My cat’s name is MacDonald. He is a beautiful dark tiger, ring-striped, 14 year old. We’ve had him since kitten hood when we had a small farm in Tennessee and needed a mouser. We adopted him from the Rutherford County Humane Society.
MacDonald has become the literal version of the proverbial finicky eater in his old age. We try different things to keep him happy and interested in whatever we place in front of him. We’ve tried changing the feeding schedule, changing the food type and different flavor varieties. It’s real obvious when we’ve done well, or at least when he is real interested in what’s on his food dish. It’s also pretty plain when he is not interested.
When what is in front of him is ho-hum, he sometimes takes a bite before walking away towards his “crunchies”; the dish of dry cat food that is always present. But usually he just sniffs at it, and then looks up at us and says, “Meow”; a lot.
When he is very interested in whatever can we’ve opened and dished out, he digs into it without even looking up to say, “meow”. He proceeds to finish it and then walks off somewhere to take a happy cat nap.
But, there is another type of feeding characteristic that brings out the real animal. When I drop a thin piece of white chicken meat, or a chunk of tuna on his plate; the plate that usually carries wet, canned cat food, he quickly picks it up like it’s a real prize, and slinks a few feet away to drop it on his kitty rug that’s under the feeding area, and devours it hungrily. It’s the same attitude he displayed towards the mice and birds he used to catch. When it is the everyday good stuff to which he looks forward, like the salmon dinner or the seafood delight, he happily eats it as it gets plopped on his plate. But, when it’s real food, real chicken or real tuna, his choices are out the window and his fourteen years of being humanized as a pet are completely forgotten. It’s back to the real world for him. Back to survival of the fittest, the hunt is on, slinking through the tall grass towards his unsuspecting prize. Sinking his teeth into real food.
Several weeks after I stopped several bad habits, I noticed that things that I had liked a little; fresh salmon, good sushi, cottage cheese, wheat toast, albacore and yellow fin tuna, chicken soup, eggs, started tasting even better. And, things that I was merely used to eating; comfort foods like Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, the Whopper, The Big Mac, cheesecake, juicy steaks, became rather commonplace.
Without Coke products burning my taste buds into submission, and without giant quantities of food messing with my pallet and digestive system, and without greasy foods slathering my tongue with salty slime, I was able to taste real food.
When not hindered by overcooked, over processed and over salted foods, the taste buds are allowed to sample life again. Broccoli and asparagus are tasted for the first time like they were meant; crunching into the fresh, hot, steamy fibers give the mouth several things to enjoy; texture, before-during-and-after-tastes, smell. Fresh salmon that is cooked right almost melts in the mouth. There is a natural mild sweetness and faint nuances of smell and texture to delicate meats that are completely overlooked when over cooked and refined and mismatched with strong flavors and stronger drinks, like over sweetened ice tea or carbonated and syrupy soft drinks.
A fresh, crunchy salad with romaine, green onions, avocado, and properly grilled chicken breast, lightly drizzled with a fresh tasting raspberry vinaigrette (just a tablespoon or less) explodes with way more flavor and texture than a mere pizza or burger.
Scrambled eggs with grilled portabella mushroom is more flavor than just about anything I’ve ever eaten.
I have been missing this type of flavor most of my life. I have been shoving processed food down my gullet without knowing what it was that my mother and sisters were enjoying. Pretty much everything I eat now is enjoyed almost like it was the first time I ever sampled it.
Even some of my old comfort foods taste way better than they used to. Except the fast food burgers. I really don’t want them anymore; the white bread that clogs up my intestines and takes over a day to clear out, soaked in burger grease and over salted artificial cheese food laughingly called American cheese, wrapped around flat excuses of meat which, if not for the salty grease would be completely without flavor.
Something I noticed that I rather laughed about was McDonald’s (the restaurant) attempt at healthifying the burger. A burger wrap. The problem with that is that now, one is able to taste the meat for what it really is when not hidden behind all of that white bun. Am I wrong or is biting into that burger wrap like licking a cow’s salt lick? I did that once as a kid just to see what it was like. Yyyyuck! (Yes, the cows got to it first; double yuck).
How does one compare a thick fillet of perfectly cooked salmon lightly scattered with fresh herbs and a little butter, with a hamburger? Or a fresh tomato steak with nothing but some salt and fresh ground black pepper, with a piece of pizza?
Right now setting on the top shelf of our fridge is the rest of a very sweet cantaloupe. I can’t even describe how good it is. It is my chocolate. It’s like what butterscotch pudding used to be to me. I have to stop myself from eating the entire giant melon in one sitting because of what all of that fruit does to my insides.
Real food is so good, I am finally imagining the true gift that God gave us when he started the cycle of life about 6,000 years ago in The Garden. Adam and Eve were so fortunate to be the first ones to taste of life so sweet without the many years of downgrading the food and experiences that God gave us.
One has to wonder what a fresh orange tasted like in The Garden, before pesticides and agra-engineering.
We are truly fortunate to live in America where so many varieties of cultures bring so much to the table. Corie and I really enjoyed Epcot Center a few years ago on a vacation that included The Bahamas, Florida’s beaches and the Orlando area.
Epcot Center in the Disney Complex is basically the world’s largest food court, built outside surrounding a roundish lake. We walked around the lake sampling foods from Japan, Sweden, Italy, France, etc.
I really want to go back now and re taste all of those international foods since I have cleansed my palate of the regular processed food menu. Disney hires authentic chefs and kitchen crews from each of their respective countries to work for a few years at Epcot in order to allow visitors to enjoy the authenticity of world food.
What is it that you are putting in your mouth day after day that keeps your taste buds from experiencing true flavor?
Viva la food!
See you after that next scale date.
Outdoor Grilling Tips
Buy Great Tongs
Look for long-handled, rolled steel, spring-loaded tongs.
Long-handled to keep your easily singed arm hairs away from the heat, rolled steel so you can pick up a whole bird, and spring-loaded so you can easily grasp and move food around.
Avoid the rubber tipped tongs. They are for cooking indoors with Teflon coated cook ware, or for handling fresh foods.