July 13, 2009

A Moral Dilemma

Have you ever stayed at someone's house who abides by a completely different moral code than you? I know from experience that such visits can be awkward, uncomfortable, and downright distressing.

I love my in-laws, but it's hard for me to stay in their house because of their lifestyle. Worse than people who swear up a storm and grow marijuana in their walk-in closets, my husband's parents are committed to eating food that lacks preservatives, calories, and saturated fat, three things that I cannot live without.

The other afternoon, when my mother-in-law passed out snacks to my kids, I held out my hand too. I hoped for something with frosting, but got instead a handful of birdseed.





"It's trail mix," my mother-in-law explained when I cocked my head in confusion.

I was about ready to be a good sport and sample the pellets when a bad word slipped off my mother-in-law's tongue. "It's all natural," she said.

When my mother-in-law turned away, I tossed the sparrow chow into the bushes.

My penchant for food that is artificially flavored and individually wrapped forced me break house rules and hide a variety of sugared snacks in my suitcase and behind a plunger under the bathroom sink.

Yesterday, Cortlen caught me eating a Twinkie in the shower stall.

"Come in here and close the door," I whispered. "Quick!"

I reluctantly handed my son one of the mini-cakes and told him to eat quietly. As an added precaution, I turned on the overhead fan when we opened the wrappers.

61 comments

Lindy said...

Are twinkies not supposed to be eaten in the bathroom? Ever?

The fan and an added cough for good measure always help stiffle the wrapper.....just sayin.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I totally fear the day that my pediatrician says, "your child is allergic to High Fructose Corn Syrup". Or Red Dye. Because, you know, the only REALLY good tasting stuff must have those 2 ingredients.

Oh, sure sure the other stuff is healthier and it's PRETTY good. But let's face it. If we're going to shave a few years off our lives, it might as well be the ones at the end. Now, while we still have teeth, we should dig in!

Jennifer said...

I go in the basement with the "good stuff." You crack me up.

Christa said...

reminds me of the scene in Baby Mama when she starts chowin down on the Hostess mini cakes.

I have friends like that, I go to there house and I want something to drink and my only option is water...oh come on atleast have some Kool-aid on hand!

christine said...

I know people like that. Not fun when you get invited for dinner.

Kiki (G.G.) said...

That's Awesome! Yes, I have been to places where people prefer the preservative free, sugar-free liftestyle and I too sneak in the "good" stuff for us. I'm lucky though, neither sets of parents are into the natural and healthy stuff, so we get the fat and sugar when visiting the grandparents. My mil does cook without salt and uses fake butter and cheese. I don't understand those that live without salt and real butter, I gotta have it with everything. Have a wonderful day and take care. I can always count on you to make me laugh.
-Kiki

Heartsabustin said...

I would like to applaud your efforts. Sneaking food with kids in the house is tricky enough, because they invariably find you. However, trying to get around the ex-hippy in-laws (or would that be the still hippy outlaws?) is an even bigger challenge.

I laughed my tail off - this was great. LOLO

jrmminga said...

I feel your pain...just left from visiting my family and needed extra meds to control my anxiety because the home was not "child-proofed"....too many breakables within reach for my two wild boys!

Too funny!

Jenglamgirl said...

and your so SKINNY! THATS the worst part! I what the treats too, but my body likes them as well! HA! I don't mind trail mix with m&ms in them but BIRD SEED mix EWWW!

P.S. nothing is worse then someone saying the sheets are clean AND CLEARLY they are not, nor do they smell fresh either! EWWW!

Jenglamgirl said...

sorry "WANT"

WILLIAM said...

Trail mix, like it's name implies, should only be eaten on a trail.

Renee Sheehan said...

I can totally agree. My brother in law is in this "health food kick" right now, and is constantly telling us what we should and shouldn't eat, and how many calories and carbs (or whatever else is bad for you) is in this or that food. It gets annoying after about 10 seconds! I bake cakes, and I think he has a heart attack everytime he comes to a party at our house (you know, we're just not "healthy" enough for him!)!

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. My mom-in-law has put all of us on a calorie reduced, splenda full, diet pop diet as she wants my dad-in-law to slim down. Yet hidden all around are treats that he makes sure still exist. The best was when she tried to convince my oldest son that fat free Rye crisp would taste "just as good". He tried it and his eyes rolled back from the horror. Smiley Always!

Connie said...

What kind of trail mix does your MIL have? My trail mix has nuts and m&m's in it!

Holly said...

Uh-oh, I guess we couldn't host your hilarious family here anytime soon. We are "those people" who eat natural as often as possible, and our oldest son is on a pretty strict artifical color- and artifical flavor-free diet. The stuff makes him nutty! We have the opposite problem when we visit people, and Halloween is just not as fun when the kids have to come home and trade in their goodies for natural (but very yummy) candies from Whole Foods.

Murphy's Law---the Twinkie eaters of the world will be skinny and live forever . . .the health nuts will fight those last 10 pounds forever and end up getting wiped out by an errant snowboarder or something.

mama rose and the pink princess said...

Wheat germ,margarine,artificial sweetners can all be found in the concoctions my MIL serves. I have found her food to have a laxative effect on me for the past 20 years. Self righteous red hat wearing harpie. Don't get me started.DH & SIL wont even go there if they can help it. I usually have them here and go totally Paula on them although I do bring in margaine,diet soda and instant decaf coffee when they do visit 'cus my mama raised me right. Please stop by my blog http://madjaqsworld.blogspot.com

Foursons said...

Ummm...yeah. Trail mix. I tried that once. Never again. NEVER AGAIN. N.E.V.E.R. A.G.A.I.N.

MissMVK said...

Oh I know all about hiding snacks so that I could you know, SURVIVE. In my case though, *I* was hiding trail mix because I needed real sustenance that could withstand high temperatures (my MIL believes that keeping the house at 81 degrees F is "cozy").

The alternative? Eat the ox hoof and seaweed soup that she insisted was good for my (already ample) milk supply. Lucky me she served it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because she believes in cooking in quantity so she doesn't have to start from scratch every day. On *really* good days we would be treated to brown rice with barley mixed in it and a side of fried whitefish (which I would then smell like for the remainder of our stay).

When they come to visit us (and INSIST on staying here with us), she takes over the entire kitchen and has the hearing of a dog, so I can't sneak into the kitchen at night, so I have to hide food all over my own room in my own home.

Ah, the in-laws. Seriously. What is the deal?!

Renny said...

hahaha. Oh Jana. Besides that fact that the idea of you hiding food behind the bathroom plunger totally grosses me out, you are hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious, as always! Now Jana I'd like to know...what did your kids think of the "trail mix"????? Did they toss it or eat it? Like it or vomit? :-) Karen in NC

Viv said...

You sound just like my children. Try having to share that home with those 'all natural' people until you're 18...my kids will tell you all about it.

Likes Chocolate said...

I am rolling on the floor. That is my best friends. She is an organice no sugar chick and I can't get enough for which may explain why I am not skinny, but that is another story. Anyway, my husband was telling me a story he read in the Wall Street about a group of people who eat a 1/3 less calories about 800 calories a day. He said it is proven that they live longer. I told he I don't care if I live longer if I can't eat cupcakes.

Jenn said...

My mother-in-law never cooks anything edible. I used to try to be nice and choke things down, but now I don't make any attempts to hide that I walk through the front door with more food than I do clothing. Thank heavens that the pregnancy/breastfeeding excuse makes it so there isn't any hurt feelings!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

ha ha ha... "sparrow chow"?!... ha ha ha. That was great. :)

Jo's girl said...

ah yes the sparrow chow. we seem to be surrounded by those who are obsessed with cutting out sugar completely! I admit I tried it for a little bit to see what all the hype was about. but I think they have all lost their minds. sugar is great! we also tried cutting out tv. yeah that was joke. all things in moderation I say. cause my wonderful M.I.L. still cooks with lard -yeah that's taking "good eaten" to the next level and her cooking does the same thing to me as the health nuts (I spend the following day in the bathroom)

Jenn said...

Some of your posts are really funny, but the ones that are based on making fun of other people, not so much.

Amalie said...

haha. I am always trying to eat sugary snacks without my kids noticing, because then I have to share!!

Michele S said...

You sound like my husband. I eat no flour or dairy, so he's been getting goat's milk tapiaco flour bread lately. The kids and their dad disappear in the car every evening and return with red or brown faces. Where could they be going?

Anonymous said...

Gross...any food next to the toilet plunger should not be eaten! Oh, seriously, yuck!

Funny, my kids have never even tasted a twinkie yet. I have nothing against sugar, cream or butter. I try to keep my cupboards fully stocked of them. But I only use real butter. I try not to feed them food with preservatives or cheap oils (like the partially hydrogenated variety) or cheap sugar substitutes (like the high fructose corn syrups).

I guess maybe I'll let them taste one one of these days just so they aren't totally devoid of all things americana but anything with that long of a shelf life should not be ingested if it can be helped!

Heidi said...

This was seriously a funny post, and one that I can relate to!! I too sneak foods into my mother-in-laws house!

Diane said...

I hope you guys don't starve to death on your trip!

megan said...

Im off to my Nonna's for a week and I laughed reading your post because I am headed straight for the same fait as you! I plan on stocking up in San Fransisco before I head to her house so I dont die of hunger :)

TORI said...

Wait a minute... are Twinkies gluten free? I don't think so, was payback a bi#$@? I hope not.

Trail mix can be good. Peanuts, raisins and chocolate chips - mmmmm.... good.

STAY AT HOME MOMMY FROM MAINE said...

Im not a total health nut but I just had my sister in law and her family here for a week. Totally turned her nose up at my whole wheat bread, fiber rich cereal and pasta. Her kids call it "auntie food"... I think they were sneaking candy bars in my bathroom too ;)

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Do we have the same mother-in-law? One thing I can bet on is dropping a few pounds during a visit to grandmas.

Meagan and John said...

I'm trying ot eat healthier for health reasons (as well as financial reasons--twinkies cost so much) Just the other day I bought popscicles that contained 25% fruit juice while I was at sam's club, they were the cheapest option.

www.atheanimalhouse.blogspot.com
www.mommysdashboardconfessions.blogspot.com

Angela Noelle said...

Love this post. The end.

mamacoreenie said...

This post is hilarious. Thankfully my folks and my in-laws all have a sweet tooth - it is my husband who eats the healthiest. In fact, when my son was really little, I'd hide red vines at the bottom of the baby bag. But now that he is older he totally busts me. He'll ask, "what's in your mouth, let me see" if he thinks you are eating something yummy and if you are he wants some and squawks until he gets it. Hiding in the bathroom is a good idea though.

The Mother said...

You should be ashamed of yourself, exposing your children to such brazen depravity.

Janille said...

My MILs fridge is filled with condiments I think - not much else seems edible when we visit and we are always hungry. I've often asked my husband what he ate when he was growing up and he assures me that with 3 boys to raise they had a lot of food - he isn't sure where it went either.

I believe in "all natural" as well - all natural butter, all natural sugar or honey, etc. I don't want to get diabetes but really, eating should be a joy not a contest to see how much you can make something not taste like food.

And why do people drink diet soda? Aack. It's the carbonation that strips your bones, not the sugar, if you are trying to be healthy anyway. "Diet" anything is just a big rip off.

Carolyn said...

Do your in-laws read your blog? Seriously, I am just wondering. Anyway, I can relate to this post, having once visited relatives who ate ZERO fat in their diet and had CANTALOUPE for breakfast--and nothing else. Of course, the mom had to abide by this diet for her own health reasons, but it seemed strange to me that the rest of us should also have to suffer.

Erin said...

That is HILARIOUS! I thought grandparents are supposed to spoil their grandchildren with all the twinkies and such?

"sparrow chow" HAHAHAH I'm still laughing at that!!!

Mom N said...

Well, ahem. I get along well enough with my daughter-in-law to go on "girls' weekends off" to San Francisco (whole other state) and to kidnap her oldest child for hikes in the mountains...but I think she's sometimes aghast at our whole wheat, veggie-from-the-garden propensities...and my daughter (not in-law) is practically OCD about not eating fat. But (confession here) the thing I hide is the Diet Coke. I AM NOT ADDICTED, she says emphatically. Heck, I can go to an academic conference in the mountains and not have any of the stuff for three whole days (just ask me, I did it last August--3 days, 2 hours, 47 1/2 minutes). But the bottles in the bottom desk drawer? or behind the door of the guest room? ummm...

Missy said...

This cracked me up!
Doesn't your MIL know that grandma's are supposed to have cookies at their house?!?

Booklover1212 said...

Slurping hot fudge from a spoon while I read your blog and leave a comment....

I just about lost it when you called the trail mix "sparrow chow". LOVE it! LOL!

Here's to processed food snacks! LOL!

~ Jennifer
http://thetoyboxyears.blogspot.com/

My Life Through My Thoughts said...

I am laughing so hard right now!...WHILE I'm eating an OREO!!!

Tammy said...

My son has gained 10 lbs or more in the last 6 months because Grandma is now babysitting him. I asked her to not feed him quite so much junk. Of course I feel totally guilty as I'm posting because I'm eating a bowl of potato chips:)

Kira said...

hahahaha omg a friend of mine is like that...of course I didn't know until she made my cake for my baby shower...sugar free. *gag* Of course Im digging into a bag of cookies while reading this lol

Stace said...

Haha you're hilarious!!

Summer said...

When will you be in SaltLake? Would love to run into you :-)

~Mason's Mommy

The Roberts' Report said...

Count me in!! A scrub for my summer feet would be nice!!

Emily said...

LOL- this is too funny- you are cracking me up. -e

Madeline said...

I actually know people who think the government should ban high fructose corn syrup and red dye. Can you imagine? Maybe they just shouldn't eat it and stay the fuck out of my life, you know?

AliG said...

I babysat for my uncle once when I was a teenager. I was staying overnight so I brough a duffle bag with me and he heard non clothing-related sounds coming from it and accused me of brining alcohol with me. In reality, he heard the sounds of cans of soda and bags of chips and candy because they had such gross, healthy snacks in their house.

KB said...

Please... I hate it when people are so holier then thou about their eatng habits. Sorry, high fructose corn syprup has corn and that is good enough for me!

Andrea said...

Oh! I am SO in need of some yummy smelling goodies!
Pick me! Pick me!

Adry at www.modmami.com said...

Oh my goodness. That was a great story. Thanks for sharing your wacky family issues. :) PS: Twinkies are my secret sin too. :)

Jawillde said...

This cracks me up.

I attended a party at a friend's house and her dad whispered to me that there was cold beer in the fridge in the basement and we could have it if we could sneak it quietly.

There was someone there opposed to alcohol. Thank goodness for Solo cups and yard games.

Cami said...

Our family lived with my husbands brother and his family for seven months while we built a new home. Never mind that between us we had seven children of various shapes and sizes trying to kill each other on a daily basis....the hard part was that they are sugar free. All natural. We ate cracked wheat for breakfast, whole wheat bread with...."stuff" on it at lunch and usually vegetables of some sort for dinner. The motto's hanging on their walls: "The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead!" Lol!...So you can imagine my surprise when I wandered upstairs for a drink in the middle of the night one night and heard rustling noises coming from the direction of the pantry. I flung the door open, expecting....I don't know... a mouse?....a racoon? I found my brother in law eating an Almond Joy! I looked at him in shock. He, with a very guilty look on his face handed over the other half. No need to explain..... :)

Geezees Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

hilarious!!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

This had me laughing out loud - I grew up in a house of all natural no sugar - and have completely rebelled due to lack of saturated fats growing up.