by Pettus Read
It used to be that whenever you gathered around the dining room table at a family get-together for a meal, the major topic of discussion was usually how great the food looked and how delicious it was gonna be. You couldn't wait to stop passing dishes of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, butter beans, and homemade bread just so you could dive into your Aunt Lou's family favorite of fruit salad.
Yes. Those were the good-old days when food was for enjoying and eating was fun. You spent the entire meal passing plates and trying to decide if you would have pecan pie, banana pudding or both for dessert.
However, those days have changed. The phrase, "Please pass the taters," has now been replaced by "I'm watching my carbs." We have now gone from meals containing fun food with lots of taste to meals containing food items intended for ruminant mammals. Our table conversations are orchestrated by those on strange diets trying to make everyone else become a part of their misery.
The other night I was in my favorite eating establishment and looking forward to a meal of great food and conversation with friends. Not to mention names, but it is where they are known for country cooking and consistently good food as well as printing their menu on paper that looks somewhat like a paper bag. I love their corn bread, and their steak and biscuits cannot be beat anywhere. Plus, their sweet tea will cause your tongue to wrap around your eye tooth and make you go blind.
As I sat there drooling over a plate of buttermilk corn bread and melting butter, I heard one of my friends order fake eggs and turkey sausage. Then one of my other friends looked at me just as butter dropped on my chin from my second muffin and said, "Surely you are not going to eat that in front of us while we are trying to watch our carbs are you?"
Don't get me wrong. I am as much for healthy eating as the next person, but when I go to my favorite place for a meal, enjoyable conversation is not only the main reason to be there. If enjoyable conversation happens during the visit, that is just that much better for the experience. I love my friends and enjoy their company, but nothing stops my enjoyment of a hot buttermilk corn bread muffin. Carbs or no carbs.
Obesity has become the new word on the lips of Americans these days along with the residue from jelly filled donuts. I guess that sounds better than saying we are getting as big as a house, but all of this carb thing is starting to get out of hand.
I saw a low carb hamburger the other day which is nothing more than a hamburger patty wrapped in a lettuce leaf. That is not a hamburger. Once the bread is removed you have nothing more than "a cow in a pasture," as my waitress friends would say.
Even 84-year-old Aunt Sadie is starting to feel the pressure from all of this low carb hype. She was standing in front of a mirror in her bedroom the other day just looking at herself when Uncle Sid came into the room to get his latest copy of National Geographic from their bathroom.
"What are you doing Sadie?" Uncle Sid asked her. "Just look at me Sid," she said. "I'm getting old. My face is sagging, my waist is big, and from the back it looks like you are following a double-wide home on the Interstate. I need one of those low carb diets I guess. I'm fat!"
Uncle Sid just stood there for a moment watching her look at herself in the mirror and making her judgement remarks. He then commented, "Well one thing is for sure if that is what you see in that mirror."
"What's that?" she asked. Walking out of the room in somewhat of a hurry with his National Geographic in his hand he said looking over his shoulder, "Your eyesight is still good!"