Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dieting by Mail - Cioppino Seafood Medley

Many women resolve not only to shed a few pounds in anticipation of bikini season, but to keep them off until Labor Day, when the pools and beaches officially close. I, on the other hand, start bikini season bulging like dough that will just keep rising until I am tan enough to enter myself in the bread competition in the Indiana State Fair's Homemaker's Barn.

I spent the first six weeks of summer living it up at the summer palace (mojitos, s'mores, ice cream, beer and all sorts of grilled recipes that I will endeavor to share with you once your grill has been mothballed for winter).

Then we went to Alaska and that was mighty good eatin' too, because in addition to all the salmon (which ain't all that appetizing once you've seen 'em spawning), there's an abundance of cheap Asian food in restaurants catering to the cruise ships crews.

I was bustin' out all over by the time the kids and I returned from Juneau. Greg stayed behind to midwife his new musical, Yeast Nation. I decided that given my temporarily husband-less status, I could kill many birds (you know, in that lapsed semi-vegetarian, responsibly farmed, metaphorical way) by signing up for this diet meal service a friend of mine recommended. (No, not The Zone. Though the friend may or may not have been Jennifer Aniston.)

Let's review my thinking:

1. I've got a lot on my plate given the ratio of little monkeys to big monkeys from September 1 – October 15.

2. The kids don't like to eat what I eat and the feeling is mutual. What I wouldn't give for one of those wonder children who's like, "Mommy, mommy, let's eat in Chinatown every night! I love chipotle peppers!" If Greg were here, I'd be cooking for 2 and 2, which, of course makes four, but I'm not really into cooking for one, when all things considered, I'm cooking for three.

3. My pants don't fit anymore.

4. Jennifer Aniston said Diet-To Go's food was good! She started sampling her husband's portions and liked them enough to order some for herself. No, her husband isn't Brad Pitt. That's Angelina Jolie's husband (by Hollywood standards anyway.)

5. If I pay for it, chances are good that I'll eat it, not cheat it. (Hey kids, let's all lose some prepositions along with some weight!)

Now before I introduce you to your meal plan for the next week or so, let me state that I'm all for a big, juicy woman, size-proud, sexy and sassy! But, I'm in no position to buy a whole new wardrobe, and even my bras were starting to pinch dewlaps into my back. If you don't feel good, you don't look good.

Interestingly, I often feel good when I don't look good, but this wasn't one of those times.

So, I went on Diet-To-Go's website and ponied up for a week of flash frozen meals. They're shipped from Virginia in a big Styrofoam cooler packed with dry ice that I always wanted to give to the kids' science teacher, because my science teacher used to do nifty things like dry icing bananas until you could use them as hammers and hurling dry-iced hoses at the wall to watch them shatter. I think her dry ice was liquid though, and mine was a big chunk that came in a plastic bag printed with warnings about touching, tasting or otherwise handling the contents.

I realize that not everyone has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on weight reduction, the way the Anistons and I do. Rather than fan the fires of class envy, I thought I could share a week's worth of celebrity meals with those less fortunate than myself.

So without any further ado, let's put our hands together for Cioppino Seafood Medley!

Doesn't it look delicious, folks?

It's accompanied by a "petite grain roll", some suspiciously "lite"-tasting chive cream cheese and a Dixie cup's worth of chocolate pudding! Yum! Chocolate pudding, unlike banana pudding was always a favorite of mine in the school cafeteria. (For more on banana pudding, read Dirty Sugar Cookies, the book. Amazon's got it priced to move.)

Here's what it looks like after I heated the roll in the toaster oven and the cioppino in a pan. You're really should have a microwave when you're dieting-to-go, but for the appliance-challenged among us, the alternate heating method is on the right side of the label: Pre-heat conventional oven to 325, remove meal from plastic tray, and heat for 15 - 20 minutes if defrosted in the refrigerator, 40 minutes if still frozen. The directions for heating never vary, though I might humbly suggest that they should.

Mmm! Tastes just like something you might have gotten on an airplane, back when the airlines actually comped their ticketed passengers meals. If I was on an airplane, I would have given up after a couple of bites, but given that this was actually my second week of Diet-to-Go, I ate every morsel, because I was so damn hungry. Also, I knew that a half bag of chocolate chips was not the option it used to be. If in a moment of weakness, I horked some down, I'd be squandering my girlish figure, along with the family fortune.

Speaking of chocolate, I bet you want to hear about that pudding! All I can say is, the experience was greatly enhanced by eating it whilst reading Judith Thurman's New Yorker article about her visit to a fasting spa. Now, I'm a fast reader, but obviously, any New Yorker article is much, much bigger than a tiny specimen cup of pudding. The part of the article that I was reading while actively engaged in eating the pudding was the part about colonics. Ah, delicious irony. You want to know the worst part? Judith Thurman makes sure to tell her readers that she is naturally skinny. Her only reason for visiting this super deluxe-o fasting spa was that she was on assignment for the New Yorker. That irony is not quite so delicious.

And that's just the beginning! Are you ready for a Turkey Sandwich and a Mexican Style Burrito? mmm-MMM!

, ,

(UPDATE - the original title of this post has been changed at the increasingly desperate requests of the fine folks at Diet 2 Go, who didn't want the nasty opinion of some blog-on-ice to be the second thing search engines reached for when telling potential customers about their services. No key money (or thank Christ, Key Food) changed hands, and since they weren't asking me to alter the content, I figured I could be a sport.)


Blogger Magpie Ima said...

I don't know--is this really necessary? It looks like the kind of food that might cause you to lose your sense of humor. We can't have that!

9:26 PM  
Blogger D in Columbus said...

I have found, as I inch toward 40, that no matter what I do, all of my good parts are inching down and settling on my thighs. The scale says that I am 2 pounds lighter, but my thighs are bigger than ever. If everything just keeps moving down to my ankles, then perhaps I can shake it off and leave it all at the curb for trash day? If you come across a good thigh reducing diet reccomended by JLo (remember thin thighs in 30 days?) please blog about it!
D in Columbus

4:00 AM  
Blogger Ayun Halliday said...

Magpie, my child, I have endured this nightmare that all of you might be spared.

d, i know of no thigh reducting diets, only hot, twirly-skirt dresses that require a bit of tone through the abdominal area...

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gak! That kind of food is what gives dieting a bad name. Couldn't you just cook up your own delicious, far superior meals and portion them out in zip-lock containers?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Ayun Halliday said...

I'm feeling you, Trish. And now, through circumstances I won't explain here, I have a vegetable bin packed with bottled beer, and a giant container of hummus, and a bunch of my chocolate chipotle cookies.

All that work for nothing!

Danger! Danger!

7:29 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

I would love to see The Ayunee Diet along with Ayunee's Home-Cooked Meals in freezer containers. And the best part is, you could do it in conjunction with Weight Watchers (I'm a recent inductee, and I'm already hooked.).

And good lord and BUTTER, those diet meals look line freeze-dried airline puke whipped up in a hospital kitchen. My eyes, they bleed!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

PS. Thank you for suffering for our sins. But I agree with magpie ima--in terms of necessity, you look marvelous! So shaddap! ;-)

12:17 PM  

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