One of the first memories seared into my brain of college days was the first day I had lunch at my sorority house, Tri Delta, in the Fall of 1995. It had taken me awhile to garner the courage to show up at the house, alone, dragging my anthropology books along with me. I had arrived at The Florida State University, site unseen, a month before. I would have never pegged myself the sorority type, but I rushed so I could meet people. I am not sure what act of the Gods occurred that I got a bid at DDD, but my fate was sealed. At first, it was rather intimidating place for reasons you may guess.
So, as I slinkered into the dining hall, I encountered quite a sight. There was a SlimTannedStunninglyBeautifulGirl chasing the House Mom (her name evades my memory right now, we just called her “Mom”), around the room with a gallon jug of Ranch Dressing screetching, “Liiiiiiar! You lie! It is not FAT FREE”. Apparently, since school commenced, the House Mom had been labelling and advertising one of the salad dressing bottles as “fat free”, when in fact, it was not fat free. Bessie-the-Cook made the most delicious homeade ranch dressing bursting with fat, so everyone knew Bessie’s bottle, but took ole’ House Mom’s word that the other “fat free” bottle was “fat free”. Apparently, SlimTannedStunninglyBeautifulGirl and her friends were wary that the “fat free” bottle of dressing was in fact “fat free”. This prompted SlimTannedStunninglyBeautifulGirl to sneak into the bowels of the kitchen, unseen, make the discovery of the deception, and burst out of the plated double doors with her proof.
And, so, 4 years of very bad eating habits were born.*
Some scrumptious dinners I fondly recall. A special shout out to Trx for refreshing my memory. I can always count on you… :
* spray butter on a fat free bagel
* lettuce and carrot sticks dipped in fat free ranch dressing
* fat free cream cheese on a fat free carbohydrate
* Papa John’s pizza…with no cheese
* Miami Subs’ pita with canned mushrooms and ketchup
* baked potato with ketchup
* baked potato with BBQ sauce
* jelly bread (fat free bread with fat free jelly)
* “tuna surprise” (tuna fish, fat free mayonnaise, crushed fat free saltines, mix and bake)
* Rold Gold pretzels with honey mustard
* popcorn soaked in spray butter
* Baked ramen noodles
* WOW Doritos … made with Olean
Last but not least, my all time favorite meal, drumroll….
SWEDISH FISH! At the time, Swedish Fish had not hit mainstream Florida. Yet, it had been a staple to this Northeasterner since introduced by cousin Amy during childhood. Swedish fish- now cocktails and shots are mocked after this delicacy- are little gummy fish candy, which are…dah dah dahhhh…a fat free food. Swedish Fish used to be sold in cases by the pound, and so Cousin Amy would mail them to me. Swedish Fish were deposited on the porch of 524 E. Park Ave. by the caseload. And some days, a lot of days, I would literally just eat Swedish Fish for my meals. (Note to daughter: none of this is necessary, I promise.)
These little raspberry(?) flavored snicky snacks became so popular with the Delta brethren, I had to stop sharing them. So I hid them, and one day, I came in and just saw a pair of legs protruding from under my bed. “J” had found them and there was nary a one to be left…
Can you imagine what we would have eaten had we know how devastating CARBOHYDRATES were to our diet???
* Please note, Part I: In the wee hours, fat free didn’t apply. Poky Sticks, Papa John’s Garlic Sauce, Kitcho dressing, or a Wine&Cheese from BagelBagel didn’t count.
* Please note, Part II: These fat free food issues may have been exacerbated by the fact that in Florida, people just don’t wear a ton of concealing clothing. A bonus of migrating back up North has been the ability to completely coccoon myself in fleece, cotton and SmartWool for at least 5 months of the year.