Damnation. I just realized that I missed that brief, glorious window of opportunity. Peach season is gone. What was I thinking? I go to the farm market every week, sometimes twice a week. Peaches were perfect this year. I ate as many as I could, juice running down my arms made it even more perfect. But I totally forgot to make my Mountain Peach Pie recipe and now it's too late. I'll make you rueful too, dear reader. Here's a piece from my book in progress, including the recipe.
A prayer for self-acceptance . . .
The Family Fat
Once I thought I had a formula for writing a best-selling self-help book. All I needed to do was come up with a compelling title, the content really wasn’t that important. So I decided on “Men, Mothers, and the Fat Conspiracy: An Investigation into How Our Men and Our Mothers Conspire to Keep Women Fat.” All we need is someone to blame it on. Alas, no best seller—I never got around to writing the book. I didn’t feel like doing the research.
I blame it on my family. Weight issues run through my family like fat in salami. My mother has been on every diet that ever hit the magazine racks—cabbage soup, Scarsdale, Atkins, the diet where you eat anything before three in the afternoon, the list is endless. Many, many years ago, she went to a place above the Langley movie theater called Slenderama. At Slenderama, they strapped her onto a gyrating table that was supposed to make her lose weight. It was a perfect solution for her because she didn’t like to sweat and the Slenderama machines didn’t mess up her hair. But it didn’t work either. She loved Metrecal, those artificial sweet meal replacement shakes, so much that she drank several, followed by a tuna sandwich and potato chips. But now in her later years, she is still determined to lose weight because she says she wants to look good in her coffin. Is she a drama queen, or what?
Aunt Mary, my mother’s only sister, has probably had even more weight-loss angst than my mother. She once rode a Greyhound bus to North Carolina to spend a month at something called “the rice clinic” at Duke University. After a couple of weeks of eating only rice, she was allowed a baked potato. When another patient stole her baked potato, she nearly killed the man. Then she took the bus home. She also had her jaws wired shut but used her emergency clippers to undo the wires when someone brought fried chicken to the beauty shop where she worked. And she created a commotion at a Weight Watchers meeting when at her weigh-in she found she had gained weight. She threw down her purse and shouted, “I’m not paying you people good money to gain weight.”
My own sister doesn’t want to get caught up in the weight loss frenzy of the other women in our family. She thinks it would be a mistake to lose weight because she needs all the friends she can get, and that women don’t like other women who are thin. This is almost the best rationalization of all, second only to eating doughnuts for the sake of world peace.
Didn’t I tell you weight issues run in my family?
I am resisting the compulsion to ignore my own personal weight issue. It’s a strain to even move my fingers across the keys to write about it, to admit that I’ve let my own weight slowly swell. It’s a familiar place. Here I am again, kicking and screaming, realizing that I can’t ignore it. I’m not fat, fat, like obese, but I’m not thin either. I have a naturally slim body, smallish frame, little wrists and shoulders, no bosom. However, although I have ribs showing on the top half, I have a roll of fat below my waistline, something akin to a weasel draped across my gut. I’m classically bottom heavy. How can the skinny zone be so close the fat zone? It’s not pretty. Truth? I hate to admit it but I wear a size 8 top and a 12 bottom. On a good day.
The nicest compliment my former husband ever paid me was when, after I had a couple a babies, he told me that he really used to like my flat stomach. Note that he never said a word to me about liking my flat stomach when it was still flat.
A few years ago, while I was still married, I was at the wedding day weight. Not my wedding day weight, but my husband’s wedding day weight. (Strangely, I remember what he weighed on our wedding day, but can’t remember what I weighed. What does that tell you?) So I went to Weight Watchers for the first time. I don’t remember exactly what I did, but it worked and I lost more than 20 pounds and stopped going to Weight Watchers, thinking I had control and was finished with the diet thing. Wrong, of course. Over time I gained it back.
When the divorce hit, I exercised a lot, was horribly stressed, and lost weight again. Then the stress level abated, I got lazy, started cooking again, and gained it back. So a couple of years ago I returned to Weight Watchers, totally committed to the program, and got below my goal weight. It felt great. I was wearing size 8 jeans. People actually noticed that I had lost weight. I got applause at Weight Watchers meetings. I got little keychain prizes and was declared a lifetime member. I felt like a celebrity. I donated all my fat clothes to charity and vowed that I would remember how great it felt and would never slip back. I do remember how great it felt, but still I slipped. So now I have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit and I no longer remember how I did it before and can’t seem to get motivated enough to do it again. I think I’ve got ADD. I can’t stay focused, can’t seem to stick to anything for long. In the morning I vow I’m going to stick to Weight Watchers and get some exercise, but by noon I’m eating bonbons while doing a crossword puzzle, nothing accomplished.
Yesterday I got back on the diet wagon. I wasn’t bad for breakfast or lunch. I did nearly an hour on the treadmill and added some yoga stretches. Then I made a diet frozen dinner, added some extra cheese, and washed it down with a beer. Come on, it’s not that bad, is it? I didn’t have any protein, not enough vegetables, too much fat. But have some perspective—it’s not as bad as my former neighbor who ate an entire package of raw pie crust dough. And I didn’t have any doughnuts or potato chips all day.
At eight o’clock this morning I declared once again that I was not going to give up, despite my erratic behavior yesterday. I am going to get the weight again if it kills me. It may kill me. It’s simple, I told myself, just stay focused. By mid-morning, within five minutes of my decision to stay focused, I went downstairs, made a cup of tea, ate the last two pieces of Halloween chocolate, ate a handful of tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream, and called Jeannie. Now that’s done and here I sit again, thinking of what else I can eat. I am focusing, I swear.
I clipped this recipe from an old community newspaper in about 1923. Well, maybe a little later than that, but not much. The clipping is yellowed and stained, but the recipe is still fabulously simple. It’s really much more of a cobbler than a pie, but it was called a pie so in my little world it will always be so. Although it makes six generous servings, I could eat the whole thing myself. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for the weight issues, eh?
Mountain Peach Pie
4 cups fresh peaches, peeled and cut up
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Set oven at 375 degrees and melt the butter in an ovenproof 9 x 12 inch pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl lightly whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk.
Pour batter into pan.
Spread cut peaches in pan on top of batter.
Bake 30 – 35 minutes.
Serve warm (with ice cream if you like).
Serves 6 (or 1 person with no self control).