As I stroll merrily through menopause, my daughter has become a vegetarian. She is eleven. She is at an age and stage in which morality is crystal clear. She has been hearing about Climate Change since her parents came home from their first post-baby date (Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.) When she was two months old, her parents bought a VW diesel Jetta which they ran on biodiesel, until the fuel dealer went MIA. The year she was two, she ate only local food. She grew up being dragged around to CSOs, knows all her favorite alt-brands at our food co-op, and marched in last year’s women’s march. She sings Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie songs, and comes with me to vote every election day. Nowadays, as soon as I turn the key in my van she says, “Mama, put away your phone! Drive! You’re wasting gas!” And when I fantasize about flying somewhere exotic, like, um, Virginia, she snaps, “That’ll destroy our carbon footprint for the year.” So it shouldn’t have come as any kind of surprise that she doesn’t want to eat meat.
I, on the other hand, have had my own lifelong issues with food that have led me to what most would consider an extremely rigid food plan. I haven’t eaten flour or sugar in almost 20 years; I don’t eat processed food at all; I eat copious amounts of vegetables (nearly two pounds a day–and that’s a recent decrease), healthy fats, low-carb fruits, and nuts. But I do eat meat. All kinds of meat. We’re talking bacon, people. Sugar-free paleo, but still. We’re talking grass-fed burgers, the occasional slow-cooker pulled pork, roast duck on Thanksgiving (saving those drippings in which to cook my eggs the next day for breakfast), and closest to my heart, my mother’s recipe for roast chicken. I have tried to be vegetarian at various points in my life. Suffice it to say, it didn’t work. My blood sugar is ridiculously sensitive. Over the years, I have had to give up such healthy foods such as lentils, carrots and apples, as their natural sugars affect me adversely. I love the way I eat. No one is asking me to change it.
But given the seeming epidemic of cancer surrounding us (in my own life, at least ten of my nearest and dearest are diagnosed), I am always on the lookout for the healthiest meal plan available. There is something else nagging at me. I am very good at taking care of my own nutritional needs, but I have been quite laissez-faire when it comes to the rest of my family. Peanut butter and jelly every day? Ok, that’s fine. Mac and Cheese more than three nights a week? Great. Easy and cheap. Just give me my salmon and veggies and don’t complain. My daughter’s new consciousness has raised my own, and so I was toying with the idea of going vegetarian for a year. Everyone who loves me (Judy, Tom, even my daughter) tells me that that’s crazy. I limit myself enough around food, and I don’t need yet another way to obsess about it. Still, I argued, I would like to be a better Mama Bear and bring some mindfulness to menu planning that has so long eluded me. And maybe the estrogens in tofu would be good for my hormonally-challenged body.
I haven’t written for this blog in a committed way since London. My last (please, God) draft of The Big Idea is about to go to the agent, and after it’s done, I will need to turn my attention to writing songs for our next album.
Writing a blog on a daily basis helps me to know who I am. I write, therefore I think. Working on this novel, I forget who I am. I lose touch with myself, and get myself confused with the characters I am writing. I missed the boat on both NaNoWriMo and 30 Poems in November, but here we are at Day 15 of this Noble Month. Something inside me is urging me back to a daily writing practice, and so I am going to try to write every day again. Yes, it’s better to have a focus––say, a food blog called Tofu365 in which the author tries out a different tofu recipe every day for a year. But, like I said, I have good friends who love me, and they all pursed their lips and shook their heads when I pitched this idea.
So instead, I am going to just show up and report and see where the writing and my life take me. There is, for one thing, the story of the barn to tell.