Cooking With Myra: Carrot soup can be eaten hot or cold
By Myra Starkey
Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.
Several weeks ago, I was talking to one of my son's friends, and he made the comment that "sometimes moms let themselves go."
I thought, "What does that even mean?" This was coming from a kid who is fairly diet-conscious and spends a lot of time in a gym. I wondered silently if he was talking about me or all moms, but I did not dare inquire for fear of the answer.
I was the only mom present at that moment, and we had not been talking about the normal effects of aging or any related topics beforehand.
Later, I asked Spencer, my 22-year-old son, who is also fitness-oriented, and he said it means they give up and let it go.
"What is 'it'?" I asked, and he said, "You know - their bodies." I hate that I knew what he was talking about.
I have a lot of friends who exercise regularly, eat healthy all the time and look fabulous Well, I'm not saying they look like they are 21 when they are 51.
But I have even more friends my age and older who have accepted their middle aged-ness with both jiggly arms, embracing their gray hair, flabby thighs and extra thickness around the middle.
They have turned into grandmothers who would rather visit with grandchildren than visit the gym. They look forward to meals with friends and would not even think of missing out on something fried, creamy or both. When dessert is offered, there is never an "I'll pass" but an excitement for a chance to eat something delicious.
My friends don't tend to calculate the calorie content and then say they can't possibly eat that because they would have to do the stair stepper for one hour and 23 minutes.
Lest you think I am talking about overeating to a point of obesity, I am not. I am only remarking that at some point in a woman's life, she thinks that life is too short to miss a great meal. I struggle every day with calories.
I find myself in a love/hate relationship with butter, cream and sugar. Most of the foods I love contain one of the above, and the words, "one teaspoon of cream" never appears in any recipe I try.
The dishes I surround myself with are comforting, fresh, interesting and generally delicious. I do not waste calories on junk but spend the calorie currency carefully, and still, I struggle with weight gain.
Taylor, being the brilliant and tactful doctor-husband and being fearful to upset the bride of his youth, simply explains that in middle age, weight tends to settle in the middle. (Maybe that is why they call it middle age.)
He does not count my calories, and although he certainly doesn't condone a Heath Bar Blizzard, he does indulge me occasionally with a Sonic cherry limeade slush.
I refuse to believe I am letting anything go. I am simply choosing what to swallow and whether to sweat on any particular day. I have a friend, Cindy, who exercises regularly and is also a personal trainer. If I could look like her, then I might try harder, but I have never had abdominal muscles you could balance a cup on.
It is highly unlikely I could get abs unless I quit my job, live at the gym and gave up all the things I love. None of this is going to happen.
I start most weeks thinking that it would be great to put on my exercise clothes and go to the gym, and by week's end, I make a mental note to think about starting the following week. Last week, I rode my bike for a mile, and it felt good to be outside gasping for air and sweating.
I finished my morning sipping on a Fresca, thinking I just may get into this habit again. Perhaps exercise is a habit, and I simply lack discipline, so I sit here sipping a sweet tea, taking small bites of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and thinking how great it is to be middle-aged.
My closet is full of pants in various sizes from different periods in my life. I have at least three dresses that I have not worn in three years, but by golly, "one day I will."
And yet, I wonder why it matters. Some of my friends spend their time perusing home decor magazines, but I fill my reading with food magazines, looking at pictures and recipes. Perhaps this is why my struggle continues - my life is too delicious.
Despite my diligence in eating healthy, I concocted a delicious carrot soup that can be eaten hot or cold. And carrots are really healthy. (Well, maybe, except for the butter and cream part of the soup.)
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.