I want to talk more about choices than bread pudding, even though there is a connection. And it’s true, that I don’t ever make bread pudding, even though I love bread pudding. I guess there’s a little bit of an issue with desserts in general, which I’ve commented about from time to time. I struggle with my weight to begin with and making desserts is accompanied by the unhappy reality that there are generally more than one serving in any dessert recipe meaning if I make a pie for the two of us I’m going to have to eat a lot more of that pie than I want to if it’s not going to get thrown in the trash. As a result over the years I have gotten to the point that I generally save my eating of desserts until we go out to a restaurant, that way I can pay a lot less than what it might cost to make a whole dessert and I get to eat just what I want — one portion!
But back to our topic.
I love bread pudding. I also love bread. I bake a lot of the bread we eat, but today I had a 8″ segment of baguette that had gone stale and I got out the Cuisinart to grind it up into breadcrumbs. I haven’t had to do that in months and months. It’s kind of rare for even a small part of a loaf of bread to “avoid” being eaten. While the machine was whirring away I got to thinking about the way in which our choices impact our life in ways that perhaps we don’t think about…. like the absence in my life of bread pudding.
Peg and I live a reasonably comfortable retirement. Each month we have a couple dollars more than what we spent, not many, but mostly because we live a pretty careful lifestyle. We are frugal about most things; we don’t eat out a lot, we don’t have a lot of vehicles, or fancy clothes, or fancy anything for that matter. We’re pretty simple folk.
When I say I’m careful, I cook what we’ll eat in one meal. I enjoy leftovers, but I enjoy fresh food even more, so I rarely cook with the intention of creating leftovers. I bake bread when we have eaten the last loaf. We shop for bargains, but we don’t buy what we wouldn’t buy otherwise just because it’s on sale. And we rarely buy prepared foods, other than pasta, and even that I make when I’m inclined.
Desserts are a sort of no-man’s land for me. I can cook an appropriate amount of meat, or veggies for a single meal, but I have yet to find an easy way to make a two serving pie, or a frosted two serving cake, or just two brownies. So, at home we don’t eat them. But we don’t do a lot of other things too.
We went to the movie a week or so ago. We went for the matinee showing — it’s cheaper. We also went on $5.00 Tuesday, it’s even cheaper on Tuesdays too. We don’t go to see movies we aren’t really interested in. We don’t like a lot of violence — neither of us. That immediately puts the limits on our choices. We also aren’t keen on special effects. I’d rather watch a movie with a lot of good dialogue and a lot of good facial closeups than see a bunch of computer graphics. The computer enhanced images are stunning — don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting down the efforts of CGI specialists and graphics designers, I simply prefer something else. Which cuts our choices even further.
And of course, going to the theater means (generally) being out where there are a lot of other people. Once again, our choices sort of self-limit our activities. And that’s the same reason we tend not to go to festivals, though festivals are a problem of their own. We also don’t like being around drunk people, or people acting out of control. Festivals are rife with them. Neither of us cares to be around that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Our life is still varied and interesting — at least we think so. My point here is that all those previous conclusions we have drawn automatically keep us from things we aren’t going to enjoy or that would cost us a lot of extra money. I don’t have to think about not-spending too much money on an activity if I have no interest in doing that thing.
I’ve talked in the past about not going to expensive hotels when we travel. It’s not that we can’t afford them — although if it came down to it, I guess we really can’t — it’s that we rarely spend much time in a hotel room and I can’t see the value in spending a lot of money for a room we don’t use for much more than konking out at night. No room is worth a couple hundred bucks a night to me when I’m snoring!
The reason for all of this is simple… sometimes there are things in life that we like or we think we like and while we’re just sitting on our duff doing nothing we wonder why it is that we don’t ever do them, or taste them, or try them. And maybe we don’t realize that the reason we don’t is that we’ve made other better choices that we are very happy with and the thing/s we have missed or lost aren’t all that important afterall, and that feeling bad about not having them is nonsense. We could…. if we made different choices…. but we prefer the ones we make to the ones we don’t.