Words to Eat By Turns 1! (In which a celebration turns into a rant against the health-food police)

Words to Eat By Turns 1! (In which a celebration turns into a rant against the health-food police)

My little blog’s first anniversary lurked in the back of my head for most of October. In quiet moments I mused about how I would mark it; something special was called for, a new recipe of truly impressive dimensions—some witty twist on the birthday cake, perhaps. Last week S suggested I make a pizza from scratch, since I’ve never done that and we could stick a candle in it. “Brilliant, my love,” said I. That was the plan, until suddenly it was Saturday the 22nd and I’d done absolutely no research on making pizza dough, hadn’t even pulled one of my countless baking books off the shelf, and we were spending the 23rd with S’s family so there was no time to make it anyway. Panic loomed. At the last minute, a new inspiration struck in the supermarket’s cereal aisle: Alphabits! I’d spell out something cute in a bowl of milk, take a few snapshots, and devote more time to writing an interesting reminiscence.

As so often happens with my corner-cutting plans, though, it didn’t quite work out. I bought the Alphabits all right, thinking how much fun it would be to eat my blog’s birthday announcement when I was done. Alphabits were among the more common cereal choices in my family’s kitchen growing up, and I have very fond memories of them—which makes sense, since all I wanted from the time I learned the alphabet was to be a writer. When I got home from the store I tore open the box and dumped out a pile of bits onto a paper towel, expecting to see a full A–Z at my disposal. Instead, I found this:

What have you done to my Alphabits, Post? You’ve…you’ve…you’ve mutated them! The box now trumpets 0 grams of sugar, and even compares them to Cheerios. What? Alphabits are a sweet childhood memory, an innocuous way to get a measure of nourishment into an eggheady kid’s belly before sending her off to school. They’re not a health food! And by toying with the recipe—nay, toying with the breakfast memories of generations—Post has turned Alphabits into an ugly, un-fun, cardboard-tasting chore. They’re barely even letters! I suspect the light sugar coating helped to maintain the structure of the cereal, since these uncoated freaks are such a nebulous mess. And did I mention that they taste like crap? They’re like cut-rate, stale Cheerios that have slumbered at the back of the cupboard for a decade. Feh. I mean, lord knows I’m interested in eating healthfully, but come on. This is absurd. We’re messing with people’s childhoods here. I wasn’t fat because I ate Alphabits every so often; I was fat because I ate cookies by the package, and washed them down with Fritos. Sure, sugared cereal’s not the best idea, but if my mom had lovingly poured me a bowl of this roughage, I’d have flushed it down the toilet (when she wasn’t looking, of course) and gone without breakfast.

So. Anyway. Today’s my blog’s birthday, and while I really wanted to write a sentimental (but not cloying) reminiscence about all that’s happened to me and Words to Eat By in the last year, I seem to have run out of time. Here’s the short version: Since starting my blog exactly one year ago, I’ve:

• Prepared (and blogged about) more than 100 different recipes, in 225 posts
• Starting writing for publications including Time Out, NewYorkMetro.com, and Fitness
• Lost and gained the same five pounds no fewer then four times, and moaned about it on this site countless times more
• Made a whole bunch of online friends—fellow bloggers and readers both

If you’re joining me from this article in Australia’s The Age, welcome! I was lucky enough to visit Australia a few years ago and absolutely loved it. What I’d give to live in Port Douglas… If you’d like to poke around a bit, there’s a handy site index here.

That’s all, for now. Thanks so much for reading, and here’s to another year of cooking, eating, and writing!