Powdered for convenience

I gave my left over yoghurt to the
dog this morning and felt bad about it, as if I was casting off the best steak
to the dog and should have kept it for the humans.  I’m not even sure that yoghurt is good for dogs but ours wolfs it down with such gusto I trust he knows what he’s doing.  If there’s
something the dog dislikes he leaves it alone. 
If only it were so simple for us
humans: to take in what’s good for us and leave the rest.  
And so begins my sermon for the day, at
least that’s how it feels to me now, as if I am about to issue an edict on the
importance of taking in only what’s good for you and avoiding the rest. 
Of course that’s not so easy.  
I prefer the yoghurt that my daughter
tells me is not good for me because it’s full of sugar.  I’m not fussed about a little extra
sugar, not at my time of life, but she is. 
For some reason yoghurt has always
been a staple of mine, long since I first encountered it in the supermarket as a
teenager.  Then we were told of its
health bearing properties.  
daughter has since taken up a student job in a yoghurt shop and from her I
have learned that yoghurt starts its life in that silver box with the
pokie-machine type handle which she pulls down to release the liquid yoghurt, in powdered form.  
Powdered form for convenience, I presume.  Just add water. 
When I was this same daughter’s age
and worked in a hospital as a social worker, I enjoyed a tub of yoghurt every
lunch time.  How I longed for my
yoghurt then, not just because I was hungry but because it marked a junction in
the day, half way through. 
When I was a student I spent more
days at home than at classes.  I
lived then with my horse racing and gambling boyfriend and preferred to freeze
my yoghurt to make it last longer. 
It was a lottery this business of
freezing yoghurt.  I chose Ski
brand despite the extra sugar, because it had the best freezing properties, but
an unlucky tub could come out streaked with ice and lumpy, almost inedible.  The perfect tub came out smoothly
frozen with all the creamy qualities of ice cream at its best.
I miss my passion for ice
cream.  Once my favourite
food.  Also a staple.  It comes to me now that ice cream and
yoghurt are derivatives of milk. 
Could it be my preoccupation with yoghurt and with all things milky
comes out of that deep basic infantile need for milk?  Perish the thought. 
 When I was a child I marveled at the way my mother shared her food,
especially the best food, the ice cream we were allowed once a week on Sunday
nights after a dinner, a block of Neapolitan ice cream cut ten ways so that
each of us children and my mother could have a sliver.  My father was diabetic and therefore
missed out.  My father could not
eat what to me then were the best foods: the sweet foods, the cakes and ice
cream, the lollies and chocolate, but my mother could and yet she seemed just as
happy to give them away as she did to get her share.  
I could never be so generous, I thought then.  I could never give my share away so
willingly. And yet now I find it easy.  Besides the sweet things have lost
their allure.  
My mother used to
say similar things when I was growing up, that as you get older, your appetite
changes, you want less.  This can’t
be so for everyone.  Can it?  

41 thoughts on “Powdered for convenience”

  1. I have totally lost my appetite for sweet things. I could probably eat lemons and enjoy them. Better qualify that with I enjoy Ski yoghurt still, with the sugar, but surely the fruit cancels out the bad sugar. It is habit that I sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on cereal. I really would not miss it. I have noted though, that old ladies still like to carry some lollies in the handbags.

  2. When I was young I was fussy about crumpet, now I'll gnaw on just about anything.

    'left over' in your first sentence needs a hyphen: left-over.

    Never give a dog chocolate.

  3. I don't think I want any less than when I was a child, but my priorities have definitely changed.

    Sadly, I still love sugar and so can't buy ice cream. My new love is kefir.

  4. I do think sharing comes with age. Maybe getting our portions competing with siblings wasn’t as predictable? I’ve lost my taste for sugary sweet things too, except for ice cream, which I consider a temporary high while eating it, like a drug. I love it while I’m eating it, but it gets even in my old stomach, usually later in the night.

  5. As we get older, I think a lot of us find our appetites (yes, I've chosen the plural, intentionally) change. A lot of things which used to be important no longer hold their allure.

    Maybe it's because we understand there are few things in life that are all that important. Friends, family, faith, a roof over one's head, a few smaller meals a day, and good books. Maybe a few other things.

    If the dog likes yogurt, you can share. Sharing won't hurt you, and the dog will enjoy the treat. That will likely make both of you happy.

  6. I make my own yoghurt in my Easi-Yo maker. It comes in powder form, I mix it with water, then stand the container inside the Easi-Yo tub which has boiling water in it. Leave it overnight and in the morning the mix has been transformed into yummy yoghurt.
    I still like my sweet things, but have also developed more taste for savoury now.

  7. It's good to know, Barbara, that yoghurt is good for dogs. I had heard that puppies should not be given cow's milk but I suspect it changes as the dogs age, assuming yoghurt is a derivative of cow's milk.

    Thanks, Barbara.

  8. I enjoy the occasional lolly from my handbag, too, Andrew, mostly mints and the sugar-free variety. in this i take after my mother. Mut things like Mars Bars and Violet crumbles, the very thought of them now makes me feel ill, but once I would have loved them.

    Thanks, Andrew.

  9. I know that one, Robert, that we must never feed our dog chocolate. I gather it can even kill them. As for chewing on old crumpet, I get the allusion and to each his own.

    Sorry about the absent hyphen. I have a habit of leaving them out. Very post modern of me, to break the rules.

  10. I had to google, kefir, Rubye Jack. I've not heard of it before. It sounds strange but I imagine it could be very tasty, especially when you tell me you have a passion for ice cream. I don't even know where to find it, but I expect someone around her will know.

    Thanks for broadening my horizons, Rubye Jack.

  11. It' true, Anthony, the taste of sugar can leave a surprisingly bad taste in your gut, especially when you have too much of it.

    As for the capacity to share, you're right about it developing with age. Infants and one-year-olds find it much more difficult than older children, but it takes a degree of cultivating and I suspect there are still some adults who are useless at sharing, however hard they try.

    Thanks, Anthony.

  12. Funny how hearing the origins of certain foods, what happens to them in the processing, Rob-bear, can make us feel sick, dehydrated foods being one of them.

    I agree with your metaphor about tastes changing, too, and the business of downsizing with age. After a while our values change and it's the more simple and genuine aspects of life that give us real pleasure well beyond the physical things.

    Thanks, Rob-bear.

  13. A friend told me about the easy-yo yoghurt a while ago, River, and we had intentions of buying one of the devices that you need to get it started. We never did though.

    Maybe now is the time to try it, but here am I going on about downsizing and the thought of yet another gadget – albeit a container- makes me a little wary.

    Thanks, River.

  14. Porcha may well be right, Vassilis, the correct amount of anything in life borders too closely on so-called perfection and must therefore be dangerous, even more dangerous than those other extremes. Thanks for reminding me, Vassilis. I'll try to keep my balance out of balance. For me this is not hard.

  15. Yes I think it probably is the same for everyone Elizabeth. I had to lose two stones for health reasons and I cut out sweet things. Now, two years later, I have no craving at all for sweet things and much prefer savoury foods.

  16. I was probably twenty-two before I tried yoghurt for the first time. I believe my mother bought the stuff but there was no way as a fussy eater I would've even tasted it. I refused to eat custard, rice pudding or even blancmange. I would eat jelly (if it was firm) and ice cream (if it wasn't runny—the joys of soft serve were lost on me). Anything that texturally you might describe as 'creamy' was of no interest to me. Cream cakes revolt me to this day and rice pudding (especially when heated) literally makes me retch. Once, as I've said when I was about twenty-two, I was shopping with my then wife and spied a pear yoghurt (Ski brand) and for some strange reason it called out to me. I would only eat it once it was very cold but I did, I enjoyed it and there was no stopping me after that. Pear-flavoured yoghurt is rare which strikes me as odd as pears grow just fine in the UK.

    There're yoghurts in the fridge as I write this. They're diet yoghurts. It's been years since I ate a full fat yoghurt. I look at the calories on the side of the tub and that's enough for me. I convert it into biscuits and my decision's made. Since I stopped work I've had to watch my weight. I'm far from being obese and although strictly-speaking I'm a few pounds overweight it really is only a few pounds. I just can't seem to get back under 13st. It takes nothing for me to gain a pound. When Carrie was in the States not last time but the time before I bought in a couple of boxes of cakes—nothing lavish, some apple pies—and when she came back I'd put on 6lbs and it's taken me until now to lose five of them. If I exercise more (i.e. at all) it would help and I really did intend to do more this year. I made a start at going out for daily walks but we've had a wet year and it takes very little to put me off.

    We've incorporated yoghurt drinks into our daily routine. We have one a day after dinner. I think of them as medicine which they are really. When I was younger—and I'm talking into my late forties—I really could eat whatever I wanted and never put on a pound but when I fell ill and mushroomed (slight exaggeration there) to 14st 5lbs that was enough for me. I hated being that weight. It bothers me that my daughter's overweight but there're a lot of factors working against her, mainly genetics and from both sides of the family plus a lifestyle that doesn't exactly encourage healthily eating.

    On the whole I avoid milky products. I like them—love milkshakes—but they give me catarrh. I don't even take milk (or sugar or caffeine) in my coffee these days whereas only five years ago I was drinking anything up to ten cups a day with a couple of sugars in every one and milk and, more often than not, accompanied by a couple of biscuits. Why I wasn't the size of a house I have no idea. I guess I worried it off.

    My mother used to work in a fish factory which processed scampi and, of course, she got to bring scraps home with her. I don't think I tasted scampi either until I was in my twenties. The cat got it all. I can't say it every bothered me—I didn't much like the look of it (slimey's as bad as creamy)—but that was my mum for you. I have her spirit though and our bird and fish never go short of treats. I'm responsible for their happiness. As they don't have any company I think it's incumbent on me to compensate them in whatever ways I can. So maybe the bird'll fall of his perch six months early because of all the sunflower seeds he's gobbled. At least he'll have enjoyed his life and it's not as if he's not had a decent run—he was born in 1996, which makes him about sixteen—and he could still last another four years easily although they have been known to live until they're thirty.

    My mother often said to us, "You are what you eat." She was no health food junkie though although she did advocate the health benefits of garlic and I still pop a garlic pearl every day and think of her when I do.

  17. When I was a kid, my parents would buy a square pint of ice cream that would be cut into fourths for them and eighths for us four kids. I sometimes think my continuing craving for ice cream is because I was so deprived of it as a child. I still can't stand yogurt however.

  18. Our dog Milly loves yoghurt, too and here in Switzerland they have some absolutely wonderful brands, styles and flavours.

    As soon as she hears the lid being peeled back, she's at the eater's feet, eyes pleading to be given the bottom bit in the pot to lick out afterwards.

  19. I can't be bothered finding out what postmodern means and it doesn't matter a shit to me anyway but if you can't write clearly no one will read you and that's the main thing is it not?

  20. I tried eating yogert about a year ago to lose weight after a health scare of sorts, but it didn't take. It was like eating air. It certainly didn't satisfy my hunger.

    I thought my passion for sweets had passed, but when work gets particularly stressful, I find myself gobbling down a couple of Hostess cupcakes. A substitute for booze and drugs, I guess.

    Whatever tastes good is bad for you. I'm sure Eve thought that apple was delicious.

  21. I apologise to the people here for sounding aggressive. I do think however that the arts are controlled by academic types whose instinct is to classify everything. There's also a lot of snobbery; modernism, postmodernism and so on are elite terms to confound the rabble. I've never been able to understand what these terms mean and can't see any necessity for them.

  22. Your piece brought back memories for me of the food coop when I was in college. I bought a yogurt maker there and made my own to eat and to use as an ingredient in cooking. There was so much care in what went into my mouth in those days because it was all voluntary. Doctors weren't telling me to eat less of this and more of that, etc. It seemed more like a do-it-yourself project. Thanks for sharing!

  23. For me the most repulsive food when I was younger, Jim, was sago pudding. I met it in boarding school. My mother never cooked it. The other boarders called it frog's eyes, for good reason. the texture appalled me. I enjoy a smooth creamy texture but irregular lumps in a creamy base leave me cold. Not that sago is irregular in its lumpiness but there's something slimy about it, slimy in the repulsive sense.

    It's a pity dairy gets such a bad rap. i've heard it increases the mucus in our bodies. Maybe that's what gives you catarrh. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what catarrh is, something to do with the throat I suspect. A quick visit to Google. A quick visit to Google and I was right, the production of mucus in the airways. Not much fun I imagine, if it makes breathing difficult.

    It's funny how influential our mothers can be in our tastes and the decisions we make and continue to make throughout our lives, especially that we remember their little aphorisms as well. not just mother's of course but father's too. That's one of the things I enjoy in memoir, people's memories of the zany things their parents said, especially eccentric parents. I'm reading Jeannette Winterson's 'Why be happy when you could be normal', a wonderful book based on the religious fanaticism and contradictions of her zany and troubled adoptive mother. It's worth reading.

    It's always good to read about your remarkable bird, and the amazing Carrie.

    Thanks, Jim.

  24. It's amazing how inequitable some parents can be, Ms Sparrow, as if they have forgotten what it was like to be a child. Your parents sound this way inclined, taking the lion's share for themselves.

    Negligence and a desire for ice cream are no doubt linked, as you say. There's that notion with ice cream, 'I scream'.

    Needless to say for all her foibles I prefer my mother's more generous approach.

    Thanks, Ms Sparrow.

  25. Our dog has extraordinary hearing, too Kath, not so much for lids being peeled back as for the sound of the grater on cheese.

    Whenever i grate parmesan for instance he's there at my side licking any scrapings that fall onto the floor. I always make sure a few extra fall down even though I know I shouldn't.

    It's good to hear ours is not the only dog who loves yoghurt and licking out pots.

    Thanks, Kath.

  26. I agree Robert, it's important to be clear in your writing, irrespective pf any high brow theoretical underpinnings. I find certain ideas fascinating in the abstract once I've delved into them – when once they intimidated me – but I don't think they influence my writing much, other than to give me permission to experiment.

    The thing about postmodernism – even as you're not interested – is, as I understand it, that it encourages a certain freedom, because in a way it's a state of mind that almost says anything goes as long as it works in some ways. In other words as long as it appeals to some.

    Thanks, Robert.

  27. That apple in Eden was no doubt delicious, Kirk. It's true most things that taste wonderful are not necessarily good for you, but isn't it that they're okay in moderation. Most things are okay in moderation.

    As for yoghurt I don't find it so much filling as sustaining. It's not heavy to me but nourishing. Lollies on the other hand and cakes and the like to me are more like air weighed down with lead.

    Thanks, Kirk.

  28. It's amazing how you can wean yourself off a craving for sweet things, Pat, and in time come to prefer the savoury. I'm sure in some ways I've done that too. Thanks, Pat.

  29. It is irritating the way the medical establishment and media preach to us about what we should and should not do as regards eating, Luanne. To me it's far more satisfying as you say to work some of these things for ourselves – what suits each of us individually rather than a one-size-fits-all mentality.

    Thanks, Luanne.

  30. Well if anything goes how come poor RH keeps getting shown the door all the time? I'm the most deleted commentor in blog history. Mind you, that Adelaide bird with a PhD banned me about ten times and kept taking me back. I might wish some of my three-dimensional floosies had that same attitude, ha! ha! Well all I had to do was say how wonderful she was each time. Strange but true. The more educated they are the better it works.
    Well look, you've explained nothing, individuals have always been free to write in their own way. And they try. And most of it's rubbish. The best stuff has already been written -by someone else. Academics and others go around sticking labels on this racket, claiming to own it. What a cheek, a made-up mystery, postmodernism is just some old codger having a pee in his backyard with a professor peeping through the fence.

  31. I suspect it's a little more complex than that,
    Robert, but I understand your reservations.

    You are somewhat postmodernist in your own approach. As far as I understand, the essence of post modernism is also about not taking things too seriously. So much for ideals of perfection and purity.

    You take the piss out of so much and so many, you might almost fit in, but I recognise none of this is intentional, nor for me or for most of us, and yet there are trends and patterns that seem to emerge. We can observe them after the event perhaps. We can maybe even anticipate them, but they are after all constructions.

    That's another of post modernism's aims I think to debunk all so-called 'grand narratives'. Every thing's open to fresh perspectives, but whether any one else pays attention is another matter.

    Thanks again, Robert.

  32. Taking the piss as you call it (I hate the expression) has been going on for centuries. Chaucer started it. Calling me postmodern is the second worst insult I've ever copped. The worst was when River called me harmless.

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