Week 4

About Week 4

Remember what each of us ate in our Food Journals for Week 1? Now the dinner tables have turned as we swap our eating schedules for Week 4. Mike will eat as Kellen, Kellen will eat as Moe, and Moe will eat as Mike. There will be upset and empty stomachs, upset and empty bank accounts, as shopping lists skyrocket and eating habits are pushed to the breaking point. As performers, we will discover who our collaborators really are through what they eat. Consider it Method Acting a la Belt of Fat – and action!

Eating Kellen’s Monday (Mike) (4.8.13)

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This is the bulk of my food intake for Monday. It makes me laugh and sneer in fits. If you’ve looked at my Food Journal from Week 1, you should know–this just ain’t enough sustenance for this large human being. Except this is the challenge, isn’t it? I have a checklist that comprises the dietary world of Kellen each day for six days. A recipe, a record, a script.

Do I stretch the four glasses of water over the course of the day?

Should I play with the cadence of chocolate before almonds? Coffee at night?

What’s stopping me from eating every, single thing on this table in one swallow and starving myself for the rest of the day?

When there are closed parentheses on your food data for a day, your guts feel claustrophobic.

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Take the example above–three strawberries. Three. I have an ENTIRE container of strawberries in the fridge. I could eat an entire container of strawberries. And yet, I can only have three. Three bites, in my parlance. Sweet Jesus.

I can picture Kellen eating these with gustatory satisfaction, slow and rambling in the best way, while reading a book at four in the afternoon. A nibble with every turn of the page. Slow fingers lingering on a page mirroring slow fingers finding a new berry from the bowl.

See that experience next to my own. I sit staring at these strawberries as if they are the last rations in a fallout shelter. From a logistical point of view, I should eat one every hour on the hour to keep my stomach psychologically full. If I don’t, I will starve. If I starve, I will think of mortality. If I think of mortality, I will panic. If I panic, I will pop each of these suckers into my mouth whole and swallow them like a red ellipsis.

This is not the way to eat.

Like speed-eating, this week has stripped a layer of joy from my meals. Yes, I am eating new things as a new person. It is exciting to take on another diet and explore a person/collaborator through their stomach. It opens up new avenues of perception and trust. Except I already miss me and my food–my habits, my chewing, my rhythms.

Five more days.

When Moe EATS Mike’s Monday

Had such a headache today. Still do. Living the caffeine dream. It was great shopping for these items at Pathmark yesterday, I felt like a secret agent on a covert mission, none of these items belong to me, I wanted to say, they belong to Mike. But they don’t give a shit about Mike and how do I explain to the man who who’s holding my box of Honey Bunches of Oats that really… those aren’t mine. Because they are and even though Mike ate this three weeks ago what matters is that I eat it now. This food nourished him, fueled him, made him sleepy, feel fat, feel healthy, satisfied, comforted and healed him. It wasn’t until thirty minutes ago that I realized I missed the Jimmy John’s sub. In my opinion I ate a lot of food today. And missing the sub was a small blow to my ego as someone who thinks they are generally bad ass then fucks up and realizes he forgets something important. I’ll just add the sub tomorrow to what I’m eating. I just can’t help think that three weeks ago…this was Mike’s Monday. These are his decisions and choices, regrets and accomplishments, I get to take for granted. He choose these foods. I didn’t. In someway that’s liberating. I wonder does this bring me any closer to Mike, who I’ve known for six years. If these were the foods of a stranger would I know more. Would the world be a kinder and more understanding place if we had to literally eat the food of another human being each day and digest their pain and transfer knowledge and love? I wonder these things and the thought of a jimmy johns sub makes my stomach hurt and I wish Mike ate one more spoonful of Nutella.

-1 bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats (with 1% milk and a cut banana on top)

-1 banana covered with peanut butter

-5 glasses of water

-2 fish tacos

  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • sriracha sauce
  • italian cheese

-3 spoonfuls of Nutella

-2 spoonfuls of peanut butter

-1 bowl of mashed potatoes with salsa and italian cheese

-1 Eggs in Purgatory (cooked and served in a skillet)

  • 3 eggs
  • pasta sauce
  • green peppers
  • italian cheese
  • 3 corn tortillas

When Moe EATS Mike’s Tuesday

(gchat conversation between Mike and I Tuesday night)

me:  you got me jacked up on coffee son

Michael:  Gooood

me:  naw

I feel sick
just drank the beer
downed the jimmy johns
this is not goof
goooood
= bad
 Michael:  You gotta space it out, son
I’m eating cereal right now
 me:  I can’t space out your insanity
two bread bowls!
who are you!
people were looking at me like I was crazy
 Michael:  a man
what are you?
ha
 me:  naw
a dufus
 Michael:  you are
 me:  a poopus
 Michael:  yep
 me:  then I needed to walk to like fiv emiles
home
 Michael:  you worked it off then
 me:  because I could not take the subway after
 Michael:  or got ready to eat
 me:  I felt too bad
and I still missed the taters

Michael:  heh

I’m hungry
all the time right now
 me:  I want to be hungry
 Michael:  and I’m trying to space my stuff out
otherwise
I will die
 me:  ha
so interesting
 Michael:  for sure
it’s the constraint
I had to have chicken and broccoli with my folks
no beer
no bread
just the main dish
and it was kind of killing me

me:  but did you really HAVE to eat all the bread in TWO bread bowls

 Michael:  or irking the shit out of me
 me:  that’s like 8 slices of bread
and 1/2 a cup of soup!
 Michael:  I did
I did have to
 me:  why?!
then they give you MORE bread
they give you bread with bread!
 Michael:  because it was there, bitch
 me:  that’s not a reason
 Michael:  yes it is
 me:  there’ a bunch of dog shite on the ground
 Michael:  more than enough reason for me
 me:  don’t eat it!
 Michael:  protein, son
 me:  I hate you
 Michael:  I know
and I love it
 me:  I’m laughing uncontrollably
 Michael:  it’s like the human centipede
in some fucked up way
 me:  you did this to me

Michael:  latent centipede

 me:  I showed julia my swollen stomach
she was not happy
 Michael:  ha!
 me:  she demands I hit the gym
it started talking to her
 Michael:  you should man!
 me:  I am
 Michael:  that’s why I eat this much!
 me:  no
that is not why
you ate that
because it was there
and it was free
 Michael:  yes
that too
 me:  I know your midwestern ways
 Michael:  I’m not denying that
 me:  but you’re also bigger than me
 Michael:  that is absolutely the reason too
that too
I weigh just under 210
 me:  which is actually slim for your height

Michael:  work out 2-3 times a week

it is
 me:  these women kept looking at me
as I was eating
 Michael:  I should weigh about 220
 me:  I sat down
ate one
 Michael:  ha
 me:  then started on the others
and she kept looking back
like
look at this fucking guy
and I just wanted to say sorry
and then I got full and threw all the bread in a bag
but I had to take out the POT BELLY sub first
so not only did I eat two bread bowls in front of her
but before I could take my three loaves of bread home
I had to take the sub out of my bag to make room
she was just waiting for me to leave to turn to her friend and go
this asshole

Michael:  I’m laughing out loud right now

beautiful
THAT’S poetry
Rauschenberg had it right
I’m writing the forward to our book with that story in mind
eventually
 me:  this is going on the blog
verbatim
 Michael:  I’m working on my posts right now, in fact
ha
I’m really interested in the restaging methods of the eating
the remixes
the compromises
the orders
it’s like Alison Knowles, but not
 me:  I ate spaghetti at 10am this morning
then honey bunches at 2
 Michael:  !
you poor bastard
 me:  I was hungry and left the box at work
no choice
 Michael:  I am sorry
in one regard
 me:  I need to burn off all these carbs

Michael:  gym it up

I’m doing cardio tomorrow morning
writing
cheese sampling
then mondale
Kellen hooked it up with the cheese
there’s a pastoral store downtown
that I’m getting samples
tasy
tasty*
and fancy
 me:  I don’t even know what the hell tomorrow will bring
I have to wake up and make meatloaf before work
thanks
also oats?
ok
then waffles
 Michael:  ha!
I love it
 me:  somehow
honey bunches
 Michael:  Oh god
it’s so good, isn’t it!
?
I mean, really
 me:  also how the hell did a misc bowl of bran flakes get thrown in your week
 Michael:  I ran out of honey bunches
or I got tired of them
or something

me:  did you buy more after

 Michael:  not sure
 me:  yeah cause the next day you eat two bowls
also when you say a cup of nutella
what the fuck does that mean?
a whole cup?
 Michael:  like a measured out cup
 me:  what did you do with it?
 Michael:  or like 6 bigass spoonfuls
 me:  you ate a cup of nutella?
 Michael:  I ate it over a period of time
nah
spoonfuls
and guesstimated
 me:  AND a cup of peanut butter?
 Michael:  ….yeah
 me:  that’s like half a cup
 Michael:  I can’t help it!
 me:  dear lord
 Michael:  I was on my period
fuck you
 me:  this is insanity
 Michael:  nah
this is reality
 me:  virtual insanity

Michael:  my reality

I really am sorry on one level
and absolutely giddy on another
 me:  I’m not sorry
 Michael:  I mean, imagine if I ate less
 me:  but today I consumed like over 4000 calories
 Michael:  and kept everything the same
I’d dip around 200 like I was in Miami
no good, man
most of these new ten pounds are muscle
I’ve been trying to keep on
 me:  I need to hit the gym asap or I’ll look like I did in miami
 Michael:  you’re welcome
 me:  this is starting to worry me
 Michael:  🙂
You got a gym?
 me:  yeah
the Y
but I need to hit it hard
 Michael:  yeah man
run there
work out
and run back
 me:  my knee is jacked
cant run

Michael:  hmmm

 me:  bike there and bike
bike is broke
bus there and back
 Michael:  swim when there?
or lift?
or both?
fuck
I mean
 me:  yeah gonna use the stationary
and swim
stretch
pilates bitch
 Michael:  you have four more days
what’s four days?
work out for 2 or 3 of those days and you’ll be good
 me:  walk the plank
 Michael:  yup
well, get some sleep
you have a busy day tomorrow
 me:  fuck you
 Michael:  nom nom nom
 me:  ok yeah
you too

Michael:  I love you so much

I really do
your response to my post was wonderful
come on, Moe!
the last two weeks will be a new direction
whatever that is
all right
I’m going to keep writing my posts
and maybe transcribe
we shall see
 me:  eat
live
love
you too
 Michael:  eat
pray
love
ha
 me:  eat shit
fuck
 Michael:  and die
that’s BoF’s motto
eat shit, fuck, and die
 me:  that’s spot on
 Michael:  love you, brother
 me:  love you too

-6 glasses of water

-1 bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats (with 1% milk)

-1/2 box of wheat spaghetti and Ragu Veggie Pasta Sauce

-2 Panera Bread Bowls (1 French Onion, 1 Chicken Noodle)*

– 1 PotBelly turkey sub w/ bacon and all vegetables

-2 cups of black coffee

-1 Left Hand Stout

Eating Kellen’s Tuesday (Mike)

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Bagels, cous cous, coffee. Thank God she had coffee today–strong, black coffee. Yes.

It’s amazing how fast this has become a mind game for me. Normally, I am gung-ho for performative tests of endurance…and I still am for this week. There is something different here though. All of the tests I’ve made for myself over the years have been based on exertion: expelling energy from moving my body. I ate what I needed to fuel these challenges.

Here, this is the opposite case. The challenge is intake–what I put into my body. The activities of daily life, the tasks, haven’t changed. Now, I must take on these challenges with less fuel of a different viscosity and composition than my usual grade.

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This is me at Pastoral, a cheese shop and cafe downtown. Kellen helped me with the artisan cheeses of her day today, and will shepherd (pun intended) me through the week. I ate four slivers of cheese on thin paper and lived in a world for each one. They were great. They were not enough. I ate cous cous at ten that morning out of the steaming pot. These four bits of cheese would have to satiate me until dinner. Egad.

My folks came to visit me today. We went to Weber’s Grill for supper. I ordered a BBQ chicken and a double order of broccoli–the closest approximation to Kellen’s dinner. The complimentary dish of pretzel rolls arrived and I couldn’t eat them. My mother boxed up her pulled pork, offered it to me, and then realized her faux pas.

Would your roommate like it?

Yes, Mom. She would.

Good. It’s best that it not go to waste.

(OhmygodIwantthatmeatsobaditstingsinthebackofmythroat)

Joseph Roach wrote Cities of the Dead that rocked my perception of performance and ritual in culture. In a brutal nutshell, all cultures have archetypal roles that must be played out in conscious (or unconscious) performance to create senses of identity for the culture as a whole and within its individual members. The beauty and darkness of such a phenomenon is that every new generation fills the shoes of the archetypes as the older generation dies off. Each iteration of the culture amplifies, tamps down, loses, or creates aspects of the performance that came before it. In this way, we are all dispensable for the sake of keeping the cultural organism functioning in a performative sense.

I’m playing my archetype of Kellen for this week. I am eating her foods, but I am remixing their order. I am playing her my way. There needs to be a Kellen since Kellen is playing Moe…and there needs to be a Moe since Moe is playing Mike…and there needs to be a Mike since I’m playing Kellen. Round and round we go, filling each other’s guts with the dietary script of another. We’re maintaining the performative balance of our trio.

That doesn’t mean that I enjoy it.

When Moe EATS Mike’s Wednesday

8:45am Wake up.

Eat five spoons of peanut butter.

Make Meatloaf.

It’s 9am.

Oats and pasta sauce meatloaf for an oaf.

Before Courtney comes I need to take a shit.

I take a shower instead.

10:15am Courtney at my door.

We have coffee while I make spaghetti.

You want a little milk?

Yes.

It’s 10:30am

Share meatloaf. It tastes good. What did you put in it?

Oats.

11:00am

Coffee slurped and she goes for a run. I walk to work. Burn baby burn.

12:30pm eat a bowl of cereal. Hey Kate.

Punch the keys, touch your knees. Left my wallet at home.

2:20pm Order Belgian waffles online… cyber waffle iron.

2:40pm I’m feeling sick.

3pm I’m falling apart and I’m trying not to fart.

How am I supposed to drink 3 more cups of coffee?

5pm Waist expands.

6pm Waste expands.

Walk home.

6:30pm Enter Compare Supermarket. Pick up jar of pasta sauce. Forget I still don’t have my wallet.

7:20 Remove cold pasta from bag and microwave with pace picante sauce.

7:30 NEW YORK CITY!

11:00pm Scarf the rest. In desperation something’s are worth wishing for. Find an extra spoonful of Nutella I overlooked two days before. Jenga.

Eating Kellen’s Wednesday (Mike)

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On Day 3, I found desperation–and it comes in a box marked Weetabix. This breakfast biscuit is the equivalent of compressed nuggets of food dust from the bottom of a bag of normal cereal. Adding milk to these suckers also recalled the Conservation of Energy in my mind; Weetabix disintegrates into its constituent parts when soggy. Weetabix is neither created nor destroyed, but merely transferred into a new form of Weetabix.

It was a sad state of affairs.

I did find a loophole today and for that I was grateful. Until this point, Kellen had been rather specific on the amounts and types of food she consumed. So it came as a surprise to see “Carrots and Hummus” on the list today. How many carrots? How much hummus?  I had abided by Kellen’s diet as a devout monk thus far, but here was a chance to exploit the script. I can say with confidence she did not eat an entire bag of baby carrots and a standard tub of hummus on this day three weeks ago…but this was exactly what I did.

My stomach made me do it, I swear. My body is not built like a woman half my weight and two-thirds my height. Autonomic mechanisms overrode the challenge…and perhaps this breakage is where the interest lies in the work. Where do bodies overlap and differentiate themselves? How is the script flipped and at what times in the process?

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There must be assimilation along with breakage. This is a culinary version of Stockholm Syndrome, where I develop a certain fondness towards my captor Kellen. My daily visits to Pastoral epitomize this newfound relationship. I arrived today with a grocery list of artisan cheese samples. The cheesemonger knew me; she was the kind lady who had served me yesterday. She knew Kellen’s story that is my story by proxy. She unwrapped and sliced blocks, wedges, and rolls of cheese for my sampling. There was a self-consciousness of being there (the reason being so damn ridiculous) but at the same time there was a rapport being built with Pastoral by means of this unusual occurrence. I was becoming a regular for this shop, and my body being in this environment exposed me to more glimpses of how Kellen lives and works as well.

I was not only eating food, but eating another eater–her routines, her stories.

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I had dinner with my folks at a family favorite Mexican restaurant in Logan Square. I ate pork tacos and drank Miller Lite thinking about how much I’d rather have had the wet burrito and a cup of coffee as I usually do. It is an exercise in restraint for a field in which most people (read: Americans) have delirious abandon. Once the limitations come down, our hackles raise at rights and freedoms being violated. We get ornery. We have something to work against and keep us sharp and be liberated from when we fight back.

The restraint motivates us to overcome that boundless freedom never can. It is the paradox on the plate for me–I just wish it came in better portion sizes.

When Moe EATS Mike’s Thursday

I’m currently two dozen tater tots, one cup of black tea, four bowls of soup, a bag of fries, and two bowls of honey bunches of oats short of where Mike was three weeks ago today. And I feel full. Really full. I haven’t looked forward to eating since yesterday. It’s having the same effect as when we sped ate. This is not food. I haven’t taken joy in it either. I take that back. The Nutella was certainly a joy. But everything else is slogging through. And I judge everything. I constantly keep saying, “Mike didn’t have eat this. This is too much food.” And muttering why why why? as I ask the cashier at a burger joint if they can put a fried egg on top of my turkey burger. Which they can. You just have to pay for it. This week I’ve been seriously considering… what is the cost? Physically and emotionally of this sport? Aside from an orgasm the biological, emotional, and physical rewards I receive from food are the most primal, intimate, intellectual, and  satisfying I have experienced. Don’t I have a right to explore that identity freely and adventurously as I want? Isn’t it my right to turn food into a fetish? My choice? Well not today. Today is Mike’s choice. Why did he eat three eggs, half a can of tomato sauce with cheese and five corn tortillas for breakfast this morning? I’m not sure anyone can answer that. Because he wanted to? That might be simplest answer. We’re always trying to impose our own sense of right on people. Our sense of happiness. The food I ate this week. It’s not the food that makes me happy. It’s the food that makes Mike happy. And there’s a pain that comes from realizing that what makes someone you care about and love happy is not the same thing that makes me happy. And that’s okay. Put truth in a pot, thrown on a lid, turn up the heat, and watch the lid get cloudy… obscure.  Better to beat it, kneed it, then let it rise like bread. Be gentle. Delicate. Understanding. But don’t work it too much or it will get hard, tough. But still tastes good to someone.

Eating Kellen’s Thursday (Mike)

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Robiola Rochetta, Sarvecchio Parmesean, Asiago Fresco, Manchego Grand Reserve, Praire Breeze…so many exotic names for cow, sheep, and goat’s cheese parading through my mind. It is Thursday and I am guilty for taking so many free samples from Pastoral. I buy slices of as many cheeses off Kellen’s list as I can, and realize that I could have eaten more cheese the other days had I bought it. Good Lord, am I dense–dense, but cheap.

I eat the slices in the Starbucks at Millennium Station. Coffee and cheese with my eyes closed. Chewing. I’m standing in a field in Spain as I swallow the Manchego. A woman next to me asks where Pastoral is and I tell her the address and about my cheeses without hesitation. She thinks I know what I’m talking about, that I’m not some cheese dilettante pulling a Proustian muscle in invoking a sensory memory here in this subterranean artificial corporate cafe. She thinks I’m the real deal, or at least someone who knows what he’s talking about. The feeling is half relishing and half unease in her assumption. If only she knew what I was really doing.

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After my class, I hop the red line to Belmont and the Chicago Dog House. The hole in the wall is corrugated steel and pop art paintings of the Blues Brothers. I order a Veggie Chicago Dog and I regret it–the Chicago garden toppings cover the veggie-filled casing that Kellen dubbed anus lips as best it can. On the flip side, I get an order of Frips, which I believe is a portmanteau for fried and chips. For me, it’s another word for delicious. 

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Like the Starbucks incident, there is another performative moment here. The Dog House is a small-quarters establishment, and all three customers (myself included) are first-timers. I ask for the ketchup bottle from the booth next to me, and the guy there starts talking about Kanye West and the prospect of ladies in the area. Soon, the third man turns and joins the conversation, speaking on the nature of gold diggers and how rad these frickin’ frips are.

I nod and smile. If only they knew why I’m here. Does it matter at this point? Kellen’s script pushed me to get a veggie dog, but the place and time was of my choosing. This small one-act play waited for me to play out and blow away like so many balled-up diner napkins into the evening.

Sometimes the process can be magic.

Eating (and Drinking) Kellen’s Friday (Mike)

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Only eating blueberries before a three-hour performance rehearsal? I’m game! No, no I’m not, but I have to be. A performance rehearsal for me is intense physical movement and spitting lines like buckshot over and over again. My cohort worries that I’m pushing myself too hard. They think I’m losing weight. I think I’m losing my mind (just a little). I love the existence of coffee in the studio and the fact that I can have two cups of it. I remember all my performance lines but am having trouble stringing words together for anything else.

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There is reprieve. There is chicken salad and greens. I had to change Kellen’s script from Dominick’s to Trader Joe’s–ditto the fact that I frankenstein a cous cous salad together with parts of a chicken salad wrap. I feel a pang of sorrow as I toss the whole wheat wrap (not in Kellen’s script, no way no how) into the compost bin at Columbia. The Midwest in me wants to self-flagellate with my plastic salad spork but I hold back. Just eat, Mike. Eat what you have and be happy that you have it.

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I met Kellen in her studio for the final cheese tasting. In some way, it was like the film Being John Malkovich where John Cusack’s character finally meets the titular person whose head he has been living in. Kellen and I had a conversation about cheese- and art-making, discussed the moral implications of ambergris, and then decided to have some drinks in the South Loop.

The reason? I needed to drink her Friday and she needed to drink Moe’s too.  

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A thing to know about Kellen is that she was a bartender in Texas. Three weeks ago, she flew to Texas to be part of the swan song for the haunt she tended–all alcohol needed to vacate in stomachs or car trunks by the end of that weekend. Unfortunately, that weekend happened to be part of her Food Journal from Week 1.

She had a rip-roarin’ time for Friday night. I had to take it on the chin in a performative context.

I have to admit, it was good having her right there next to me as I ordered three shots of Fireball and a Colorado Bulldog (i.e. White Russian + Coke). She gave me guidance. Motivation.

The bartender slid a Fireball shot to Kellen to which I slid back in front of me.

No, ma’am, this was all on me.

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Three hours of surreal conversation later, I ended up back at my apartment with three very pedestrian Miller Lites I had to drink. My roommate Michelle, another fine artist, captured me in my shining performative moment of this week. No holds barred, free-wheeling drunk, and air-drumming in a positive rage, I give you now, dear Belt of Fat Viewer, my monologue on performance, life, humor, and alcohol.

All of this at the criminal time of 7:38 in the evening. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.

Eating (and Drinking) Kellen’s Saturday (Mike)

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I will show you fear in a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans.

I am on the bus to teach a Saturday morning class after a wild night that was Kellen’s night…but is now my night as well. My head hurts. I’m hungry. I just want more–more to keep me sharp and awake and feeling myself again.

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I feel ridiculous at Thai Spoon ordering precisely one cabbage and pork egg roll. The kid at the register tells me it will take five to ten minutes. I sit by an aquarium and watch exotic fish eat flecks and weave between fake coral. The egg roll arrives, and I have to restrain myself from opening the bag and sliding the egg roll down my throat Kobayashi-style.

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Then on to Oysy. Kellen had Ahi Poke, which I was at a loss for in my proximity and my wallet. A wikipedia search later, I find an equivalent (or thereabouts) in tuna tartare with tricolored caviar in a garnished glass. I enjoy sushi, but have never had anything quite close to this raw concoction.

It was quite filling and good. I felt good.

I sat at the sushi bar in silence as I ate, lost in thought about what the hell I was doing with my life and why I worked so hard to meet Kellen’s checklist. Other people had day jobs and families and girlfriends. What did I have? A semi-full stomach…a performative belt of fat? This needed to stop.

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However, it couldn’t stop. Not just yet. There was still Exchequer, where I met some old friends for dinner.

Now, why can’t you eat the rice and green beans?

Because Kellen didn’t eat that.

Who’s Kellen again?

My performance art collaborator.

The one who got you drunk?

No, she didn’t get me drunk, per se. One of her days three weeks ago did.

………..

I cut my chicken and fork it into my mouth. I know, I say. It’s crazy.

What’s crazier is that my coup de grâce is a repeat performance from the night before–drinks and lots of them.  An Irish Car Bomb, five beers, tequila shots with pineapple chasers. Thankfully, there was no Michelle with a camera to capture my performance.

No glory there…no guts either. I was full and empty at the same time. I had pushed through this week, taken as much Kellen as I could take, and promptly turned into Mike again at 12:01 Sunday morning.

I ate the rice and green beans. And then a donut.

Why? Because I could. Sweet Jesus, because I could.

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Eating Moe’s Week : Reflections (Kellen)

Alright. I’m going to be real honest here. I loathe this week.

This week started on a productive, baller note: I hosted my best friend & her girlfriend in Chicago, ate some sinful bread and confessed like never before with these two fellas, and did two performances back to back. Starting on Tuesday when my alarm wakes me at an ungodly hour of six something to get to the cheese walk-in on time, I was already exhausted. Fast-forward to Thursday morning where I was still not caught up with sleep, schoolwork, and even a hello to my pets and husband, I was overtly exhausted. Adding in the fact that I couldn’t control what I was eating all day? My opinion on this week was way different than I expected: I think I hated it more than speed eating.

So first thing… I had to make a huge pot of lentils and rice before my work week began. This was super promising. It foretold the week in a way that, hey, no matter how busy school and work and life will drag you through to Friday night, at least you’ll have a comforting, spicy pot of soup to not have to think about eating. And for Monday-Wednesday, that rang true… a little bit. Here’s a taste of Moe’s week, with my interjections and comments sliced in between…

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL MONDAY

-Water, 1/2 cup Quaker oats, golden raisins, cinnamon, salt, black tea

-A handful of roasted almonds, dried cranberries, and dried apricots

-A cup of rice and lentil soup with extra extra hot sauce

-Slice of cheese pizza

-Coffee

-Raw Broccoli and carrot sticks with vegetable dip

-Smuckers natural peanut butter and strawberry jelly on wheat bread

-Green tea, Water

-Water, 2 Motrin

First thing: loved the savory oatmeal with the dried fruits. Reminds me of camping, of my 200 mile bike trip. I ate oatmeal off a campfire everyday on that trip. The way Moe prepared this was super delightful– a bit salty, with some cinnamon, dried cranberries and apricots in lieu of golden raisins in which I could not find here in Chicago (bullshit, I know).

Which brings me to my first meditation of this week:
LOCATION AND PROXIMITY TO FOOD.

The Whole Foods is in the suburbs near my honey’s work, so he was able to go by car and try to find the obscure things our Dominicks neighborhood grocery store didn’t stock. And there’s a Trader Joe’s downtown, right across from my school, so luckily I could walk there and find things like lemon curd pretty easily. Beyond this, I began thinking of how important being close in proximity to certain stores reigns supreme to how and what we buy. If my neighborhood store was in Rogers Park, I bet you I’d be shopping at a Mexican fruteria / carneceria. If I lived further south in say, Lakeview, I might have access to more of a yuppie-type store, or… maybe the closest thing to me would be a Walgreens. Not being able to find golden raisins in this city though? Are you kidding, Chicago? I was super surprised at that.

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL TUESDAY

-water, two bowls of cheerios with unsweetened almond milk, black tea

-cup of rice, lentil soup (green lentils, celery, carrot, onion) with extra extra hot sauce

-3, 6oz glasses of water

-cranberry apple muffin, coffee with a little whole milk

-one Jamaican Jerk Chicken patty

-A small side of fried sweet plantains

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-Water, black tea,

-Three big spoonfuls of Smucker’s Natural Creamy peanut butter, each dipped in honey, a 1/4 block of Kraft extra sharp cheddar

– Two 8 oz glasses of water

Two bowls of Cheerios was fun. Started off my day right, I think. Eating Kraft cheese was a crazy thought to me, though I ponyed up at the grocery store and bought it to accompany the orphaned cheeses I’ve been taking home with me since Easter… gruyere, 6-year cheddar, fresh chevre from Champaign… ah well, you still have your place to be in my fridge, block of Kraft. a) I used to eat you, a LOT. I used to love the fucking shit out of you. Just because you have 5-year cheddar from Wisconsin in your fridge doesn’t mean you can’t also have a block of Kraft. You are not better than Kraft cheese. In fact, this cheese made you who you are. and b) My father-in-law worked for your factory for thirty-plus years, Kraft cheese. You still are cheese, cheese. Like I say, I am not better than you now that I am an artisanal cheesemonger in the big city.

But this cheese is SO not as good as the Widmer’s I came home with from work! It’s so bad to my taste buds, in fact, that I don’t want to eat any more of it. I wonder what type of milk they use for this cheese– obviously cow– but to make this much of this type of cheese, to be distributed around the country for cheap? What, is it made from powdered milk? What type of rennet separates the curd from the whey? I always wonder about the label on blocks of cheese like this that say “Made from Real Milk!” Really? If you have to label your food that, are you lying? Are any other brands that don’t have this label made from something overtly fake? Where is the legitimacy in this label, or the fact that we don’t label anything in this country?

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL WEDNESDAY

1/3 a cup Quaker oats, water, Golden raisins, cinnamon, black tea

-a handful of honey oat pretzel twists eaten by dipping in peanut butter

-whole wheat everything bagel, toasted, with turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo & mustard

-Coffee with a little whole milk

-a small bag of cheddar goldfish

-a small bag of trail mix, unsalted, with yogurt bits

-A bag of plain m&ms

-A cup of white rice with lentil soup (carrot, lentils, celery, onion) w/ extra extra hot sauce

– a tablespoon of lemon curd

-three cups of Water

Okay. Dinner eaten out of a vending machine. I get it. I used to eat this way more often than not. Undergrad. Late night printing sessions in the darkroom. Suddenly I catch a whiff of the stop bath, acrid and sulfurous, which somehow yells at me for not having anything in my stomach as we reach the forth or fifth hour of working straight. I go to the closest thing to me– a vending machine– and get peanut M&Ms, trail mix, Sun Chips, really anything that is in there that could pass for the healthiest of the lot. Eating Moe’s decision of Goldfish, trail mix with yogurt bits, & plain M&Ms put me back in childhood. When was the last time you ate Goldfish? For a snack during standardized testing in grade school, handed to us in a Dixie Cup? Plain M&Ms remind me of road trips and food eaten in a gas station. All these recollections coming to me made me realize how emotional the act of snacking really is. Barry & I rarely have snack food around the house– we normally will have a batch of salsa made and already-opened tortilla chips waiting for if we are dying of hunger… and of course carrots and salad dressing and fruit. But snack food like this? A rarity in my life.

And lemon curd! I had never had it, as well as the Jamaican jerk chicken.

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL THURSDAY

-2 eggs over easy with salt and pepper, one piece of wheat bread, 2 cups black tea, water (9:30am)

-veg lomein with fried rice, small wonton soup with hot mustard, 2 cups of water (2:30pm)

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-one large red velvet whoopie pie, coffee (7:00pm)

-A slice of cheese pizza, a Bag of peanut butter pretzels (11pm)

The most excited thing about this day was the leftover slice of cheese pizza sitting in the studio fridge. Couldn’t find a whoopie pie to save my life (let alone a red velvet one), yet I have high hopes that I might find on by the end of the week. It’s Chicago, city of sweets! There’s gotta be whoopie pies around me, what with them being super ‘in’ right now (cupcakes? out!)

But the extremely expensive carb overload of Chinese food? Forget it. My stomach was feeling pretty sensitive this day, and here I go and eat takeout from a restaurant that doesn’t have a “We use no MSG” promise on their menus. As I’m eating the lomein, the fried rice, and the soup (and hating Moe / yet trying to love the vegetables at least), my friend pops her head into my studio and says she ate at this Chinese joint a week ago and felt terrible afterwards. A low blow.

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL FRIDAY

-5 pancakes made from Bob’s Red Mill butter milk pancake mix (1 cup of almond milk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil) w/ lemon curd and honey

-3 pieces of tandoori chicken w/ white rice & spicy green and tamarind sauce

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-goat cheese with chopped apricots, pistachio, and honey with 8 rosemary crackers and 12 oz of Brooklyn Brewery #2 Ale.

-5 pieces of dragon roll, 1 spicy tuna hand roll, 4 pieces Kansai Style Pressed Cube Sushi w/ salmon avocado roll, 3 pieces of crunchy eel avocado roll, hot sake

-Victory Rye beer, Blonde ale

1  pretzel cone from ample hills creamery with Guiness ice cream

This is when I really begin to make loopholes for myself, my geographic location, and my shoestring budget. I couldn’t afford getting sushi and Indian, so I bought both at the grocery store. Tandoori chicken in a microwavable dinner for one? Yes please! Dominicks pre-made sushi? Eh… I trust the vegetable one. And Guiness ice cream? Forget it. I instead buy Ben & Jerry’s red velvet cake to mend the unfound ties from the previous days. Oh, and I buy a six pack of Guinness since, hell, I can definitely find that at Dominicks. The beers too. I couldn’t find the Victory Ale or the Brooklyn Lager but instead opted for very similar types that would stand-in as the local-ish Chicago equivalent. I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to make things work too much in these circumstances. I justify all these loopholes with the thought that shit, I wouldn’t be here accompanying Mike at this South Loop bar with Rhianna playing on the loud ass speakers if it weren’t because Moe drank two small-batch beers. Enjoy the suds, damnit!

MOE’S FOOD JOURNAL SATURDAY

-Huevos Rancheros, 2 cups of coffee, 3 glasses of water

-Gulab Jamun, Cham Cham, chai,

-Wine tasting at local wine shop

– Half a carrot cake doughnut at Doughnut Plant

 ARUGULA AND PARMESAN SALAD

LIGHT TEMPURA OF GREEN BEANS  
sweet hot mustard
CALVES LIVER  
sherry creamed onions, spinach, roasted potatoes2 glasses Cabernet, 4 glasses of water
 -Death Of A Ladies Man rye, maple, laphroaig 10 yr, scotch, lemon and tobacco bitters

– Self Portrait cilantro infused tequila, habanero, agave and lemon
– S.M. Jenkins Cocktail gin, pimm’s no.1, cucumber, lime, velvet, falernum and ginger ale

-1/2 a chicken breasts and 1/2 cup Marconi and cheese

-1 glass of water

At this point in time, I have no earthly clue where I’m going to get calves liver, gulab jamun, a wine tasting, and all these crazy cocktails, but I’m going to try my damndest. Calves liver though, seriously? It’s like, how can someone really afford to eat like this?

Sin Eating Monologues (End of Week 4)

The Eaters from Belt of Fat devour the sins of another member and deliver the digested words in the most truthful of monologues.

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