-Tangina from Poltergeist
It started with a documentary.
It ended with empty cupboards and a couple of starving dandies.
In the bitter cold of January, huddled in our warm library, bundled in Pendleton Blankets and turn-of-the-20th-century quilts, Jon and I decided that our Roku would be best used for a documentary marathon.
It started out simple...a documentary on Hearst Castle. Big, opulent, full of decadent celebrity parties...just like Chestnut House. This was good.
Hulu recommended: “If you liked “The Real Citizen Kane” try these other documentary selections.-”
Next one up: “King Corn - A story of Two Guys Who Grow an Acre of Corn.”
I like Corn (not Korn.)
I like gardening.
I had just staged “Children of the Damned Corn...”, this was going to be GREAT!
An hour and a half later I sat, silent, in utter shock. “Two Guys Who Grow an Acre of Corn”, my ass! It was a riveting, spinning, spellbinding story of the deconstruction of an American staple - an expose on the evils of High Fructose Corn Syrup. “H.F.C.S” = the villian, and all Americans its’ unwitting victims.
I went to bed with a feverish fear, that kind of fear where you know that clown doll was just on the shelf but realize it’s now under the bed, or that your manse is built on a ancient burial ground.
Yes, that fearful.
The next day I started investigating our kitchen, and, in turn, our lives.
Dog food, salad dressings, ketchup, our beloved Boo Berry Cereal, pasta, canned tuna, lunch meats, seasonings, Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce (brought in by the case from Waco, Texas), beer, pop, old Easter candy (yes, we still had some in our cabinet), all full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. This was bad. (Where was that small, creepy woman who could perform a “fructose-exorcism” on our home when we needed her?)
I threw everything away. As I looked into our bare larder, I was relieved.
“ This house is clean!”
Jon was the first casualty of my purge.
“ What’s for dinner?”, he asked.
I replied: “A par-blanched stalk of broccoli with soy-cheese curd butter with steamed kale tubelets. Oh, and water.”
“That doesn’t sound like any Hot Pocket flavor I’ve had.”
He started missing dinner (or trying to pass it off to a Schnoodle that I was already forcing to eat an Ellen Degeneres vegan green bean dog food.)
“Aren’t we feeling healthier?!?”
Jon started coming home later and later, with tell-tale ketchup stains on his collar and the smell of McDonalds on his breath.
I was sneaking down to my sister and cousin’s house for secretive hits of Dr. Pepper.
Dorian started eating grass.
I had to figure this out. My home was crumbling, and not just the plaster ceiling in the dining room.
I started researching - vintage cookbooks, Victorian menus, Jon’s family recipes...the answer was there! Real. Real ingredients, real comfort - in moderation.
I rediscovered butter, organic local vegetables, artisan cheeses, farm-fresh eggs, local meats, Trader Joe’s. I started using real sugar, bacon grease to flavor and all in moderation.
Now our cupboards are full again, Jon has stopped his nightly wanderings to Sonic, Dorian eats his new food with gusto, and I’ve stopped making obscure Poltergeist references.
In the evenings, when we sit down to meals together in the library, we have a content Schnoodle at our feet, and a documentary on...one about the Vanderbilt Castles.