I’m a big girl… You name it, I’ve heard it. Big, thick, chubby, chunky, solid… Fat, overweight, plus size, and some very nasty names that I don’t think need sharing. I don’t diet- with my health I have enough to deal with without bothering with calorie counting or measuring portions. I eat what I want, when I want because there are often days I don’t feel like eating at all. Sometimes I gain a pound or two, sometimes I lose five. I don’t try, I don’t change anything, and I stay where I am. And somewhere along the way I became comfortable in my own skin. I don’t strive to be thin- once upon a time I was actually too thin. But I am who I am now, and most of the time I think that’s just fine.
I have a love/hate relationship with holidays. We’re not rich- oh, far from that. We’re so broke most of the time that it’s pitiful, and I often wish for ‘more.’ Not a wish for more money, not exactly. I wish to be able to do ‘more’ for my family. But when you see your child’s smile on Christmas morning, well, it makes the holidays worth it in my mind.
And of course the holidays mean food. I got to thinking about that around Halloween. My grandmother often started planning Thanksgiving around the beginning of October, and apparently somewhere along the way I decided I had to pick up that particular torch.
Which got me thinking about the holiday season… and seasons in particular. Gee, maybe I’m fat because I think in terms of food! Let’s start with spring…
Spring makes me think of budding blooms- the season’s first flowers showing their bright, fun colors. I think of temperatures going from frigid to cool and then finally to nearly warm. I think of April showers and May flowers, and walks in the rain.
But it also makes me think of salads- I love a fresh salad on a nice, warm day. Spring salads usually have bean sprouts, tuna, mandarin oranges…. bright, fun colors to dress up the tender greens. Maybe a vinaigrette instead of a heavier dressing to top it off, and tortilla crisps instead of croutons.
Summer… ah, as a parent my first thought will always be of filling those days until school resumes. Beaches, sunshine, tourists causing crazy traffic here on the Delaware shore. I think of swimming pools and running through the sprinklers. Capri pants, shorts, tank tops and the dreaded swimsuit season. It means flip flops and bare toes, and the heat of that summer sand soaking into the soles of your feet.
But summer also means ice cream on a hot day, cool on the tongue. Ice pops, Popsicles, water ice and slushees. It means fresh fruit… berries, watermelon for the hubby and kids, cantaloupe for me, and fruit salads. I often eat my lightest in the summer, maybe having just that bowl of fruit salad because it’s too hot for ‘real food.’ And when you want a solid meal, summer means cook outs with your closest friends, hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and the smell of charcoal. It means smores at a bonfire, and drinking sweet mixed drinks or a fruity wine with those friends after the kids go to sleep.
Ah, autumn… I love autumn best of all. I look forward to the changing of the leaves, watching as they shed their summer green for the gold, red and orange colors of fall. The sound of leaves as you walk the dog, kids shuffling their feet through them or jumping in freshly raked piles. It means that dreaded heat of summer is falling behind you, and the kids, bless them, have finally gone back to school. It means daylight savings, and ‘gaining’ that hour that means an earlier bedtime and darker skies. That first bite of crisp air and wearing sweatshirts over your tee shirts.
But it means planning a Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing (in my case, made from my grandmother’s recipe and just making the whole holiday a wonderful remembrance of a woman who loved the holidays), sweet potato fluff… It means mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pies. It means pies of all types, really- pumpkin, sweet potato, cherry, apple, pecan, shoo fly… It’s the comfort of warm through the beginning of cold. It means trading salad for soup, something to warm your belly when you feel chilled.
Winter is the first snow (although here in Delaware we might get a quarter inch for the whole season, or two feet during a ‘bad year’). Winter is cold nights, hot showers or baths and cursing the temperature change when you get out to dry off. Winter is snuggling close with a loved one and sharing body heat. Winter is comforters, blankets, heating pads, and water bottles. It’s slippers or socks instead of bare feet, and boots or sneakers instead of sandals. It’s bundling up on the couch to watch movies, trimming the tree (if you didn’t do so on Black Friday as we do), and preparing for Santa Claus.
Ah, but winter is all things warm, too. It’s chili in the crock pot and fresh-baked cookies singeing your fingers as you eat them before they cool. It’s chicken noodle soup and tuna noodle casseroles so you have something warm in your belly. It’s hot chocolate and milk moustaches, and marshmallows in the bottom of your mug. It’s more filling food- steaks, burgers, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice… It’s that Christmas dinner after all the presents are opened. Ham, turkey, homemade mashed potatoes, and still more gravy. It means more green bean casseroles, and more pies. It’s a plate of cookies and a glass of milk left for Santa (and maybe even some carrots for the reindeer if you remember). Winter is pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, with mashed potatoes and applesauce on the side.
So yeah, I guess those terms apply. I’m thick, I’m heavy, solid, chunky, chubby…. The terms don’t matter, but I guess they all make sense since I think in terms of food and the seasons. But hey, at least my belly is full! And my kitchen… ah, no matter the season, no matter the foodiday, er, holiday, my kitchen smells like a little slice of Heaven.