If you’re anything like me, when it comes to eating certain foods, you negotiate and bargain with yourself. When I find myself in such a situation, it is quite a sight because you would swear that I have gone mad. I pace, I stop and stare at nothing in particular while the wheels of my mind roll, bounce and tumble; and yes, I talk to myself – in whispers and aloud. Let me take you through my most recent episode.
For the past week I have been jiving for fried chicken. And one of the best things about eating fried chicken, at least for me, is to have it with French fries! However, given that in the previous two weeks when my sister and nephew were visiting, I had more than my fair share of French fries. The guilt of having fried chicken plus fries gave me heartache. I could feel my coronary arteries clogging up. “But I really want some fried chicken,” I whined at myself. And so the negotiating began.
I haven’t had fried chicken in a long time.
Yes, while you have not had fried chicken in a while, you have had quite a bit of French fries recently. And what about the three sets of fried fish you’ve had in the last two weeks – the succulent red snapper from Oistins (famous fish fry place in Barbados) and the bangamary (very popular fish from Guyana) that was cooked at home?
Okay, they were fried but was fish!
I exercise regularly
Very true and I am so proud of you. Getting up at 5 in the morning to go walking!
I have been drinking a lot of water
True but with Pat and Matthew visiting, you have used the opportunity to overindulge in sodas.
Yes, well, I do find a red Ju-C irresistible and an ice-cold Coca Cola hits the spot on a hot day.
I eat mostly vegetables during the week
No argument there.
Ok, let’s say you eat the fried chicken. Are you making it at home or buying it?
I’ll make it at home. And, and… I’ll even remove the skin
How much chicken are you planning on frying?
Well, if I am going to all that trouble, I can’t possibly have one piece of fried chicken now, can I? Besides, I have to cook for two days.
No way! You are not eating fried chicken two days in a row. I suggest frying four pieces of chicken. You can have two pieces for lunch and if you like, the other two pieces for dinner. And consider two pieces being the breast!
Deal on the four pieces but about two pieces being the breast? Come on now, you know better than that. It’s gonna be drum sticks and thighs.
You cannot have the chicken with French fries
Don’t worry, I have an alternative; it can be shallow fried and it would not be as greasy and take as much time as proper French fries do.
What’s the alternative?
Fried green plantains
And? Remember that your meals should always be balanced. Having any veggies?
Hey! I never said I was setting out to make the world’s healthiest meal. Besides, who wants to eat veggies with chicken and chips?
I ended up steaming from fresh sweet corn and okras to go along with my skinless fried chicken and plantain fries. And for good measure I also ate a whole tomato with each meal. Isn’t it crazy how we bargain and justify when we want to eat certain foods? Oh, and the promises we make. I’ve gathered some of them here from friends: I’ll walk an extra mile. I’ll jog an extra mile. I’ll stay 20 minutes longer on the treadmill. I want to have dessert with dinner tonight so I am going to skip lunch. I’m not ordering an appetizer because I want dessert. I’m not eating breakfast or lunch because I want to have an appetizer, entrée and dessert at dinner! I promise to only eat French fries every other month. I’ll have this slice of cheesecake for breakfast and then just have a green salad for lunch and dinner. I am going on a strict diet so that I can eat what I like while on vacation. Sounds familiar? At one time or another we all negotiate and bargain when it comes to eating. What I find pleasurable and outright hilarious is the lengths we go to in justifying our choices and decisions. The arguments and counter-arguments – the recollection and illustration of facts and details. Makes me wonder sometimes if we all didn’t miss our callings to be lawyers. Hey! That would be a great TV programme – Food Court!