I gave my left over yoghurt to the dog this morning and felt bad about it, as if I was casting off the best steak to the dog and should have kept it for the humans. I’m not even sure that yoghurt is good for dogs but ours wolfs it down with such gusto I trust he knows what he’s doing. If there’s something the dog dislikes he leaves it alone.
If only it were so simple for us humans: to take in what’s good for us and leave the rest.
And so begins my sermon for the day, at least that’s how it feels to me now, as if I am about to issue an edict on the importance of taking in only what’s good for you and avoiding the rest.
Of course that’s not so easy.
I prefer the yoghurt that my daughter tells me is not good for me because it’s full of sugar. I’m not fussed about a little extra sugar, not at my time of life, but she is.
For some reason yoghurt has always been a staple of mine, long since I first encountered it in the supermarket as a teenager. Then we were told of its health bearing properties.
Another daughter has since taken up a student job in a yoghurt shop and from her I have learned that yoghurt starts its life in that silver box with the pokie-machine type handle which she pulls down to release the liquid yoghurt, in powdered form.
Powdered form for convenience, I presume. Just add water.
When I was this same daughter’s age and worked in a hospital as a social worker, I enjoyed a tub of yoghurt every lunch time. How I longed for my yoghurt then, not just because I was hungry but because it marked a junction in the day, half way through.
When I was a student I spent more days at home than at classes. I lived then with my horse racing and gambling boyfriend and preferred to freeze my yoghurt to make it last longer.
It was a lottery this business of freezing yoghurt. I chose Ski brand despite the extra sugar, because it had the best freezing properties, but an unlucky tub could come out streaked with ice and lumpy, almost inedible. The perfect tub came out smoothly frozen with all the creamy qualities of ice cream at its best.
I miss my passion for ice cream. Once my favourite food. Also a staple. It comes to me now that ice cream and yoghurt are derivatives of milk. Could it be my preoccupation with yoghurt and with all things milky comes out of that deep basic infantile need for milk? Perish the thought.
When I was a child I marveled at the way my mother shared her food, especially the best food, the ice cream we were allowed once a week on Sunday nights after a dinner, a block of Neapolitan ice cream cut ten ways so that each of us children and my mother could have a sliver. My father was diabetic and therefore missed out. My father could not eat what to me then were the best foods: the sweet foods, the cakes and ice cream, the lollies and chocolate, but my mother could and yet she seemed just as happy to give them away as she did to get her share.
I could never be so generous, I thought then. I could never give my share away so willingly. And yet now I find it easy. Besides the sweet things have lost their allure.
My mother used to say similar things when I was growing up, that as you get older, your appetite changes, you want less. This can’t be so for everyone. Can it?