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I now have a truly terrible banner. I hate it. As soon as I can get my hands on a camera that’s better than my cellphone, I’ll put a better one together. In the mean time, butter yellow it is.

Butter is an awesome thing, though. I love butter.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and my parents wanted us to be “healthy”. At that time, people thought being healthy meant not eating fat. Low sodium was big, too. We never had real butter in the house. It was always low-fat low-cholesterol margarine. I didn’t hate it, because I had real butter so incredibly rarely that I barely knew the difference.

Now I know. And I won’t have margarine in my house. I won’t eat it or cook with it when I go to my parents house, either. I get them to buy real butter when I visit, or I go to the store and buy it myself. Because butter is good, and margarine . . . isn’t.

It’s kind of typical of the food we ate growing up, really. Margarine, low fat ground beef or ground turkey with almost no salt, tasteless pre-sliced whole wheat bread that was kept in the fridge (which retards the growth of mold — important in Florida — but makes it stale within hours), low fat sour cream, et cetera ad infinitum. My mother isn’t a particularly good cook, either. A lot of our food was pretty flavorless. Occasionally we’d have fried fish or Mexican, and that was awesome, but it was a special treat.

They haven’t updated their views on food all that much, either. Now the margarine is trans-fat-free, and there’s olive oil in the house, but the bread is still tasteless whole wheat kept in the fridge. Still the same brand, even. Every time I visit — not often, they’re still in Florida and I’m in Seattle — I cook as much as I can, trying to remind them what food can be, trying to teach my mom a few tricks. It never sticks, though. Le sigh.

They also haven’t gotten over this idea that One Must Be Healthy, either. Nor the idea that healthy = thin, despite the fact that neither of them are, either. Mom’s weight yoyos every year or so, up to fifty pounds, and every time she gains it back, she puts on a little more. She sends me alarmist articles about OMG FAT IS BAD, and I send her studies about how weight loss doesn’t work and fat isn’t unhealthy.

Of course, what I have yet to find any way to talk to her about is this idea that I have to be healthy, that I have a duty to be healthy and live as long as possible, that I owe them this in particular. Which is, obviously, bullshit. I am as healthy as I want to be. I can walk a mile and a half. I can lift my 70lb dog. I can undertake all of my daily activities comfortably (assuming my bad knees, allergies, asthma, or bipolar don’t get in the way). My cholesterol is a little high, and at some point I should probably start taking something for that, but not yet. My heart is strong, and my blood pressure is actually on the low side. I am as healthy as I wish to be. I do not feel the need to be healthier than this. I am, actually, pretty healthy.

I could eat better, but “better” means “in a way that makes me feel good”. What makes me feel best is eating four to five times a day, small portions, and two to six ounces of protein at least three of those times. Red meat two to three times a week, about three ounces each time. I often don’t manage it, though. When I get busy, it gets hard to find the time to eat. And, like most fat people, I have Issues about food, and when something triggers them, it gets even harder to eat. But I do my best, and I try not to beat myself up when I don’t manage it.

One of the things I can do to make it easier to eat when I should is to make my food as attractive and tasty as possible. And that means I use butter. Because butter is awesome.