Mushy Peas Please

Mushy Peas Please

Exhibit A:

 Cream of Wheat 

Cream of Wheat 

Exhibit B:

 Rice Pudding 

Rice Pudding 

Exhibit C:

 Pea Soup 

Pea Soup 

If any of these look appealing to you, I’m sorrynotsorry to say, but you might have more in common with Mr. Gray than you think! Mr. Gray (most of the time) totally digs these softer delicacies— and shocker here– but I just happen to LOVE them too, the gloppier the better *fist pump*. Flan, yes ‘mon. Tapioca and Bread pudding, lay it on me. J to the ELLO. 

My grandpa, the OG, (“original gangster” for you anti-slangers) hated al dente veggies, particularly asparagus and would constantly complain at restaurants and specify how he did not want them cooked. I was confused by this as a teen, but fast forward to today— I totally feel ya Gpa. I don’t know when barely cooked veggies became on trend, but if I wanted to be a panda eating bamboo, I would have let the server know. 

Look, I get it, I’m probably in the minority here alongside me and my senior peeps; I know mushy food is not everyone’s cup of tea and you are likely one of those people who’s totally grossed out by weird or slimy textures, but maybe they are onto something here. Soft/well-cooked food is definitely easier on the digestive system. Convinced you yet to switch teams? No, okay fine fine….stay basic…it’s cool. 

I don’t mean to generalize seniors, but they do gravitate towards soft food for an array of reasons: they simply like the texture/taste (like me), the food is nostalgic and elicits fond memories, and/or for those with dentures, sensitive teeth/jaws, it’s just plain easier to chew.

But the main takeaway here is, whether Mr. Gray fits the senior mold, or whether he’s a crunchy-food rebel, LET MY PEOPLE CHOOSE. 

Tell ’em Moses. 

Let them eat their food mushy if they want. Let them eat it al dente if they like it that way. Let them eat it on a train, or a plane, medium rare or well-done. As adults, we all have CHOICE. Sadly, due to skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home) constraints and other systematic issues, our society flops with food choice for Mr. Gray. Sadly, we treat seniors like children:

  EAT THIS OR STARVE!!! 

EAT THIS OR STARVE!!! 

Story Time:

A few weeks ago I ran into Mr. Gray at a bar (no this is not the beginning of a joke). Ok, we didn’t “run into each other.” He was sitting next to me and after the football game ended, I started up a mildly forced conversation when he was about to leave. Lucky for meeeeee he stayed and we talked.  

  Oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy cutie. Come here often? 

Oh heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy cutie. Come here often? 

We started chatting about about his mother who recently passed away and her experience in nursing homes. What struck me most about the conversation was how he focused on the meal she ate before she died — a very bittersweet story for me; he talked about how excited she was to have a lobster roll since she was often served rubbery chicken. Now, look, lobster rolls are melt in your mouth delish, but no wonder she was elated — this poor woman (and one of many thousands mind you) was STUCK EATING DRIED UP NASTY ASSSSS CHICKEN ON THE REGULAR (‘scuse my French). 

Mr. Gray said his mom had so much trouble chewing it that he nicely asked the staff to fix it (yeah good luck with that one). So not only did she have to eat tasteless cardboard food, but then it was like passing a kidney stone to just to try to eat her darn dinner. Forget the food police, this should be plain illegal! Come on man—elderly folks have EARNED the right to eat what they want and to eat well….not the old rotisserie chicken scraps that I feed to my cat. If anything, seniors should be served more flavorful food to make up for desensitizing taste buds. 

Look, all I can say is if after years of experiencing delicious cuisines – sushi, truffle pasta, etc., and I’m forced to eat that crap, this will 100% be me:

Mushy Peas Please

I’ll be starting a revolution up in dat assisted living- BELIEVE THAT. 

You might be thinking, is this post really all about food? Yes, yes it is. Why? Because food is a big DEAL. We love food so much we post pictures of it, we blog about it, we plan dates around it. It’s something that matters a lot to most people- and not just because it sustains us or we try to use it to maintain our health, but because we just plain enjoy eating. It’s one of life’s most simple pleasures!

Mr. Gray is no exception. In fact, old age is the time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor (literally!). My nanny used to eat the you know what out of Nutty Buddies, and I didn’t get it till now. You know what? She was enjoying herself, and she earned it. I’m not proposing seniors eat junk all day, but I’m simply highlighting food choice. To force grown adults (extra grown) to regress to childhood roles where mom forces us to eat all of our brussel sprouts, well that’s just not cool. I’m def not okay with that and when you’re 85, you won’t be either. 

So today’s moral of the story, kids, is this— mushy or not, Mr. Gray should be able to his peas (and anything else), just the way he PLEASE.  SAME AS YA’LLLLL. *Drops Mic*

 

The Force is with Mr. Gray

The Force is with Mr. Gray

My father gave my brother several creative nicknames as a kid. If you were a parent of a super common name like Michael in the ’80s/’90s, you likely felt this pain: They would yell out his name in the playground: “MIIICHAAEEEL!!!!!!” 

26 heads would turn….none of them his.  

So my dad came up with a few nicknames that to this day will whip my brother’s head around faster than you can say ContinuingCareRetirementCommunity. They are “Jake!” and “Obi-Wan!” Seems random right? Well, sorta. Jake was indeed random, but it did the job. The more appropriate nickname, however, was “Obi-Wan”— you know, as in this dude:  

  Obi-Wan Kenobi:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” 

Was my dad a huge Star Wars fan? Not particularly. Did my brother think he was a wise sage who by nature of simply being himself KNEW EV-ER-Y-THANG? OHHHH yeeeeeah. Was he typically wrong? Bingo! So while my younger brother Michael lacked the wisdom he thought he was blessed with at the ripe age of 10, Mr. Gray on the other hand, has got it in spades. At least, that’s my not-so-humble opinion ;o)

Lemme explain…

Seniors know things. They just KNOW. Kind of like mothers know if their kids are sick or women get an eerie feeling if their men are cheating. It makes sense though if you think about it. They have the most life experience, so they must have a deeper and wiser perspective on most topics, from romance, to health, to family life.

The issue is, many of us (myself included as I will show you), don’t often realize it or take advantage of this wisdom and acquired knowledge. Instead, we hear what they saybut we don’t listen. Lemme present a husband/wife analogy with which we are all TOO familiar. 

Ladies want their husbands to listen to them like this:

The Force is with Mr. Gray

“Go ahead. I am hanging on your every word honey.” 

And luckily, our husbands give us that undivided attention. 

Sike. You know it’s really more like this: 

The Force is with Mr. Gray

“Can YOU BE-LIEVE Suzie didn’t even ASK me if she could borrow my pen and just….” I wonder if I should trade Ben Roethlisberger this week for mmmmmm burger. Actually…Doublebaconcheesburger. Beer WITH my doublebaconcheesburger. 

Like hubbies illustrate to their wifey’s on the regular, when Mr. Gray speaks, we “youngsters” are physically present (gold star for us!), but that’s about it. We see him. We hear him. Buuuuut let’s be honest, we don’t really care what’s being said and the message doesn’t really stick. However, we DO care about feigning interest to be polite, because anything else would be, well, rude. Unfortunately, this nodyourheadupanddown interaction is pretty useless and a disservice to both parties; We are passing by these stories, ideas, and opinions like stale toast, when they really are gems– Jennifer Aniston damn that engagement ring is huge she must need finger insurance GEMS!!!

Don’t believe me? Just watch…

“Judge, I’d like to take the stand and make my opening argument against MYSELF for the mistreatment of Mr. Gray.”

Circa 1997, my grandpa was in his mid 80’s and always had unique ideas. As a teenager, I definitely was guilty of the senior “yeahyeah okok suresure that’s nice” with him. I loved him dearly and knew he was smart, but I still had that subconscious he’s just being an old fogey reaction when he told me his wacky ideas. I’ll never forget being in the bathroom we shared (he lived with us) when he went on a mini-lecture about the harms of chemicals in regular deodorant. And then he whips out his “natural” crystal deodorant that looked like a piece of kryptonite and/or stalactite yanked from Luray Caverns. 

The Force is with Mr. Gray

Let us pause…………………………………       ………………………………………………     …………………………………………………………………….. …………………………      ……………………………………….     …………………………………………………    ……………………………………..  ………………………………….

Yes, that’s right folks. THAT is basically what he was recommending I switch to from my smooth, white, lovely, normal, Dove deodorant. MR. GRAY YOU CRAYCRAY. My 16 year old self laughed and said something along the lines of “got it Grandpa, I’m sure it’s AWESOME and I’m so worried (not) about chemicals going into my armpit. Thanks but no thanks. You do you booboo.” 

Well, KARMAKARMACHAMELEON. Look who (me) develops chemical friggin’ sensitivity 12 years later? Yep, now I’m a synthetic fragrance free fanatic. I even give people the squinty eye and shake my head when they wear strong cologne or lotions saying to myself “Uh, can’t you see you’re killing yourself slowly and me as well? OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!!!”

Luckily, there is growing selection of these products today and I’m always on the lookout. Well lookey what I pass by in the grocery store last week:

  The crystal and all his crystal friends. 

The crystal and all his crystal friends. 

Yup, there she is in all her glory. Not only would I use this deodorant today. I would ROCK THIS ROCK. Today, many people are aware that chemicals, including those in our deodorant, impact our endocrine system, contributing to cancer, and all these other horrible things. But back 20 years ago, we didn’t know. No one was talking about that stuff. There was no Dr. Oz. No organic aisle at Giant. Fools we were….but Mr. Gray is no fool. He knew. MY Mr. Gray knew. 

He used his good ole noodle and thought to himself: “Hmmmm….chemicals….on the body…on the body means in the body…A+B=C…this is not a good combination.” 

DUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

But that’s the beauty of seniors! As we are all caught up in the sheepish do what everyone else is doing rat race, they are capable of and see the value in taking a step back to evaluate; they are able to think about things through a unique lens and arrive at common sense conclusions. What my grandpa realized about his deodorant wasn’t rocket science — but it was WISE. 

Shoulda listened. 

Well, judge, guess I am guilty as charged. But I promise I will never again doubt Mr. Gray’s wisdom. Why? Because he’s got a crystal ball and it showed him to use crystal deodorant.