First off, after totally blowing off the meat department at my local Price Chopper for the past couple of years I managed to find a couple of allies today. In the past I found it totally impossible to get anything from them that wasn’t already cut and wrapped in the meat case….just really indifferent customer service. When I was up there this afternoon I spied veal t-bones in the case. That is something I haven’t seen readily available at any of the meat counters in town, and for $12.99/lb it looked like a great deal. Also, they are just about the PERFECT size for one meal….just a tad too large at around 4oz each. As they were wrapping up a couple for me I commented that it was great to see a cut like that at my local megamart, and they said they had them “all the time”. With that I inquired about offal…. sweetbreads, kidney, etc. They told me they’d be happy to order in anything I needed….jokingly saying “we can get elephant in here if you give us a little lead time”. So it was nice to make a little breakthrough with my local butcher….although I won’t be neglecting my friends at Paradise Meats up in Trimble anytime soon. They are just so customer service oriented and their selection is excellent. I like the new attitude right up the street from my house, but when you find a good local butcher I think it is your personal responsibility to support them.
Anyway, it’s a new year and that is the main reason for my post. As I stated earlier, it was nice to go through the first holiday season of my life without freaking out about how much weight I was going to gain. Granted, between the wine and a few different comfort “slider” foods like potatoes and various white starches, my weight loss did slow down some. But as of today I have passed the 90lb mark, and with the holidays behind me and what I hope turns out to be a lengthy stay for this warm weather I’m on track and feeling good.
I found out last Sunday that some of my friends were going to take me up on my offer of hosting this year’s New Year’s Eve gathering. It felt good to go into food preparation overdrive for the first time in a long time. I researched and debated for a little while and then decided to do something I can do really well for a small crowd…….BBQ. By a small crowd I’m talking about twelve people total…..and of course I made way, way too much food like I’ve always done in the past. Two pork butts, two briskets, 3lbs of smoked sausage rolls, 30 abt’s, a few quarts of homemade baked beans, assorted chips, dip, nachos, the works. I purposely made a lot so that I could give my parents and their friends a bunch of it, but even then it was an insane amount of food. In the past I wouldn’t worry about it too much because I’d end up eating the leftovers without too much of a problem. However, even after giving away a TON of food for my guests to take with them, I had more meat, beans, bread and abt’s than I could work my way through without damaging my health. I froze some of it, ate a little, dried out the bread for breadcrumbs, but I’m going to admit something here that gave me a lot of stress……I threw some away. Totally unheard of for me. Mostly that was just the potato chips, dip, nachos and some of the beans, but still, even though it was a waste of food I’m calling it progress. Normally I’d go into OCD mode to eat it all, but since that would be physically impossible now I just said the hell with it and threw it all away. I think I’ve already come a long way in modifying my behavior and my thoughts surrounding food, but sometimes the old demons pop back up and have to be dealt with. I love to cook, that’s just who I am, but having all of this “garbage” food around post-surgery was completely new to me and I dealt with it in what I thought was the healthiest way possible.
Overall Iwould have to say that it was a joyful occasion to have that many people over to my house for the first time since my breakup and surgery. Being around quality people is therapy. Now that I don’t cook from a place of sheer obsessive hunger like I have in the past, it’s a BLAST to cook for people and play host. The food was well received, and from the responses I think I’ve taken my burnt ends to that next ethereal level. I broke into one of my “good” bottles of wine to enjoy throughout the evening; a 2002 Pinot from The Magnificent Wine Company. By “good” I mean it was better than my usual $8-$10 fare. What a difference in flavor when you’re used to Torres “Sangre de Toro” and House Wine.
As life continues to even out a bit I plan to entertain more often. Since I just got my new Kitchenaid mixer, I’ll do some kind of homemade pasta dinner in the next month or so, then something for graduation in May, possibly Halloween just so that I have an excuse to dress up like Dean Stockwell as “Ben” in Blue Velvet…….not sure, but I do like having quality friends over to the house. Part of that is my desire to please others and make sure I’m still “cool”, but as I lose more weight and my confidence grows I’m getting much more comfortable with my personality. Of course your friends are always going to boost your ego and compliment you in ways that you need and appreciate, but even beyond that I’m beginning to notice how much of my general insecurity is subsiding as I lose weight, and my interactions with people are becoming way more confident and charismatic. I’ve always been pretty open about who I am and what I’m into, and coupled with being the funny fat man it has generally worked for me. I’m a charismatic guy who attracts people and I know how to work them if need be, but at the same time I only spend my free time with people I genuinely enjoy. I like that combination a lot, and as I let my charisma and personality “off-leash” more and more I want to be sure and temper that with compassion for others that I normally DON’T have and focus on more permanent elements like family (via my renewed therapy visits). Right now I’m going to let myself enjoy my progress, and as long as I’m not one of those cheesy comb-over guys hitting on their waitress or someone who cluelessly goes shirtless when they have no business doing it, then fuck it……I have a certifiable streak of “that guy could start a cult” in me and I want to have fun with it. For example, I’m not going to be that interested in dating for a little while, but when I do it would be nice be able to go out with someone way too hot and way too young for me without actually doing it. I don’t really have any interest in someone that far removed from what I call good conversation, so just knowing I COULD would be more than enough. So Happy New Year to ME. I rule. And to be honest, the only people who don’t understand that are usually pretty uninteresting and their kung-fu is typically weak.