Here it is, are you ready? I eat dairy, I drink coffee, I use bacon, I occasionally even play with red food dye. Sometimes I use xanthan gum when I bake, sometimes I don't.
You know what else? I cannot stand cherry flavored anything, jello, most fruit pie fillings & I'm picky as hell about how scallops are cooked. I don't really like pancakes. Or fennel, or anise, or cilantro. I have Celiac Disease and I'm allergic to almonds.
I eat local when it makes sense. I eat organic when it makes sense. I usually eat whole, real foods, but sometimes I eat Reece's Pieces because I like them.
And I know I just pissed some of you off, and that you're already drafting emails in your head about red food "die", the evils of dairy, and using terms like "pissed off." Here's the thing: I'd love to help you live deliciously Gluten Free, and it's cool if you like me too. But it really doesn't bother me if you don't - especially if the reason you dislike me is because I give my kid Nutella.
Can we talk just for a minute about the Virtual Public Stoning for food choices? When did it become OK to attack people for not knowing the difference between farm-raised & wild caught salmon, for missing the memo about shrimp harvesting in Thailand, or for drinking milk? And does anybody benefit at all from scathing Tweets about breakfast cereal?
I'll celebrate you for doin' your thing - I'll help you even, if you'd like the help. But I won't join you in damning the woman buying boxed mac & cheese with two kids in tow, and I'm sure as hell not gonna join the self-proclaimed foodie-police nutritionally coaching everyone like we're all headed to the Thunderdome as a team. (I love Tina Turner so much.)
And, for the record, I think people who attack other people, for any reason, are not cool.
The people I love make all kinds of food choices, some of them are even picky. A couple of them have allergies or medical issues that need to be addressed in a culinary form. And you know what? I love them anyway. Not only am I willing to cook for them, I want to.
Is it taxing sometimes? YES. Throw Kelli, Lush & Leah who don't eat seafood in with Kevin who eats Paleo, Steph B. the vegetarian, Steph M. who hates mushrooms, Jules who cannot stand celery in with Jodie's allergy (walnuts) & Nate's allergy (avocados) plus my father's aversion to potatoes, and you'll have an interesting time preparing a meal - before even considering my allergies & dislikes.
But there's nothing like having them all over, smiling & laughing and carrying on - knowing that they all feel safe, comfortable & cared for at my house. Because they are.
And yes, I want them to take vitamins. And yes, the fact that some of them won't eat vegetables & some of them get most of their food from drive-thrus scares me. Occasionally, I even say that. To people I know, to their faces, because I care - not because I'm passing judgment on the corn dogs in their freezer.
If someone wants to try a new food, or something they've disliked in the past, I'm all in. They want to learn to cook? I'll be over, knife roll & groceries in hand.
But when our "Oak Tree" wants to scoop every piece of celery out of her soup, I'm offering up my bread plate & digging in with my spoon to help, because she'd save me from a cherry pie, an anise cookie or Master Blaster any day.