Eating like an animal

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When I think about

How I eat

And what I eat

And what I’m supposed to eat,

I think of this children’s book I read to my son.

It’s a story about a grandmother,

Living in the


Who places baskets of


Outside her door for the

Forest creatures.

In the straw baskets,

Lined with checkered cloth,

Are rosy apples,

Orange carrots with green tops,

Corncobs with the husk peeled down to the knob.

Bursting heads of grass-green lettuce,

Rolling cobalt and burgundy berries.

And to the

Deer and moose

And squirrels and raccoons,

All these vegetables and fruits are a


No protein,

Carbs, or


In the form of bread, cheese, milk or meat.

Just fruit and vegetables for these animals.

After they eat,

The animals in the book are

Drowsy and sated.

Vegetables and fruit have been

More than enough.

It occurs to me

That I am

An animal.

That I have muscles and

Bones and

Blood and


Like those forest creatures.

I am more

The same

Than different.


Why can’t I subsist on what these

Animals eat?

It must sound ridiculous.

Getting my nutritional information from an

Illustrated children’s book.

But I’m thinking about


And requirement.

The experts say this,

And the experts say that.

I want to stop listening.

Who tells animals what to eat?

I want to eat like an animal

Because I am an animal.


Garlic soup in Prague

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“What is something you miss about

Living in Europe?”


My first reminiscence is


In Prague for the blustery month of January

I discovered garlic soup:

Russet beef broth with tiny chunks of garlic mince swirling around,

Warm, gooey strings of melted white cheese,

Small coral-colored squares of ham.

One guy in the class I was taking

Ate so much garlic soup,

That he exuded a

Garlicky reek through the pores of his skin,

And I swear that,

Like a skunk,

When he got excited or animated,

His body released a puff of the odor.

We all avoided sitting next to him in class,

And someone eventually had to speak to him.

Perhaps one of the instructors who had lived there for awhile.

Riding the coach away from Prague to my next destination,

I had packed up some groceries for the journey and,

Not knowing Czech well,

I had accidentally bought two large bottles of


Rather than

Still water.

(I love that phrase,

“Still water.”

It calls up calm, deep, cobalt pools in

Pine-forest clearings.

And “sparkling” is a lovely word, too.)

I forced myself to drink it for hydration–

The merits of which I doubted.

It tasted to this American like

Diet Coke without the flavor.

Now, finally,

Nearly a decade later,

I understand sparkling water.

It’s the

The post-pop,



The Europeans get it, of course.

“Sparkling or still?” they ask in restaurants.

“Sparkling,” I would say now.

With a lime squeeze.