The dangers of grazing
By: By Lisa Smartt
Grazing is a perfectly acceptable activity … if you’re a cow living in a field. For those of us who claim humanity, we might want to steer clear of this dangerous, though common, practice. I wish I didn’t have a personal story to illustrate my point regarding grazing. But, alas, I do. And here it is, complete with all the embarrassing details.
On a lovely winter’s day, my husband and I enjoyed a delightful Mexican lunch. The boys were in school and it was such a pleasure to eat with each other. We talked politics and current events and didn’t tell anyone to wipe their mouths or mind their manners. Exercising incredible will power, we abstained from eating any of the free tortilla chips and salsa. Ponder that for a moment. Do you REALLY believe that we ate NONE of the tortilla chips and salsa? Of course you don’t. You’d be crazy to believe that. And yes, of course we ate tortilla chips and salsa. For those of you who manage to sit and look at the tortilla chips without tasting even one, congratulations. You are not a human.
When my husband returned home later that evening, we determined we were still much too full from our “date lunch” and much too committed to moderate eating to sit down and eat our usual cooked supper. SO, we made sandwiches, yogurt and fruit for the boys and decided to abstain from supper ourselves. After all, we’re not pigs, right? Oh, we’re definitely not pigs. No. Our evening behavior would best be illustrated by the patterns of a cow, not a pig.
At about 6:30, we began the All-American “grazing” ritual. First, it was an innocent slice of Cheddar and Colby cheese while standing in front of the refrigerator. At 7 it was a bowl of cereal. 7:30? A peanut butter and jelly fold over. (A fold over is made with just one slice of bread and does NOT count as a real sandwich.) By 8 it was time to pry the unsalted peanuts out of the pantry, along with a tangerine, half a box of Wheat Thins™ and two more slices of cheese. That’s when we decided to make a pot of Starbucks decaffeinated coffee. And everyone knows that coffee is always better when eaten with a cold biscuit or a blueberry breakfast bar … or both.
At 10, we realized that our noble desire to skip supper had back fired on us in a most destructive way. We had eaten twice as much as we eat in a normal supper. I’m no Dr. Phil but it didn’t take a psycho-therapist to figure this one out. Because we didn’t sit in front of our regular meal at 5:45, we never felt a sense of “completion.” We were cows in a field of waist-high sweet grass. We just kept wandering from one spot to another as the culinary opportunities seemed never ending. At 9:30, I believe we would have eaten a whole freezer-burned fruit cake if we had had the opportunity. Thankfully, a bag of frozen broccoli doesn’t have that kind of appeal. Alas, we were saved.
By bedtime we were both feeling a little “unsettled.” That’s a nice way of putting it. Thankfully, we learned our lesson and there were no long-term repercussions to our night of bad behavior. At least, I hope not. I’m feeling perfectly fine today … except for a strange craving for alfalfa. Oh no.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.08