Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Well, we just got over the traditional Thanksgiving feast, an’ if you’re like me, you stuffed every last bite your stomach could hold down your gullet, then jumped up an’ down to make room for dessert. I never could resist pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream! When I was younger, I used to work it off by heading for the garage to kick start the evil bitch of a Shovelhead I was ridin’ back then. After an hour of that, I was usually ready for another piece of pie.
Now it’s almost Christmas time, with chestnuts roasting on an open fire, an’ all that. The cookies, cakes, an’ other goodies have begun to roll in from family, friends, and neighbors, an’ they’re sure hard to resist. Reggie always tells me I need to go on a diet, but her idea of a diet an’ mine are different breeds of cat altogether. My diets usually consist of orderin’ a diet soda with my burger an’ fries. Any less calories is an improvement, right? Her idea of a diet involves green stuff. I think it’s called “salad.” Give me a salad an’ I’ll go shoot somethin’ with fur or feathers to go with it. My ol’ grandpappy used ta say, “Our ancestors didn’t crawl outta the primordial ooze an’ spend thousands of years climbin’ up the food chain for me ta graze with the cows.” The way I look at it, cows eat grass, an’ I eat cows, which makes me a vegetarian by proxy. Gramps also used to say, “If it’s green an’ it’s not supposed ta be, don’t eat it. If it’s not green, an’ it’s supposed ta be, don’t eat it.” My problem with salads is that I don’t know what’s supposed ta be green and what isn’t. Some of the stuff in there is red, orange, brown… It’s just too confusin’.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good breakfast. If anybody tries to tell ya that biscuits an’ gravy isn’t a meal, run ’em off. You don’t need that kinda negativity spoilin’ your appetite. A buddy of mine owns the BS Coffee Shop in Clovis, California, an’ when I’m out that way, I always stop in, because he makes the best gravy on the planet. Again, Reggie always gets down on me for my eatin’ habits, but like I told her, you need to have respect for those who make breakfast possible; after all, breakfast is all in a day’s work for a chicken, but it’s a lifetime commitment for the pig!
The wife of one of my neighbors is a vegan, an’ her and her husband are always in top physical condition. A while back, we were talkin’ at a neighborhood barbecue, where she’d chosen to sit right next to me while I poured Thousand Island dressing on my medium rare burger. She told me, “I can almost feel your arteries hardening!” I set my burger back on the plate, took a big swallow of my beer, an’ told her, “Then get your hand off my leg!” That seemed to baffle her for a minute, but baffled and deterred are two different things.
“Why don’t you come to dinner at our house tomorrow evening?” she said. “I’ll make us all a nice healthy dinner.” Several beers will usually put me in an agreeable mood, so I said, “Yeah, OK. I’ll give it a try.”
The next evening found me seated at their table looking down at a bowl full of unidentifiable multi-colored stuff that closely resembled the hat my grandma used to wear at Easter.
“Uh… What’s supposed to be green?” I asked, moving the leafy stuff around with a small fork. “An’ what’s this?” I asked, stabbing a slice of green gelatinous detritus.
“That’s a Kiwi!” she said. “It’s a fruit they grow in New Zealand.” I lifted it up and took a tentative bite. It tasted like a cross between a strawberry an’ a dirty sweat sock. I returned the unused portion to the bowl.
Smiling indulgently, she said, “The shriveled red things are dehydrated cranberries, and the leafy things are watercress. The dressing is balsamic vinegar.” The only thing I use vinegar for is takin’ the scum offa windows, but I did manage to get a few bites down. The cranberries were OK, so I picked out those an’ some raisin- looking things she called currants.
She excused herself and headed back into the kitchen, returning with a steaming pan. She removed the salad and dished up a big square chunk onto my plate.
After looking at the congealed mass from all angles, I politely held the plate up to my nose and took a sniff. It really smelled like… nothing. “What’s this?” I asked, since it was now my turn to be baffled.
“Tofu,” she said. “It’s bean curd mixed with coagulated soy milk. It’s quite healthy, I assure you. Try a bite!”
Reluctantly, I did, and it tasted about like it smelled. It actually made wet cardboard seem appetizing.
“Uh-oh,” I said, sliding my chair back and laying my napkin on the table. “I just remembered; I need to let the dog out, or she’ll get into the garbage, for sure!”
“Thanks for the healthy dinner,” I yelled, heading for the door.
I wonder if they’ll start speakin’ to me again someday?