Is There Life After Retirement?

“Health Food” at Our House

Posted on: March 25, 2009

I love food. I mean, really. Other than black licorice and strongly recognizable body parts like feet and faces, I pretty much love all food.

In a given week, my diet can range from tofu and fish to baby backs and steak.   I seriously love good ribs and they will probably be my downfall someday. But I also love how Down to Earth does this weird Mock Chicken thing. It isn’t anything even remotely resembling chicken, in appearance or flavor, but damn, it’s good.

So when I discovered the local Health Food store on the other side of the parking lot of my new apt last week, I decided to check it out.

First of all, it has that third generation hippy street cred thing going on. What was my first clue? The “Beware – your cell phone may be giving you cancer!” poster on the front door. Surreptitiously repositioning the verizonwireless in my pocket, I went in.

Okay, lemme interrupt myself for a minute. WHAT is it that those places, particularly the ones that serve prepared food, smell like? Is it a combination of spices, or is it one particular thing? “Back in the day” they smelled like patchouli oil in the front and curry in the back. Love curry, hate patchouli (which always struck me as a weird variation on spice gumdrops, which , ironically, I DO like) but the combination really sucked. Anyway, back to the post–

I passed the Frozen Yogurt station and made my way to the Hot Food Buffet.

Okay, another digression:
Whoever invented the charge-by-weight buffet bar is a marketing genius. I think $6.99 per pound sounds like a very reasonable price.  But damn…healthy food is VERY HEAVY. Being consciously frugal, I  walked to the register and…$11.03???!! Shit. Making a mental note to step away from the steamed asparagus and move towards the raw spinach salad the next time, I bought a fructose sweetened frozen yogurt topped with diced fresh papaya and started back across the parking lot with my bounty – already feeling pounds lighter! No, wait – that’s my wallet. Anyway–

I got back to the apartment, grabbed a real fork and settled in to eat. My son came over to investigate and pointed to a clump of something on my plate.

“What’s that?”

“My lunch.”

“I know. But I mean, what is it?”

“Uh, it’s uh, I think it has some, uh, that looks like it might be…” I pause before admitting defeat.

“I have no idea.”

Then – like a 2008 version of the Life Cereal Mikey commercial, we both lean towards the plate as I take my first tentative bite. There’s some kind of nut in it, and I think I recognize rice but that could be something else. Ah, cheese! It has a hint of parmesean cheese! I go for the second bite.

“This is good!”

The kid looked at my plate, considering the un-considerable.

“So,” I tempt him, “wanna tryyyyyyy some?”

This child, this fruit of my loin, who has bungee jumped, driven the Hana Highway like a champ, has even dived off Black Rock for heaven’s sake, glanced up with a look of total fear and said simply, “I’m afraid.”

So I continued eating. And I’ll tell ya…I have no idea what it was, but “it” tasted really, really good. I wolfed it.

About 1/2 of the way through he yelled, “Wait! I wanna taste it.”

“You sure?”

Holding a fresh fork like a lance, he takes a deep breath. “Yep, I’m going in.”

And then…

The little &^%$#@ ate the rest of my lunch.


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    • Joyce Burke: This was great too read
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    • miracarroll: Marti, surely the people in your life are wise enough to know (especially after you say it) that you're a writer and in fiction, everything is fair ga
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