Crow’s-Feet Chronicles: Gravy should be a beverage
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Sep 18, 2017
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Everything my mother bought was stamped “one hundred percent sugar,” “made with pure cream,” and “real butter.” Gravy poured from our tap in the kitchen. Today, I’m going half nuts reading the contents of everything I eat…in metric no less. (I thought a gram was a cracker.) 

All of my pleasures are gone. I have nothing left to live for. My birthday cakes were clogging my arteries, so I now have a curd loaf drizzled with a topping of what germ.  

Picnics used to be a mayonnaise and beef orgy. Now we have turkey patties and potato salad moistened with the drops of water from lettuce leaves. The food industry has made so many substitutions in foods that I don’t know what I’m eating anymore. 

Lanny bought a margarine that won’t melt in a skillet. It’s true. I deposited a glob of it and the next thing I knew it had disappeared into the stove vent. This is not natural. 

The fat and fiber Nazis appear out of the woodwork. They point out that if I were on a diet plan of fifteen hundred calories a day, I’ve already eaten my limit through August 2025. 

They do it through intimidation. I go to a restaurant and order cream of mushroom soup for an appetizer when I feel three pairs of eyes on me. “What was I thinking?” I laugh. “Make that low-sodium bouillon.” 

When it comes to selecting the salad, I order a Caesar, but to please my table companions I order dressing on the side. (When they’re not looking, I down it like it’s in a shot glass.) 

I want to eat fettucine Alfredo, but I know that if I order it they would throw a telethon for me. When the dessert cart comes to a stop at our table, my friends look at it as though they’re viewing a friend in a mortuary. If we continue with this madness, we might just as well dine on our handbags. 

The lone voice of sanity in all this is a premier chef Julia Child, who was quoted as saying in an interview, “Nutritional police will kill gastronomy. Forget the cheap white wine; go to the beef and gin!”

The other evening I was at a movie when I leaned over and said to Lanny, “I’m going to the rest room.” I eased out of my seat in the darkness and headed for the snack bar, where I got a Jacuzzi-sized box of buttered popcorn. I slipped outside where I saw the embers of a group of smokers who huddled together like parolees. 

“Having a cigarette?” asked the voice of someone I couldn’t see in the darkness. 

“No,” I said, “I’m eating buttered popcorn.” 

“Don’t you know that’ll kill you?” said a smoker. 

“That’s disgusting,” said a female voice. 

They all moved away from me.