In this issue, Isabel Whitlow reexamines her personal assets and decides to “head off old age at the pass” by engaging in an aggressive weight-loss program. Could this be the start of a new and vibrant lifestyle for Isabel?
Weight Watchers Wins!
Skim milk isn’t something you would ordinarily expect to find in the kitchen of Faded Glory Farm. This is the land of biscuits made with lard; red-eye gravy; chicken-fried-steak; and thick, artery-clogging Brunswick stews. Diabetics, beware: this great Inn has always catered first to human happiness and, if healthy greens and vegetables happen to appear in the mix, it’s only because they’re just plain good tasting and can be breaded and fried.
My rude awakening came early one morning as we watched Isabel measure out a cup of skim milk and carefully pour it over a bowl of oat cereal. A wry smile appeared on her lips and her eyes twinkled as she placed her quart of skim milk into the kitchen cooler and rejoined Micah, Louella and me at the small breakfast table in the kitchen foyer. “What’s wrong, haven’t you ever seen skim milk before?” she asked. We were all too shocked to come up with a response.
Weight gain is gradual and insidious, and I don’t think that any of us had really LOOKED at Isabel in the two years since Ray died. Despite her advancing years, and possibly due to her constant activity, Isabel had always had a trim and almost athletic look. Yes, on a more careful inspection, Isabel did appear to have blossomed somewhat, and she had developed little chin jowls and a small ‘spare tire’ that I, personally, had never noticed before.
“I’ve got to lose at least fifteen pounds, and I’ve decided to join Weight Watchers,” Isabel announced proudly. This is a situation in which men who are present have to be very careful in their response, and, usually, the safest approach is to nod and say nothing. Micah, who has never been weight challenged, did exactly that. He nodded knowingly and waited for Isabel, or possibly Louella, to utter the next word. “Is there a Weight Watchers near here?” Louella asked. “Yes, Louella, a lady at church mentioned that there is a small group meeting in Blue Ridge, but I haven’t found the time to call them,” said Isabel. As I sat there, I secretly prayed that Louella wouldn’t get caught up in this ‘whimsy,’ because it could raise havoc with my daily culinary rewards. It was obvious to me that my under-the-table bread pudding benefit could soon become a casualty of Isabel’s pending diet. “Rejoice, Micah, rejoice!” I thought; Micah really hates Isabel’s homemade bread pudding, and I could already visualize his mind working.
I’ve heard Rev. Calvin Payne say, “the trip to Hell is a rapid one,” and so was Isabel’s transition to the wonderful world of weight control. Over the next few days, our mailbox seemed to overflow with bulletins, pamphlets, cookbooks and dieting tips from Jean Neiditch and her svelte friends at Weight Watchers Central. Isabel read them avidly, and they quickly became part of her daily agenda. The first indication that my world was changing came with the quality and quantity of the floor scraps in the Inn’s kitchen. Fatty meat trimmings came almost to a complete halt as Isabel’s butcher, Hans Stutzmeyer, began to proffer leaner cuts of lamb, beef and pork. And I’ll tell you here and now, it is VERY difficult for any dog to clean up chunks of Jello from a well-waxed kitchen floor. Jello? What is this world comng to! The whole canine floor-cleanup process seemed to have taken a turn for the worse.
Isabel’s reaction to the Weight Watchers’ meetings was a bit strange but probably not uncommon. Isabel is certainly not an elitist, but she at first complained about having to sit around with a “bunch of elderly fat ladies” at the meetings. Within two weeks they were her “new friends: Gladys, Eleanor, Beth, Beatrice and Grace.” Funny, how reality comes home to roost!
Soon, Isabel’s daily pleasures revolved around a small food scale, a set of stainless steel measuring cups, and an array of measuring spoons that make a terrible clatter when dropped on the Inn’s stainless kitchen counters. A shiny new bathroom scale suddenly appeared in Isabel’s private bath, and the pages of her Weight Watchers’ Guide were rapidly
becoming stained and dog eared.
As I predicted, Micah was secretly elated at the prospect that his weekly bread pudding treats were coming to an end, and I began feeling somewhat emaciated as my under-the-table windfalls were reduced to a trickle. In their absence, Jello at dessert time became the order of the day, and the robust aroma of soups and broths filled the kitchen at many a mealtime. There were times when the Faded Glory kitchen resembled a fruit stand, and apples, bananas, oranges and grapefruits were everywhere. Fats and carbohydrates were previously not topics of discussion here at the Inn, and I had always thought that “proteins” were a component of adolescent advocacy. Now, “dietary fiber” was becoming a household word!
Needless to say, after several grueling weeks of “the diet,” Isabel seems to have won her short-term battle with obesity. Jean Neiditch has claimed still another believer. After weeks of diligent effort and abstinence from the very foods we have all come to know and cherish, Isabel has shed a total of sixteen pounds! Isabel is currently walking at least one mile a day, and she frequently takes me with her on a leash. Micah is a lot less stressed knowing that there is no more bread pudding coming his way, and my collar is now fitting more loosely than it has in years. If I could get on the old Detecto (scale), I’ll bet that I would show a moderate weight loss right along with Isabel. The big question is: will it last?
Isabel’s personal breakfast “bill of fare” has changed forever, but the traditional “Lumberjack’s Breakfasts” are still alive and well here at Faded Glory. Isabel is ever-true to her own diet regimen, but her ‘decadent’ kitchen creations still retain top billing on the Faded Glory menu. But, if you look real close, there is now a small, cheery section on our menu that reads, “Breakfasts For The Calorie-Conscious.” Faded Glory Farm is trying to make a difference.
Oooops! I think I just heard Louella drop the lard bucket cover in the kitchen. Biscuits will be forthcoming shortly. Oh, boy, here I come!