Years ago, when Elizabeth was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was working for the magazines that at that time were owned by a big B2B corporate publishing firm based in Overland Park, KS.
Liza’s diagnosis was awful. I was at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas when her dad called me with the news. He had flown home from the same convention to take her to her doctors appointment and had called me with the conclusion. I had assumed (ah, denial) that her mood swings, hallucinations and legendary tantrums were just growing pains (really, Erika?) and I was devastated, guilty and totally freaked by the diagnosis. My poor girl…what awful parents…how did we not know?…what kind of genes did we pass on to this lovely baby child!?
In a complete daze, I immediately went and located my wonderful and extremely capable friend B, who escorted me out of the convention hall, took me to my hotel, got me packed, bullied us to the front of the taxi line (which was about a mile long, or so it seemed), and commandeered me onto the plane, all the while with love and assurances. Bless her heart forever, she got me through that day and kept me from crumbling.
Fast forward through lots of fear, false alarms, understandable miscommunications and drama (not to mention the angst, distress and dismay her poor sister went through). Eventually we learned to accept and cope with this new unwelcome member of our family.
Like most new regiments that need to be adopted, I was determined to serve daily meals that were nutritional, balanced and imaginative. Glucose, carbohydrates, whole grains, sugars, lean proteins, low fat dairy ~ I was on it. X % of this, X % of that. Blood testing 6x per day. Bedtime balanced long lasting carbs and midnight monitoring. Egads. Sometimes I wonder how we ever survived. Liza still to this day laughs at the Kellogg’s commercial breakfasts I used to cram down her throat.
Imagine then my delight and surprise, as I was running out of fabulous Betty Crocker meal recipes, to find that my company had actually published a JDRF cook book! No way! This was too good to be true. It contained recipes from all our various offices from Kansas City to San Francisco to Stamford. Sweet! Serendipity, to be sure.
I ordered one immediately. All funds to the JDRF, check. Meals from friends and co-workers, check. Support of my corporation’s philanthropy, check. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and to dive in to all the creative diabetic meal plans!
Well. The first recipe I looked at included Kraft Old English cheese, tater tots, butter and some green beans. The next one was blue cheese, tater tots, butter and a hamburger patty. Sausage, cheese, onion rings and bread crumbs. Broccoli, butter, eggs and Velveeta. Oreos, marshmallow sauce and Hershey’s chocolate sauce. What the hell?
There was one recipe for sautéed ahi tuna in ginger sauce which, not surprisingly, was from my office in the SF Bay area; and one for fresh crab cakes baked and served with fresh arugula salad from the Stamford office. The majority, however were submitted from the Overland Park office and in particular, by one lady named Dorothy.
After spending a few days processing this cookbook, I happened to be on the phone with one of the IT guys in the Overland Park office and I asked him about this woman, Dorothy. Just what was she like? Obviously she liked to cook…so?
His response was that she was a nice lady, worked in accounting or something, and that she was a big woman ~ maybe 315 or 320 pounds. Holy cow! Although I can’t say I was surprised after all those recipes of cheese and tater tots. It was only after I’d hung up with him, that I was really taken aback for a second….how on earth does one know the difference between 315 and 320 pounds?