Resolutions: Do you want fries with that?

Normally, I would’ve written this post a lot closer to New Year’s Day. But I like to have goals in each major aspect of my life, and I got stuck on the last one. I’ve known the gist of it for a while, but I keep getting hung up on the details, trying to make it doable and cheat-proof.

  • Home: Not long ago, I moved to a condo. But it feels too cramped when my kids visit, and my dog wants a yard where she can stretch her legs unleashed. I need to stretch unleashed, too. I want to explore moving.
  • Occupation: the best thing I can do this year is to take a break, so that’s what I’ll do! I’ll spend a few months focusing on art and possibly even on writing a children’s book, which is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child myself.
  • Mind: I enjoy The Knowledge Project by Farnam Street. This year I’d like to tune in for every episode. I’d also like to spend more time working on my Creative Thinking and Cognitive Biases, even if it’s as simple as buying their posters and hanging them up where I’ll see them.
  • Relationships: I’ve become a bonafide hermit during the pandemic. My goal this year is to have at least one date-length social interaction per month. And a bonus: when I use a recipe or tip from a blog, I’ll comment thanking the author.
  • Body: It’s complicated.

For the past few years, I’ve aimed to love my body, not try to control it. This sentiment a friend shared was spot on. I love it. I just want to examine my habits and just make some kind of improvement.

I even know the habit I want to target: for years, on the nights my kids were gone, I’d give myself permission to not make dinner. I could have snacks, or leftovers, or I could go out to eat with friends. I didn’t have to cook.

Well, I don’t have kids at home anymore, and (hello covid) I don’t go out to eat that often anymore, either. I’ve developed a habit of eating A LOT of packaged food: granola bars, bean crisps, protein bars, you name it. Super handy. But I’ve been eating way too much of them.

So initially I’d said, “I will make all of my food.”

But no, I do want to be able to eat with friends sometimes. Then it was “I will not eat any processed foods!” but friends, I rely on chickpea pasta and plant milk and things like that. I’m trying to target snacking habits.

So I pivoted to “I will not eat any foods that are intended to be consumed straight from the package.” Better. But … if someone shares their chips with me, what am I gonna do? Snob them away? Nah.

Currently, I’ve got “I won’t buy foods that are intended to be consumed straight from the package, unless they are an ingredient in some other recipe, or unless I’m buying directly in person from the people who prepared it.” CONVOLUTED! But it works.

Still, I’ve snuck in workarounds. I am used to snacking on something salty in the afternoons, and while I can make popcorn, fries are just so good. And I have a lovely greasy spoon just around the corner. I don’t go there every day, but lately, I find myself going there… well, frequently.

“Fries with ketchup only, please”

Fry sauce, for the uninitiated, is based in mayo plus ketchup, sometimes with pickle brine or ranch mixed in. This place serves it by default, as many Utah restaurants do. So Saturday, for possibly the 4th or 5th time this year, I pulled up to the speaker and made that request.

A man my age, probably the shop owner, is often running the window at Snack o Clock. He was there again yesterday. When I pulled up to the window, he absolutely beamed as he handed me a large handful of ketchup. And he waved away my credit card.

“It’s okay! It’s for you!”

“Really? Oh, please, just” (pushing my card his way again)

He smiled and nodded vigorously, “A gift, for you!”

I put my hand on my heart, blushing. They must have noticed my habit. “That’s so kind of you!”

He blushed and waved a hand, and closed the window. Then opened it again, smiling.

“I’m just an addict,” I laughed. He laughed harder, then closed the window once more. Cold day.

Two minutes later or so, he opened it again. “What do you need?”



And we both burst out laughing we realized: he thought I ONLY wanted ketchup. A massive handful of just plain old ketchup packets. He accepted my card this time, and we were both still laughing as I drove away.

And as I sat in my car sneaky-snacking and opening another ketchup, I realized I was eating food that was meant to be consumed right out of its package. D’OH.

But I was quickly able to justify myself again, because clearly, the fries were the purchase. I didn’t buy the ketchup, after all.


  1. New Media Works

    Hi Velda 🙂

    IMHO this is a *PERFECT* New Year’s resolution post! 😀

    It’s mainly perfect because it clearly shows off its own futility — I think (futility is a word, innit? or how about F-utility? LOL 😉 ).

    These things *inevitably* lead to ands, ifs, buts and the like. I don’t do them anymore. Maybe I’m dumb, maybe just happy?

    I am a sort of professional armchair dietitian. When I was a kid, I *got* something that sort of *forced* me to learn this stuff. These days, I no longer weigh foods, but I do weigh alternatives. I no longer deny myself, but I also don’t allow myself to become a junkie — simply because junk is not something that interests me … all that much (I guess). I do not seek out the sinful just for the sake of sinning.

    BTW: who ever came up with the idea that eating an apple is wrong?

    🙂 Norbert

    Liked by 1 person

    1. supernovia

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I ened up trimming the content down just a bit, too.

      I’ll still do resolutions because I do tend to make progress with most of them, so long as I’m specific without being too silly about it. This might be too silly still, hehe.

      But more generally, my friend’s advice to just take rather than coorce has been wonderful for me. I started listening to my body years ago. I think my previous “healthy snacks” habit is probably a bit healthier than the fries habit, haha. But I’ll figure this out 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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