When I was a very little girl, I used to routinely slip into blissful daydreams about a world in which I made the rules. In that fairy-tale world, I’d fall asleep no earlier than 4:00 AM. CNN would be cheerfully swapped for Cartoon Network [Popeye, anyone?], I’d never eat pea soup again [mostly because it tastes like vomit], nobody would ever be permitted to drink anything other than chocolate milk [because really-when you’re a kid, why bother?], and all clothes that didn’t have a home in my rather gargantuan dress-up box would be promptly burned. [I mean, if it doesn’t go with your fuchsia feather boa, sequined tiara and pink wand, do you really need it anyways?]
I also had this magical idea about all sidewalks being converted into gigantic slip-n-slides, but that’s another story.
One thing that was absolutely essential in my idealistic dream of the “adult-world” that I intended to create upon my release from the captivity of my childhood was my concept of dinner time. In my world, there would be no thank you helpings [apparently my Mother didn’t understand that she too is bound by the laws of the Geneva Convention]. I was resolutely determined that there would always be dessert which would always come first […you know, just in case] and always be chocolate, and “meal-time” would become a fluid concept in favor of a sort of buffet-style existence. In adult-world, if you felt like having chocolate chip cookies, 82 tootsie rolls and a coke slushy for dinner, well by golly that’s what you’d have! [I mean, your body knows what it needs, anyways…]
Cue last night. My fantastic [really, they’re incredible!] team and I decided just before my run [oh, the irony!] that we
were positively sick of food in Dakar. When you’re cooking on a hot plate in Africa, your options are awfully limited-and I think at this point we all feel like we’ll explode if we buy one more rotisserie chicken or so much as smell another kabob. Sadly, we joke that in Senegal, we only eat to stay alive…we’re that sick of the food. As we dolefully sat in a circle bemoaning the fact that we were going to have to eat again and daydreaming about Chik-fil-a and Fosters Market in Chapel Hill [okay, so that second one was just me], a slow smile crept across my admittedly previously pouting face. You see, the petrifyingly beautiful thing about being an adult is that ready or not, you finally get to make the rules! In an effort to make dinner time slightly more entertaining, I hesitantly asked what people would think about only eating the things we liked for dinner. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall as, in a hilarious display of childlike impetuousness, that group of twenty-somethings started shouting “jello!” “slushies!” “pudding!” “ICIIINNGGG!!” and a myriad of other foods generally not considered to be even the tiniest part of a “healthy, well-balanced meal”. Now, I should clarify that the food list we came up with isn’t indicative of our favorite foods, but rather a little bit of what is available in the city and a LOT of what sweet friends and family have sent us in care packages over the past several months. When we were done, our list looked something like this:
- Strawberry jello
- Blue slushies from our kool-aid slushy mix
- Grape kool-aid
- Butterscotch pudding, complements of the Jello company
- Sugar cookies [thank you Jessica King for that mix!] made in our toaster oven
- Cream cheese frosting
- Green squirty-frosting [Thank you Dayton’s Mom!]
- Fat-free Pillsbury vanilla frosting [Thank you Ben’s Mom!]
- Nutella crepes
- Street meat sandwiches [ghetto-fab]
- …fruit salad. I couldn’t help it.
Elated, we decided to call it “Diabeetus Night”, and without further ado divvied up the list, and spread out to divide and conquer like so many cowboys and Indians. There is a sort of secret delight when an adult acts like the five year old child we all sometimes long to be again.
We didn’t even use individual plates-last night as we watched Tom and Jerry on Christy’s laptop, we sat on my kitchen floor [there remains the minor detail that Christy and I have next to no-furniture] with a heap of gangrenous charcoal hockey pucks masquerading as sugar cookies with green frosting, a huge vat of strawberry jello and a bunch of spoons. I felt, for all the world, like those kids from Lord of the Flies must have felt before they started knocking each other off.
I confess, after “course” number four or five, we began to feel a little sick, and had to call off diabeetus night-but never fear, we had slushies for breakfast at our team meeting this morning. ;)
If you’re interested in the inspiration for “diabeetus night”, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kATetEFGEbE