear the same pants i wore on the flight to England, having spent the past four weeks being fed by my son-in-law who loves to cook.

Yes, i did go to be with my daughter so that i could help her in the time surrounding the birth of her third child. And yes, this could have included cooking, i realize, and i went prepared to do that if needed. But i am not a cook—i cook because my family should be fed, and nobody has starved on my watch. i enjoy reading cookbooks and watching others who love to cook on Food Network. But cook myself? Not such a fan. Now, i do have a really nice Bosch range, and some very cool Calphalon pans hanging from a ceiling rack, so my kitchen gives the impression of a person happily sautéing and stirring and banging about with pots. But again, not a huge fan. i’d rather bake cookies. Or knit.

All that to say, i have so thoroughly enjoyed being cooked for that my eating choices have been limited simply by being too full to eat another bite. Coq au vin, lamb roast with rosemary stuffing, thick, creamy soups of winter squashes, or lamb stew. And my daughter had previously been accused (by me!) of “cooking by color” (“well, if spaghetti sauce is red, surely chili powder being red will also go..." That meal, cooked in her college days, cleared the family’s sinuses for a week.) But this trip she made us a salmon pie with a dill sauce and creamy mashed potatoes, clearing herself of all past cooking judgements. (i mean, it has been a decade.)

i also love the whole English tea and biscuits concept. It’s a lovely thing to take a break in the afternoon for a milky cup of tea and assorted dippable biscuits (cookies in the U.S.) Why do i love their biscuits more than the ones in the States? i don’t know. Maybe it’s just the fact that i’m on vacation in a foreign land and feel it’s okay to enjoy them. Maybe it’s because they have buttery, crispy cookies of every description—“digestives,” a basic vanilla type cookie, but topped in dark or milk chocolate, or caramel and chocolate, and the ever famous Hob Nobs, a more grainy, crunchy type of the same thing, or a thin crisp wafer with fruity bits in them, or delightfully dunkable raspberry and cream filled sandwich cookies…the possibilities are endless! The English son-in-law says these remind him of church social times and children’s snacks, but call me a child, i love ‘em!

What i’ve been pondering is my choice of “living to eat” rather than “eating to live,” that seems to symbolize my lack of self-discipline. The thing is, i do have impulse control—many many times i wanted to run my hand across the stubbly head of the passenger in front of me on the nearly four hour bus ride to Heathrow Airport in London, BUT I DIDN’T. And when standing in line at the grocery store behind a lady with the shoulder length gray hair that is probably what mine would look like if i let it go to its natural state, i wanted to ask to drape it over my head and take a picture so i could see what i might look like should i give up on the whole hair-dying annoyance. BUT I DIDN’T.

And now, i’m sitting in United First Class, home of the many-course meal—several starters, salad and bread, entrées that include filet mignon and halibut with lobster sauce, side dishes, and if there is a single bit of space left in your tummy, the possibility of an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce or the cheese and fruit course. Now, i know for the people who have paid dearly for the privilege of excess this is expected. But for me? i just love to be waited on, i freely admit it! If we were paying full price for our tickets we would be in the back of the plane by the toilets, eating boxed lunches of questionable freshness.

i’m thinking that, since this is Thanksgiving week, and the eldest child (who also loves to cook) will have that family meal under control, if i can manage to squeak by without cooking until Thursday and then take home leftovers, i should be able to extend this non-cooking gig for another week.

The next month, i fear, rather than getting my exercise by trying to keep up the housekeeping for a household with two young boys and a baby, and having my meals provided pleasantly and with no work on my part—i will gladly do dishes by hand twelve times a day if i don’t have to cook!—i will need to live on my elliptical and eat a steady diet of steamed vegetables. There will be no drizzle of cream on my morning porridge, and no clotted cream for my non-existent scones.


Pardon me now, i have finished my Haagen Dazs ice cream, and am preparing to lay my First Class Suite flat so i can cuddle up under the quilted blanket provided and take a nap. Ah, the life of a jet-setter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hiya kid- wow, you make me really hungry. The English food and 1st class goodies sound wonderful! Keith has gotten more lazy than I used to be when it comes to cooking and doesn't get so creative any more. I think I'll try to get into good enough shape to start cooking again. Do you have jet lag? I didn't get the notice for this post, but got the one for Wed. so thought I'd start with this one. I need to get Keith to take a photo of me with his cell phone so you can see my gray hair. Of course it won't be quite the same as yours since it's mixed in with light brown hair. Impulses are really a hoot- like you're standing there and people are looking at you funny and you ask yourself- did I just say that out loud? I'm so proud of you still getting into the same pants you went to England in! I'm going to the 24 fitness place because they have much more than simple physical therapy. That is if we can afford it. I need to get in better shape with all my disabilities so I can continue taking care of myself. You know what it's like to hurt all over- I think exercising might help me become more limber as long as I don't hurt myself worse in the process. Thanks for all the lovely notes during your trip. Also before and after! Toodles, P