Sixty days makes a habit

An old roommate of mine struggled to maintain good eating habits and an exercise routine. His diet essentially consisted of greasy delivery food and too much alcohol. A meticulous diet analysis I conducted over a month sitting on my bookcase proves it. When he would cook, he’d load too many vegetables and massive chunks of chicken into a huge pot loosely following some soup recipe, then burn it just enough to make a foul aftertaste. The vegetables were left beyond flaccid and the chicken never developed any flavours. He’d concocted some of the worst soups I’d ever eaten. Somehow he managed to eat them two or three times a day until the pot was empty. The guy was a quasi-trustafarian after all and the ritual made no sense to me. A mild distaste for soup still lingers as I partook of the soup a few too many times. But during that time I cooked more regularly. The roommate would joke I spent too much time chopping vegetables. He is the only person I’ve ever known who thought I put too much care into cooking and that I was wasting my time.

He thought the answer to his weight issues, and my life, was to do a rigorous at home weight training program. He followed some health guide for men. For cardio he rode a bike up and down Gotham once or twice a week. Every time he started the home fitness routine he’d repeat his mantra to me, “Thirty days makes a habit.” With everything I did it would be the same, “Thirty days makes a habit.” He wasted enough sheets photocopying his thirty day, twice daily workout calendar and pasting it to his wall. I saw how good the saying did for him. He never made it to thirty, or even ten days, in the nineteen thirty days I knew him. I never learned if he was right or not. So much for that kind of slow burn, and the other kind to boot. Either way, the saying stuck with me, along with a couple other takeaways he shared.

For the sake of Daily Prandium, I figured it would be safer to wait until sixty days of daily tapping and posting before mentioning it. So here I am. Today is the sixtieth day I’ve posted to the site. I’ve made a commitment to myself to post daily, at least for the first year. And then I’ll take it from there. It is a bit scary to make such a commitment. Nobody pays me to do this. Indeed it may be hindering my chances of finding gainful, creative employment of the food persuasion. But it’s a great challenge to my discipline, or the myth of discipline I’ve chased since starting a career change five years ago. For the time being, Daily Prandium is my job. A colleague this evening shared some encouragement. We were at a lecture,–I’ll tap about tomorrow–and she told me she’s been reading the site. She advised not to get overwhelmed by it and keep going; it’s worth it. Thank you C.

Why did I start a website, a blog? Why did I choose to call it Daily Prandium? Why didn’t I call it something else? As I mentioned before, I read about the Roman prandium last fall for a class. Their prandium was akin to our lunch. It’s a meal for one, taken when and where it suited one’s need and hunger. Foods eaten were mainly vegetable and grain based, included dried and fresh fruits, and leftovers. I related to it; it’s essentially the way I eat and the way my family eats. The cena, or dinner, is enjoyed with friends and family. There are no sumptuary laws in our society. But I also agree with what I do know of Roman sumptuary law and what they at least aimed for. It wasn’t considered socially appropriate to eat fancier fare, including and especially meats, alone, which was considered gluttonous.

The real reason behind Daily Prandium, well there are several. But I’m not going to get psychoanalytical here. The site tricks me into eating. Sometimes I simply don’t eat. When I’m wrapped up in class and life, especially on nonstop days,–granted they are rare of late–I tend to forget to eat. There have been stretches of weeks where I have to remind myself everyday to eat. Without a doubt I know this ties in to living alone. Cooking for one, while I’ve figured it out and make some terrific meals, is lame. Who wants to eat alone? We’re social beings. As a ‘dog mom’, I like to say we’re pack animals. So writing about food for one helps me figure out how to do it, and to keep doing it.

I also hope to evolve Daily Prandium into an online magazine. Towards the end of the first seminar I attended today,–I will tap more about soon–there was quite a bit of anti-blog sentiment and soapboxing. Granted the folks on the panel are at the top of the food writing pyramid, but they all scoff at blogs and justify the blogs they’re associated with as not being ‘bloggy’. They also accuse bloggers of ‘not wanting the discomfort of editing.’ I take offense. Next to me is a fourteen inch pile of style and writing books.–AP, MLA, On Writing Well, Writing to Deadline, Sin and Syntax, Eats Shoots & Leaves. I also refer to Microsoft Manual of Style but I’ve written systems documents and that’s the standard for that genre.

Daily Prandium is making me learn to Be an editor, to read like an editor, to cut like an editor. I believe I’m writing cleaner prose even, and I love to write long, confusing sentences that make you hold your breath and read twice before you read it’s rhythm, even before you read my meaning. I was something of a geek in my past life and in this life I gladly put on a geek hat of the writing and editing style. I spent an entire afternoon scrutinizing every apostrophe on the site. I hate that our language calls for an apostrophe be used for singular possessives. On that day I relented to it. Have your apostrohe s. But I absolutely hate when an apostrophe s is added after a word ending in s. Why do these people not just add the apostrophe and be done with it. That’s just one example. Daily Prandium is an editing, writing, and creating process. Like myself in these capacities, it is evolving.

It’s late now. So I’ll give this sixty days another eyeball before sleeping. If you make it here before I clock in the morning, feel free to throw red ink allover my words.

Until then, good night..

2 Comments

  1. You write quite well. I enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Thanks! I appreciate compliments too!

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