When you’re stuck in your house for weeks on end, there’s an undeniable temptation to eat more. It creeps up on you at first, but soon the cravings hit you like a high school girlfriend who caught you looking at a cheerleader.
Most of us justify this extra eating by saying, “I’m using my newfound time to learn to cook!”
I knew that I had a problem about five weeks in. That’s when I got on our talking bathroom scale and the lady said, “Hey, one of you needs to get off.”
When the quarantine thing began, I arrived at the store too late. All of the essentials were wiped out. Toilet paper, frozen pizzas, canned beer and breaded chicken strips? All gone.
All that was left were healthy items such as vegetables and fruit. My faith in my fellow man was already on shaky ground, so to have the beer and chicken strips decimated from the shelves left me with a hollow feeling inside.
If I wanted pizza, breaded chicken strips or other necessities, the only remaining option was for me to buy the things I needed to cook them from scratch. So, that’s what I did.
I loaded the buggy with flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, seasonings and other ingredients I found in the Southern Living cookbook.
But, just to be on the safe side, I hit the Dairy Queen drive-thru on the way home. I was fairly certain that I could make what I needed and wanted, but I couldn’t find a Dairy Queen ice cream sandwich recipe anywhere. I also didn’t see a recipe for a Hungr-Buster Triple Cheeseburger, a steak finger basket or a Dude.
I moved all of the flour, sugar and other items I’d picked up at the grocery store from the front seat to the back seat so that I could keep the steak fingers and fries within arms reach — just in case I needed to grab hold of them during a sudden stop, turn or craving.
Before I arrived home, the cheeseburger, steak finger basket, Dude and fries had all been lost to a craving that ran a stop sign. But, it worked out. I didn’t have to carry as much from the car to the house.
As I emptied the grocery sacks and was about to put away the flour, sugar and other items I intended to use to learn to cook, my wife asked me why I smelled like a Dairy Queen.
Thinking quickly, I emptied the sacks that had the remaining ice cream sandwiches onto the kitchen counter and told her that I had, in an instantaneous, unselfish move on my part, stopped by and picked her up some frozen treats.
“Six boxes of ice cream sandwiches?” she asked. “You bought ME six boxes of ice cream sandwiches?”
“Of course I did, honey,” I answered. “Hey, it was either that or some healthy vegetables and fruits from the grocery store. That was all that was left.”
“Then you can find a place to put them in the freezer,” she said.
I assured her that I could handle that.
While she put away the flour, sugar and other items I would be using to cook from scratch, I threw out the frozen vegetables and fruit she had in the freezer to make room for the ice cream sandwiches.
Everything was working out nicely.
I even began watching cooking shows to learn how to get back to the basics. As I munched on ice cream sandwiches, I watched Emeril, Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay demonstrate how to cook from scratch.
Unfortunately, in addition to flour, sugar, baking powder and the other items I’d bought, their recipes also called for healthy vegetables and fruits — which I’d thrown out to make room for my wife’s ice cream sandwiches.
It seems that all of the forces in the universe are against me. So, for now, I’ve given up on the idea of cooking from scratch. The only thing that is in my favor is the drive-thru.
But I’m not giving up. One day, I’m going to get all of these ingredients back out and learn to cook from scratch.
Since I’ve made this decision, things have become quite peaceful at home. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that when I tossed out the frozen vegetables and fruit, I may have accidentally included our talking bathroom scale.
John’s book “Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now” and his new book, “Write of Passage Volume II,” are available on Amazon and on John’s website at www.TheCountryWriter.com.