Tag Archives: Pop tarts

You look great! …

… I recently told a friend who had lost weight.

“Not to be sizist about it, but you do, you look terrific.” She thanked me and talked about the time she had put in at the gym. And she did look great. But then, she looked great before she lost weight, too. And as you can tell from my smartass qualification, the exchange had me thinking — mid-exchange — about fat shaming and how to respect one person’s goal for her body while equally respecting other bodies of different shapes.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it since I stumbled on the a blog called Dances with Fat.  (Motto:  “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not size dependent.”)

It’s easy: just respect every body.  Everybody and every BODY.

This concept is at the core of the disability rights movement. That bodies of all shapes and functionalities — and the people inside them* — are equally deserving of respect. Hell, it’s at the core of the civil rights movement: that people, regardless of the color of their skin or shape of their privates, are equally deserving of respect.

But it seems like the last group of people it is respectable to out and out ridicule — besides lawyers — are fat people.  From Conan’s mocking of Kirstie Alley and a female Olympic weightlifter (who pwnd his sorry behind), to Jiminy Glick a/k/a Martin Short in a fat suit, we hear and apparently tolerate jokes about weight that we would never, in a million years, tolerate about, say, race or religion.**

And we’re supposed to “fight obesity.”  In one of many examples, the Denver Post reported in July

A 2011 state law requiring 30 minutes of physical activity a day for elementary students was supposed to mark a new tool in the fight against childhood obesity . . .

OK, that’s not a report, it’s a sentence fragment, but in that one fragment, you see the problem:  can we encourage physical exercise without “fighting obesity” — which is really asking us to fight against someone else’s body?  Why on earth is the shape of your body any of my business much less something I should fight against?

Health risks?  Everyone gets to take their own risks.  Health care costs?  If that’s the real worry — and not our judgmentalism —  then encourage healthy eating, not fat shaming.

Here I have to take issue with the First Lady — on whom I otherwise have a totally embarrassing girlcrush.  I’m very sorry she decided to label her cause “the epidemic of childhood obesity” rather than keeping the focus on kids eating a lot of stuff that’s really bad for them. You can be a healthy fat kid and you can also be a scrawny kid who eats only poptarts, peanut butter, and microwave pizzas. Though I doubt that either Lady Bird Johnson or Pat Nixon could have gotten me to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Moral:  Be happy with your body; don’t judge other people’s bodies; eat more fruits and vegetables!

For example, from a website about my favorite fruit, I <Heart> Coffee

Graphic featuring 3 red coffee beans that reads:  "Coffee is technically made out of FRUIT!  HECK YES!  That takes care of that food group."



*Assumes a duality that we could argue over — from a philosophical, religious, and/or identity perspective — for days, possibly millennia.

** Outside the fringes of the Republican party.



Photo dump from the Droid

Random cellphone photos that entertain me without actually being worthy of an entire blog post.

Let’s hear it for the First Amendment:


Do these people know about revisions to the rules of professional conduct permitting brand names for law firms?

2013-01-31_12-21-45_684 crop

We love The Belvedere where you can get pierogis and they have a beer named after an astronomer!


So you can feel like a true carnivore when you eat your hamburger:


Stay on the sofa or get off the sofa — it’s so hard to decide!


In the DU Law School café.  Kids today have it so easy!


A neighborhood bar offers a bit of advanced wine-pouring guidance:


And finally, as a passionate avocado fan, I am always sort of annoyed that the Safeway thinks I need subtitles to figure out which avocado is ripe.


“Cooking” with Amy

I’m a recovering picky eater.  From the time I started eating solid food until I was 16, I rarely strayed from the following list of foods:

Pop-Tarts (brown sugar cinnamon)
Orange juice
Peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches (white bread; crusts cut off)
Hard boiled eggs
White rice
Flank steak
Junk food

Note that this list does not contain any vegetables or fruits beyond orange juice.  This is not a typo.

During the summer after my junior year in high school, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in France, first living with a French family

La Famille Gardey: brother; fellow visiting American dweeb; mother.

and then biking around with a group of American students.

It’s possible that I don’t like camping because this early camping experience involved cows.

I went from picky eater to omnivore in the nanosecond after the mother in the French family put the first dinner in front of me and it became clear that not eating was not an option.  She also tried to convert me to Catholicism and to convince me that I showered too often.  I won the former; the latter was a draw — I was permitted approximately three hard-fought-for showers per week.

Still, I loved being an omnivore, and spent the rest of the trip enjoying my newly-expanded food vocabulary — especially in the bread, cheese, and pastry categories — which was causally connected to my newly-expanded waistline.  If memory serves, my mother had to meet me at the airport in New York with a larger pair of pants.

I was even more of an omnivore during my travel in Asia.  The food in Taiwan is spectacular — from banquets to road-side stands — and saying no to a dish is a major insult to the host[ess], so I ate almost anything.  Highlights:  turtle; sea slug; thousand-year-old egg.

I still eat almost everything — with the startling exception of fruit — but given that I never learned to cook, my day-to-day diet is just the grown-up version of my childhood menu. In other words, I don’t cook; I permutate.

The list:

Buitoni cheese tortelinni
Butter lettuce
Black olives
Grilled red peppers
Near East curry couscous
Annie’s Shiitake Sesame Salad Dressing
Fresh basil
Olive oil

These ingredients yield a number of permutations which constitute dinner most nights of the week. For example:

Pasta:  tortellini, olive oil or pesto

Pasta couscous:*  tortellini, coucous, olive oil.

Pasta salad:  lettuce, tortelinni, olives, peppers, coucous, dressing.

Steak salad:   lettuce, steak, olives, peppers, coucous, dressing.

Steak fajitas:  tortilla, steak, lettuce, olives, peppers, basil, dressing.

Steak sandwich:  bread, steak, lettuce, peppers, basil, mustard.

Chicken curry stir-fry:  chicken, curry sauce, peppers.

Chicken salad, fajitas, or sandwich:  you get the picture.

My mother is prone to quote her favorite cookbook that it’s easier to get new friends than to learn new dishes.  I’m at least blessed with friends who are comfortable with predictability  . . . and carry-out!


* Yes, I know couscous is technically a pasta.  I’m a big fan of carb combos like this.  For example, one of my favorite foods in the world is shao-biing you-tyau, a/k/a shao-bing yu-tiao** a Chinese breakfast that consists of a strip of deep-fried dough inside a baked sesame roll.

** I first learned Chinese at the Middlebury language school in the summer of 1979, when for whatever reason they used a romanization system called Gwoyeu Romatzyh.  GR has two notable features:  it makes more sense than any other romanization system; and it doesn’t appear to have been taught anywhere else in the US besides Middlebury in the late 70s.  I have tried to learn Pinyin, the system that both Chinese school children and American students of Chinese have been using since about 1979, but it just blends with GR in my head into an idiosyncratic romanization that makes sense to absolutely no one but me.