Occasionally I indulge my penchant for hyperbole.
I know that may come as a shock to you, but trust me, it’s true. I might, every once in a while, stretch things just a touch; I might overstate things just a wee bit; I might, for the sake of humor or to drive a point home, get just the tiniest bit carried away with comparisons. Just a little bit. A tiny bit, really. A shred. A crumb. A molecule.
For instance, I might say things like “I would crawl a million miles over broken glass for a helping of Moddy’s cheesy potato casserole”. Clearly this is not true: I would not crawl a million miles for that, because if I asked Moddy very nicely to make a cheesy potato casserole, I could simply get in the car and drive 30 miles to her house and have one by dinnertime. She’s a good sport like that.
However, sometimes the things I say are actually totally true, and should be taken at face value. Case in point: a while back, I said that if I had to choose between chocolate and my nieces’n'nephews, I’d choose the kiddos without having to think about it. (I also said I’d punch an alligator in the face for them, which, while true, is not a point on which I’d particularly like to be tested.)
And I was thinking about that yesterday–the chocolate trade, not the alligator–while I was making our New Year’s Prosperity Feast. We had shrimp cocktail and hors d’oeuvres and fancy wine for breakfast (we’d had the champagne the night before), and stuffed mushrooms and black-eyed peas and steak for dinner and a nice circular cake for dessert, all because it’s supposed to be good luck to eat certain foods on New Year’s Day. Y’know, for prosperity and things. Someone had said that the peas, for instance, were supposed to bring coins into your life and collard greens were supposed to bring cash; it was a little late to go hunt down some collard greens, but I reckon the peas and the cake and the prosperous thoughts should suffice.
And that’s what made me think about the kiddos: if we eat certain foods on New Year’s Day for prosperity, maybe I can apply that approach throughout the year, and eat certain foods because they represent the life I want to live with the people I love the most.
I know I’m supposed to eat vegetables, and I do enjoy a good broccoli crown–mmm, broccoli–but I wonder if I might eat more of it if I declare that broccoli florets, which look like trees, should be eaten frequently so that I’ll be granted the gift of lots of woodsy adventures. And maybe I’ll eat broccoli crowns when I want to bring extra princess time into my life. Cauliflower looks kinda like brains, so I can eat cauliflower for extra smarts in my brain parts–the better to whup Moon Man at trivia games (that will never happen. He can’t remember a birthday to save his life, but he’s got ridiculous amounts of trivia rattling around in his head). I’ll eat red coronary-lookin’ beets when I want to expand the love in my world. I’ll eat more black-eyed peas for more money, and because they’re delicious with a little bacon. Mmm, bacon.
And it works in the opposite direction, too. I declared, in that blog post last year, that I would choose the kiddos over chocolate without even having to think about it, and that’s true–if a wizard came to me right now and ordered me to choose, I’d have my answer before he finished his sentence. I have the good fortune of not having to make that choice; but maybe I can live like I’ve been given a scale with all the chocolate on one side and all the time with loved ones on the other, and every time I eat some chocolate I have to move some time off the family side so the scale stays balanced. The chocolate isn’t off the table entirely; I just need to choose it consciously, knowing that every candy bar is a bit of time I’m taking away…but veggies, I dunno, add time or something. I haven’t thought this all the way out yet, and the metaphor is a little tortured anyway.
But you see what I’m getting at. Maybe this year can be the year when I make food decisions consciously, with an eye toward symbolism and meaning and intent, instead of just eating the things I’ve historically eaten, which, for the record, have not historically led to my being the healthiest human being alive. (What’s that they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Yeah….)
And if I get right to the punchline–and this is all Sarah McLachlan’s fault–the love of my family and friends really is better than ice cream. Plus it doesn’t melt.
So that’s the plan for this year: more little trees, fewer ice cream cones. Because I will take a romantic walk through the woods with my hubby over a drippy, melty cone any day.
Well, most days.