24 Feb

In the 60’s I read about older Americans eating dog food as a way to add protein to their diet without breaking their budget. Later I read another article that said that same group often ate cereal as a meal because they lacked the energy or interest to actually cook for themselves. I filed both articles away in the back of my brain to use as check points as my parents aged.

While my father was alive, I really didn’t apply that checklist. He rarely told my mother what to do (she ran the household) but he was very outspoken on what he did or did not like to eat. I knew she would never have fed him dog food as fried hash or a bowl of corn flakes for dinner. He rarely had corn flakes for breakfast. He was a poached egg on toast kind of guy.

After my father passed, my mother had a hard time accepting that she was cooking for herself.  It was years before she admitted that she still cooked dishes that he liked and she didn’t. She was diagnosed with diabetes at that same time and became fanatic about  following the diet requirements. She weighed and measured everything and created a long list of the things she couldn’t eat. She also used the diabetes as a reason she couldn’t go or do things because she wasn’t sure what or when she would be able to eat. She didn’t apply the “taste but don’t eat all” concept.  I always found it sad that she let it run her life. Maybe the dementia started earlier than we realized.

I love to cook  and really would like to get my husband into more meatless  and healthy meals. He version of meatless is fried fish which kind of misses the point. He says “no” faster than anything else to whole grain anything ! I still try. He has been game for trying different homemade breads. He loved the Black Russian Rye I made yesterday (two thirds whole grain. It isn’t the Black Russian Rye that I purchased in a grocery in Aberdeen, WA but it was still good. (I’d love to find that recipe.)

Our biggest problem is that he also likes desert. Now that I am not teaching every day, he would like it if I planned a desert like I plan a meal. My brain doesn’t wrap around desert that he will eat and a desert that would be better for him. Mother was correct in that being a diabetic does mean paying more attention to what you eat. Ice cream is not a good choice and our local Dollar Store does not carry “No Sugar Added” ice cream options.  So I often sprinkle whole grain cereal on his ice cream. Both of us add fruit to a bowl of cereal and declare it desert. It has become our favorite middle of the night and I can’t sleep option. Some of the Kashi cereals are so sweet that is the best time to eat them. At least we don’t stock Frosted Flakes!

So far we have not eaten a bowl of cereal for dinner but I could see it being an option. There are too many “All You Can Eat” restaurants in the area when we eat out at lunch. Since I am not likely to get the man to select a big salad for dinner, cereal might just fill the bill. Please don’t think that the 1960’s article applies to us!


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