Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My life is a raw, three layer disaster

I decided to become a raw vegan. It's the thing these days. It will give me glowing skin and tons of energy and make me a round the clock delight.

This is the right lifestyle for me and I thought it would last, and I was very excited.

I was messing around online, lost somewhere on Facebook, which incidentally has become a form of consensual torture, when I came across a recipe for raw, vegan peanut butter and jelly bars.

They looked fantastic. For three nights I lay awake in my bed fantasizing about them. On the fourth day I decided to go for it.

They say you ought to do one thing every day that scares you, and I've decided that for me, once a week is good enough, and this would be my thing.

So I made a shopping list, and I even remembered to bring it, which made me feel very put together and on top of things. At Whole Foods I bought what amounted to a savagely expensive deconstructed coconut. I bought coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut meat, coconut flakes, coconut nectar, coconut water, coconut milk, and on top of that I bought just a whole coconut. Later on I had to google how to slaughter it.

I hadn't been paying too much attention when I'd jotted down the ingredients in my kitchen that morning, but now that I was on the front lines I started to feel a little dazed. Besides the dizzying panoply of coconut, the bars also called for 34 whole dates. That felt like a lot. But I bought them.

I bought everything, reasoning that since I'd gone raw, I'd need all that stuff in the pantry anyway. Absolutely the only thing in my cart was ingredients for the dessert, and as I edged towards the check out line I could detect disaster in the air. The ingredients added up to 85 dollars, so the check out man said "your total is 85 dollars!" Cheerfully, as if it was okay to spend that much on a single afternoon of baking. Not even baking.

I've become good at playing very cool in the grip of catastrophe, so I slid my card with a little "sure sure no problem" smile, but inside my head I was a ten year old flying over the handlebars of her bike, feet kicking madly in the air, arms akimbo.

I'm not sure how it began but everything has gone completely off of the tracks.

It was far too late to back out. I went home and I constructed the thing, and it turns out that the one recipe used nearly everything I bought, with nothing but a few cups of raw cacao and some coconut oil leftover. But I did end up with massive, massive amount of raw peanut butter and jelly bars, so that's good, until I ate a piece and discovered I'd just created the world's most calorically dense substance on the planet, and I wouldn't need to eat again for five weeks.

So I just stood there, and stared down at the pan in awe and bewilderment. What have I done? These bars are worth 85 dollars. This is my cell phone bill. This is 3/4 of the plane ticket to Santa Fe that I didn't buy. This is three pieces of a trad rack I could be quietly accumulating so that one day I can be in the Patagonia catalog and die a fulfilled woman. This is my life in a raw, three tiered disaster.

This is essentially a well disguised coconut.

Pride and common decency kept me from scraping it into the compost, lethargy kept me from utilizing the freezer; I had no choice but to take it on the road. My dessert and I, a traveling sideshow.  I brought it from house to house, I fed it to my friends and I watched their reactions. They were decidedly mixed, ranging from the forced and determinately cheerful, all the way to the neutral, the bluntly apprehensive and those who vocalized regret upon first bite.

And in the end, I did end up in my kitchen, alone in wool socks, scraping it all into the compost bin, gritting my teeth and repeating to myself that we all make mistakes, we all mistakes, we all make mistakes.

23 comments:

Julie P said...

Wish I had something inspirational to say but all I've got is what a freakin' bummer.

Anonymous said...

Nice post- and yuck!

Kristen Haun said...

Man, and I was just complaining about ruining $20 of cod. Apparently it's a nice fish if you know how to cook, but if you don't, it's not. I think I feel worse for the poor fish that wasted his death on my "cooking".

Diary of Why said...

Oh my. Oh my.

Meghanssj said...

You are such a good writer! I want your arms, and I lover your real raw prose. Raw bars suck, but you rule.

Mira's mom said...

I am sorry...but my husband and I were bent over the computer cracking up.I have been there many a times, But your description of it was hysterical and truth. I love your blog.

EmHacket said...

Lina! I love that you took the bars from house to house. I can so relate to this- getting on the train for whatever it is and then, it's gone too far. Absolutely love your writing and was wondering if you could give me some...pointers? I'm obsessed with blogging right now, and should probably focus more on everything else in my busy life, but it's just so wonderfully consuming. Oh and I'm coming to Seattle with 30 choir kids in two weeks. Craziness!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time to get away from the hipster vegan bullshit bars and make home a place where you can be a coconut. Excuse the unsolicited advice, you don't know me obviously - but, I feel like I was meant to write that. Here. That is all :-)

R. Manning

Troglodyteking said...

I find this phrasing delightful (and accurate): "and on top of that I bought just a whole coconut. Later on I had to google how to slaughter it."

"I ate a piece and discovered I'd just created the world's most calorically dense substance on the planet, and I wouldn't need to eat again for five weeks." - When I read that my first thought was, Maybe I need to get this recipe because I have one of those ridiculous metabolisms that burn whatever I throw down my gullet and can't seem to get enough calories. Then I realized that $85 for a batch of bars, no matter how calorie dense, is outside my price range. (Also, I like grains. And cooking. And, you know, normal food.)

I appreciate how much you share your vulnerability, be it somewhat silly and not-so-painful random life stuff or of more weight. I am (half-heartedly) actively working on trying to be more open, expressive, vulnerable.

Sara at A Mixed Media Life said...

I've been there. In my vain efforts to rationalize, I'll even try to convince myself that, per bar, it will be X cents cheaper than if I bought these things already made. Although if I bought the same thing already made, it would probably taste better than what I made.

SmithShack71 said...

I'm with R. Manning. You're healthy, right? Everything in moderation, right?
Flying over the handle bars -twas good. I've felt the road-rash from that as well.
Now go eat an old school brownie or something.

:)
Angie

Jody said...

R Manning, that is awesomeness. Be the coconut Melina!!!

So much can be read into this post.....all the layers....well done. Really enjoy your writing and look forward to new posts and instagrams.

Momma said...

Oh how I love you. Allegorical? Your raw life? It isn't a disaster. It is simply in motion. Each person appreciates it (and you) differently, but you are worth every penny. People have to search how to "slaughter" you - or open you up. It's a process. Life is a process.

Lisa McP said...

Aww, I know how you feel! I had to go wheat-free for my son about a year ago, meaning lots of new recipes. Since my husband (aka the garbage disposal) was away for 6.5 months, a lot of "new recipes" ended up in the bin. Although I never spend $85 on one dish, food is regularly expensive here in Perth! For example, I just paid $5 for four tomatoes yesterday. The bowl of fresh salsa they were part of, which was consumed by said garbage disposal in one sitting, was $25 worth of veggies. Ouch. So my only piece of advice, having been through it more than once, is just refuse to think about it. Every time you think about it, just starting thinking of something else instead! Don't give up on raw vegan if you're still keen either! Changing a diet, from my experience, is a fairly long journey before it becomes normal :)

PS For a positive spin: I've seen you juicing and thought how much I'd like to give that a go, but I can't- it's too expensive here in Perth. So you are lucky you can and actively do that. Xx

Mary E. said...

Been there, done that, too, girlie. Hang in there. My world has served up its own trifecta of disaster this week. I'm shuffling toward the weekend and trying to stay hopeful for a better tomorrow. You do the same.

Elizabeth said...

I just wrecked $3 worth of fancy organic un-homogenized milk and $1.10 of fancy organic yogurt in a failed attempt at homemade yogurt. It worked the first time! And I have burnt more organic whole nuts in an attempt to toast them than I care to count. It happens...as for the metaphorical part of this post, well...I wish I had the answer. The bit about slaughtering a coconut made me giggle, and I really needed a giggle today, so thanks. :)

Elizabeth said...

I just wrecked $3 worth of fancy organic un-homogenized milk and $1.10 of fancy organic yogurt in a failed attempt at homemade yogurt. It worked the first time! And I have burnt more organic whole nuts in an attempt to toast them than I care to count. It happens...as for the metaphorical part of this post, well...I wish I had the answer. The bit about slaughtering a coconut made me giggle, and I really needed a giggle today, so thanks. :)

ahoy.jenni said...

Huh that is so funny! Been there done that with the raw food thing.I got so fed up with the expense and wasted ingredients I am now going Primal/paleo. From coconuts to cows, and lots of them. Huh that was so funny..loved it..

Bethany Davidson-Widby said...

Really??? Didn't we teach you better! Get your ass down here to Guate and being vegan will be no problem!

Loves you bunches!
B

Amy said...

Eighty five fucking dollars??! (am I allowed to say fuck?) Where do the raw vegans work that they can afford desserts like that?
You know what doesn't cost $85? An apple pie from Costco. And they are deeelicous. Even if it is baked and may contain animal bits.
Sorry about your shitty luck right now. It will get better, it usually does, right?

Natalie Burke said...

Oh man! Hilarious but I'm so sorry! You're a fantastic writer though, that's for sure. :)

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on your blog and it gave me a good laugh. You're the stereotypical Seattle transplant! Dabbling in recreational veganism, driving a Subaru, living in Ballard, chasing after every Patagonia clad boy you come across. Reminds me of my college self, but then I had to grow up, get a job and do the adult thing like get married, buy a house and have a baby. You should give it a whirl!

Catherine said...

Oh Lina! I remember when I first when raw vegan... Antagonistically enough, we still had pigs (don't ask) and I fed them *a lot* of my very expensive missed raw vegan recipes... It took me a goog few months to stop with the high fat raw vegan experiment and go with the much simpler (and cheaper and healthier!) low-fat raw vegan options!