Clear, liquid gold. Scent of hot peanut oil. Spatter as beer-battered fish strips are dropped in. An eruption of oily froth with each addition, then a settling into furious bubbling around each strip, like caterpillar feet on hot sand.
We rarely fry food at home. The kids wanted fish sticks the other night. I moaned.
“They’re so messy.”
“They stink up the house.”
“And then we have to get rid of all that oil.”
We grilled the fish instead.
These days I hardly eat fried food at all, except French fries or sweet potato fries when we eat out. And occasionally potato chips. Oh, and donuts. And funnel cakes when I can get my hands on them.
I do like fried food, but I don’t go wild for it like people go wild for bacon. I never really understood the “fry everything” phenomenon, like fried Twinkies. Do people really like those? I mean, sure fried foods are okay, but there are plenty of other foods I enjoy more and that don’t make me feel like I have a brick in my stomach and want to die after eating them.
I probably used to eat a lot more fried food, just like I ate a lot more candy bars and drank a lot more Coke. As I age, my body likes to store all the goodies from those foods much more than it used to, or maybe it’s just slowing down in its processing of them.
In my 20s I started exercising so that I could eat whatever I like. I love food. It is a great pleasure I don’t like to deny myself. In those days I could eat whatever I wanted. I rode miles and miles on my bicycle, hundreds of miles each month. When I drank gin and tonics, the relaxation went straight to my legs, turning them to jelly after hard rides on hills. In my 30s, I had children to raise, so I didn’t have as much time to exercise, but I still managed without too much annoyance. My body hadn’t slowed down yet.
Now that I’m in my 40s, though, things have changed. I can walk 20 hours per week on my treadmill, watch what I eat, and still not shake the extra pounds I gained at Christmas, or on a work trip, or wherever the latest weight gain is that happens right after I get to my target weight. I have to be much more aware of what I consume and how much I exercise than I ever was before, and the changes in weight (at least the decreases), are slow.
This is annoying, of course, but is not actually the point. The slowing down of my body’s metabolism, the changes my body is going through, has bigger implications. Namely, that I’m aging. My body is beginning its journey towards shutting down. I am a physical being whose physical body is on the decline, is slowing, will one day stop. It’s only the beginning, I should have plenty of time left, but the changing of my body is a reminder of my own mortality.
So, I don’t eat much fried food anymore. Why open up more opportunities to remind myself that I will one day be gone?
This is my entry for the Daily Post one word prompt: Fry.