The E-Mail Home

By Ann Hodgman, September/October 2011

Read Ann Hodgman's whimiscal note home from her daughter at college.

Date: September 21, 2011
Subject: food shopping stuff


Of course I still “plan to grace you with my presence during the holidays,” as you put it. All I meant was, I’ve changed a LOT since coming to college and I need you to respect that. I’ve totally educated myself about nutrition. I’m learning to make food choices that are right for me. I was NOT criticizing your cooking when I said most of the foods you make are poison. I was just stating a scientific fact. Why pay for me to go to college if you don’t want me to learn?

For instance, I can’t believe my own parents never noticed that I can’t eat gluten. When I found out that everyone on my floor is gluten-sensitive, I finally understood why I’m so tired and cranky in the mornings. It’s not because I don’t get enough sleep, like you always said—it’s because gluten was sapping my energy. So I’ll be eating all gluten-free stuff from now on. You won’t have trouble finding it if you take time to read the labels. Maybe you could also get a GF cookbook because there are some great GF flours and stuff and I bet the holiday cookies wouldn’t taste any different. Actually, this is a change you and Dad should make in your own diets—it would make you much younger-seeming.

Same with sugar. I agree with Dad that molasses and honey and maple syrup and brown sugar and white sugar are chemically identical. Whether it comes from a tree or a bee, it’s all sugar. BUT NOT AGAVE SYRUP. I happen to know that agave is a complete food. It has a low glycemic level. (I can explain about the glycemic index when I’m home. I’m sure Grandpa and Grandma would also like to hear about it.) Agave is packed with natural stuff that makes it healthy, my resident advisor says. Which makes a lot of sense when you consider that it comes from a cactus. After I get home and get caught up on my sleep, I would be happy to help you replace all your other sugars with agave—it would be an activity we could do together, the way you always say you want.

Just so you know, I’m not really into dairy anymore. This boy across the hall told me milk causes mucus, and now I realize how true that is. Raw milk is okay, though—do they sell it at your supermarket? If not, maybe you could find it somewhere else. Also I would appreciate it if you would stick some kind of seafood-watch list on the fridge, so you’ll know which fish are okay to eat. I don’t like fish anyway—I just hate for you guys to be destroying the oceans.

Speaking of the fridge, make sure to clear a whole shelf in there for me. (And tell Molly and Oliver to keep out of it.) I’m pretty much eating only raw foods now, and they take up more space than all that processed stuff. But it’s SO worth it. I’m like totally detoxified now that I’m eating the way nature intended—my whole body has been de-alkalized. If I were going to get cancer or a cold, this diet would stop it in its tracks. Think about it—raw foods make you healthy, and a healthy person does not get diseased, right? That proves it.

There are a couple of foods I can’t get here that I would love for you to have ready for me. They are: tofu cream cheese, coconut water, nutritional yeast and soy yogurt. Thanks! Please also sprout some buckwheat for me if you get a chance. Use filtered water.

I hope this clears the air a little, Mom. I really can’t wait to get home and see all of you as long as I can set some boundaries.

/ xoxoxoxoxox, me

P.S. Oh—one other thing—please get a couple of boxes of Cap’n Crunch and Count Chocula. They only have generic cereals here, and I can totally tell the difference.

Ann Hodgman lives in Washington, CT, and by the time you read this will either have succeeded or failed at making her daughter’s wedding cake. Her most recent cookbook is a new edition ofBeat This!; she writes frequently for The New Yorker.

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