This is exactly how I have failed at dieting (pretty much forever); Step one: declare I am “on a diet”. The end. That is usually all it takes for me to determine that all I really need is meat. Or carbs. Or processed junk food. Because it is (and has literally been at Atkins times in my life) Forbidden Fruit. I am not on a diet right now. I am “trying new recipes”.
Recipes conjure a feeling of home for me. A recipe is nothing more than a detailed list to follow in order to guarantee success. My grandmother handwrote them on index cards so she wouldn’t have to remember them and could turn out the exact same dish every time. My mother in law wrote me several that included some of my husband’s favorite dishes so that we would have ideas when we got stuck on the dreaded “what’s for dinner debate”. I have an entire folder of friends’ recommendations and tips written on the fly on the back of receipts, or cocktail napkins and cut outs from magazines and newspapers. I feel a connection to who I was (or who I wanted to be) at the time I tore them out and saved them for my later self. I want to tap into that potential.
Tonight, (not so very long after my failed General Tso) I hit it out of the park with a Chicken Lo Mein recipe. It was easy to alter – (no cabbage, celery, onions for Big Sister, no chicken or noodles for me), easy to shop for and prep (I should tell you that my husband chopped all the veggies), relatively inexpensive and within my goal range for nutrients. It was a win that didn’t feel like a substitution. We should make that again, we all agreed. “We should print out the recipe and keep it along with some of the other recipes we’ve been making”, my husband added. Genius.
Somewhere along the “I must only eat” and “I must never eat”, the fun fell away. This was a chance to get it back. Whereas a diet seemed like a life sentence, trying out new dishes felt like a new endeavor. I can do new endeavor.
I have no formal plan for dinner tomorrow night and the recommendation from the small and mighties collectively netted “French bread pizzas, Tacos (always, always, always, there will forever be at least one person here wanting tacos) and Pizza Quesadillas (this is commonly known as a calzone and also a bit of a mash up of the first two suggestions, if I might add)”. Me thinks these will not be dishes that I am trying at the current juncture of my life, but who knows? There might just be a “new recipe” that allows them to make an appearance.