Open letter to me at age 25

Hey Debbie,

So! How’s 1989 going?  I know that you think there’s nothing left to learn, but I’m writing to you from 2015 to stop you from making the same mistakes that this Debbie made.

First the bad news: There are no flying cars, and they still haven’t invented comfortable high heels.

They don’t call ’em killer heels for nothing…

But the good news is they’re done making “Police Academy” movies.

Never again will a child go to the movies and be at risk of seeing this.

Now take a deep breath, because I have a shocker.  In a few years you’ll have a baby.  And stranger still, it won’t be an accident, it’ll be on purpose.

katey duke grdns

Is this kid awesome or what?

The baby will turn out to be awesome.  Known as The Kid, this child will give you constant boatloads of joy, and only infrequent, fleeting moments of aggravation.

Becoming a mother will deepen your interest in cooking.  You’ll become pretty good at it.  In fact, your fascination with food and love of writing will result in your own culinary column in The Herald-Sun.  Don’t laugh — it’s true, I promise.

Now for the advice.

Pre-packaged and fast foods may seem convenient and a good idea right now, but don’t do it.  The Kid will possess a well-rounded palate, be curious about new flavors, and open to experimentation.  Take advantage of this.  Serve real food.

Just say no.

Petey will develop mild high blood pressure.  You will be tempted to cut salt from his diet.  It’s unnecessary.  Your husband’s sodium intake will be drastically slashed by doing one simple thing: ruthlessly limit processed food.

Seasoning food while cooking, and using the salt shaker with restraint is only about 10 percent of one’s sodium intake.  All the rest comes from pre-fab foods, like soda, canned soup, and even jarred spaghetti sauce.


This stuff will happily see you dead.

So cut it out!

You’ve now been overweight for half your life.  And having a baby only makes the problem worse.  At one point you will weigh almost 250 pounds.

But as I write this, we’ve been at a healthy weight for 3 years now.  Believe it or not, we go down to 122 pounds, and wear a size 4.  Feel free to do your happy dance here.

It doesn’t come from a trendy diet or exercising like a maniac.  And there was no surgery involved.

You’ll finally crack the code and figure out what will work for you for the rest of your life.  Crazy diets may get you there, but are of no help once the goal is reached.  You need something you can live with.  Eliminating potato salad, pasta, cake, and other faves only creates a gut-busting time bomb.

You can eat this and still fit into your jeans.

Mindfulness, moderation, and consistency are the keys.  Eat healthfully whenever you can.  If the more nutritious alternative is just as tasty, then eat that.  Don’t ban treats; just be cognizant of everything that goes into your mouth.  Never take the whole bag of chips into the living room and stuff your face, zombie-like.

Balm for the soul.

The forest behind your house is beautiful and has miles of trails; get your hands on some rubber boots, grab the dog, put on some music, and go.  Don’t wait a quarter of a century before exploring.  No matter what’s going on, it’s impossible to be stressed out back there.  Before you know it, you’ll be going three miles at a stretch, and loving every step.  Besides, regular exercise works off the occasional Milky Way.

Stop wasting food.  You’re only cooking for two, so a 4-pound meatloaf doesn’t make sense.  Keep your fridge cleaned out and well-organized.  It will be easier to see what you have and eat it before it goes wonky.

Use your freezer for something other than Eskimo Pies and batteries.  Instead of tossing that one serving left from supper, freeze it, and have Petey take it to work for lunch.  If you don’t use an entire bag of frozen veg, put what’s left in a zip-top bag and add subsequent extras to it.  Soon you’ll have enough for a meal.  But please, always label and date the bags.  You may think you’ll remember what it is, but frozen, all food looks alike.

Pick the brains of all the good cooks you know, and one day people will ask you for advice.

Oh yeah, and Debbie?  About that mullet.

Ditch it.

But everybody was doing it.

Thanks for your time.

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