Several years ago, when my boys were in the 10-14 age range, I fought a long battle with them over “retarded”. Everything and everyone was, apparently, retarded. My Human Resource Director hat got on my head, and they had to hear about how hurtful it was to say those things, and what if you had a little brother or sister that was challenged and you heard someone saying that…yada yada yada. Finally they quit with the retarded.
At 12-16, everything and everyone in their lives was gay. And I don’t mean happy.
“Shut up—you’re gay!”
“That’s soooooo gay….”
“Man, you’re such a fag……..”
So, months of redirection and constant reminders ensued. That it was hurtful, that there really are people who are gay, and that they are lovely people with actual feelings and that by using their nature as an insult, you are being hurtful. So they finally stopped with the gay fag business.
Now, with my youngest at 16, everything and everyone among his peer group is fat.
And I don’t mean P-H-A-T.
“Johnny, shut up…you’re fat.”
“Man, you’re so stupid, you’re fat…”
“Max–go take a shower–you stink” “Are you calling me fat, Mom?”
Apparently, being fat means anything from “you stink” to “you are clumsy”…..It seems to mean everything EXCEPT for overweight.
So I tried telling them—“guys—that hurts MY feelings”
“Ms Friesenhahn—you’re NOT fat. You’re a mom. You’re perfect the way you are”
Okay—gotta admit they earned some brownie points there.
So anyway, a few weeks ago I overheard a conversation between my sister and my son. She was telling him—over a discussion about his diet of chicken nuggets and pizza–that he although he isn’t fat now, he doesn’t want to get fat, because, among other reasons, “people treat you differently when you’re fat”.
My blood began to boil. Not because of what she was saying to him, but because of the truth in the words. Society has lost its collective sense of humanity.
I have struggled with my weight my whole life, like many people. I remember in a college speech class, my professor saying that “an overweight person has to be 12 times as good, 12 times as convincing, to be perceived as equal to a thin person”, in the context of debate. TWELVE TIMES!!!
That really stuck with me. Since I hadn’t historically been able to get thin, I did the only thing I could do….I developed a fierce command of the English language, and a quick wit. Debate me on something.
Go ahead—-make my day.
I have always judged people based on the content of their characters, and their contributions to society, so the thought that someone would marginalize me without knowing me was hard to swallow. I do have to say, that with very few and rare exceptions, I have never felt judged due to my weight. There are no “stand-out” moments for me when I felt like someone didn’t like me because I was fat, or was snickering behind my back, etc…I mean I am sure that it was happening, but I never noticed it. Sometimes it’s good to be sort of a blonde that way.
And as for my own body image…It was always good. I never looked in the mirror and thought “oh my God—you’re such a fat ass…” The only time I felt fat was when I saw pictures of myself. I wondered “what the hell kind of camera is that that could add 75 pounds to someone like that?” Seriously. Or when the airplane seats began to shrink around my butt, I knew I MUST be fat, even though I didn’t feel fat. And my health, despite a sometimes slightly elevated blood pressure, was good, so there were no big health crisis moments to tell me I was fat. Ultimately, even though I looked in the mirror and thought I looked good, I knew that the seatbelts and the Polaroids and the tags on the back of my britches didn’t lie, so I needed to do something about it. And ultimately, even though my husband has always said I was beautiful and he loved me just the way I was, I decided to do whatever it took to lose weight to honor him. Because he’s a good man, and deserves a hottie wife.
And now that I am half way to my goal, and down 65 pounds, and no longer shopping in the fluffy girl department, people DO treat me differently. Sales women are more attentive and friendly. Way more men hold the door open for me now, and say “hi”.
And it really, REALLY pisses me off. A lot. I don’t let that show, but….
I was no less deserving of having the door opened for me before…or of having someone help me with my bags. Or of a smile.
And it isn’t just fat folks that are victims of such judgments. I recently saw a severely handicapped and disfigured man walking past a woman and her small child, about 5 years old. The child, doing what comes natural to children, stared as he passed. The mother, in what can only be described as a total parenting failure says to the child: “quit staring….he might say something”
What?? How about we don’t stare because it’s rude? How about using that opportunity as a teaching moment? Why not teach your children that some people are born with difficult circumstances, but that they are all people and should be treated as such? How about NOT teaching your children ugly tags, like retarded, gay or fat?
Can we STOP judging people based on their appearance? And start judging them on things that matter? Like what kind of human beings they are?
I know, I know…it’s a CRAZY idea. Can’t you just leave me with my dream?
Here is a meal that will work well with most reasonable diets—except for vegetarian ones—that’s just crazy talk.
It is gluten free, dairy free, low carb, paleo/caveman friendly. If you are “in the Zone”, counting points, or living the South Beach lifestyle, this will work. Dr’s Atkins and Oz would also give a nod of approval.
What food is so universally accepted, you ask? Good old fashioned steak and veg, that’s what. You’ll like it no matter what–fat or thin, gay or straight, retarded or not.
See? We all have something in common already.
Beef tenderloin is pretty expensive cut of meat. BUT, if you eat a portion size that is smaller than the 20oz ribeyes most people cook up, it really isn’t that bad. And when it comes to quality, flavor, and tenderness you can cut with a fork, you just can’t beat it. Buy one steak per diner, plus a t-bone for preparing the carrots (trust me).
Grilled Tenderloin Steak
- 4 thick cut (2-2 ½ “ thick) tenderloin steaks (about 6 ounces each)
- 1 bulb garlic
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper medley (at least black, green and pink)
The secret to great steak is to cook it HOT and FAST. This isn’t a smoke job. You’ll need a VERY HOT grill—get your coals started about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. You want a good pile of red hot coals.
Lay steaks on a plate. Cut top ½” of garlic off of bulb. Rub each steak, front and back, with cut side of garlic. Dispose of garlic. Drizzle olive oil lightly on both sides of the steaks, rubbing to coat. Liberally season both sides with salt and pepper, massaging into the meat a little. Place steaks directly over very hot coals. Cook first side, without poking, turning, or otherwise molesting the steak, for about 5 minutes. If it flames up a little, let it be. That makes for great char. If it flames up a lot, move the steaks to the side a bit, but still over direct high heat. Turn steaks once, and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Overall cooking time will vary based on how thick your steaks are and how you lilke them cooked.
A two inch thick steak, cooked over very hot coals, should be about 5 minutes per side to get to a perfect rare. You aren’t really going to burn (i.e., cook to medium or more) a tenderloin steak, are you??? Please, for the love of GOD, don’t do it. If that’s your plan, save your money and buy sirloin.
Remove steaks from heat, and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The following recipe was inspired by some carrots my husband’s grandma used to make, and now her daughter after her. I haven’t actually procured the recipe, but knowing what the secret was, I just sort of made my own. They are GOOD.
- 1 t-bone steak
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 pound of sliced carrots (no more than ¼” thick)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
Heat a nonstick skillet or dutch oven to medium high. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Season steak front and back, with liberal salt and pepper. Place in hot skillet, and cook until brown and crusty on both sides.
Save steak for use in another meal, or serve to the diner who wants his tenderloin cooked beyond medium rare.
Add carrots, and stir to coat with pan juices. Add sugar, and stir to coat again. Allow to cook until carrots begin to brown. Add water to deglaze the pan, and parsley. Allow to cook until carrots are tender, and water is mostly gone.
Green Beans with Bacon and Onion
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional, but recommended)
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- salt and pepper
Fry bacon in a large skillet until almost crisp. Add in onion and almonds (if using) and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add beans, and toss to coat. Add 1 cup water, and cook until water is evaporated and beans are crisp tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.