Cud: (n) the portion of food that a ruminant returns from the first stomach to the mouth to chew a second time.

I am susceptible.

I don’t like to admit it.

Often, it’s why I refuse to watch medical shows or even programs of itinerant travelers who share experiences of strange lands, animals and diseases.

I buy in too easily.

Such a thing happened to me short years ago. In my ongoing pursuit to remove the mythology of my obesity and supposedly create the human-flesh-muddle that I’m meant to be, I listened to a young, slender woman (my first mistake) expound upon the importance of chewing your food at least twenty times before swallowing.

She explained that this not only made digestion easier, but also that chewing at for such an extended period of time caused us to eat less, and therefore promoted weight loss.

In that moment–in my flurry of passion and with her apt representation– she was able to convince me to try. She closed off her discourse by highlighting that animals like the cow chew their cud over and over again until it is just a mushy mess of drippy liquid, which they then gulp.

Surviving her vivid description, I sat down to my dinner that night and decided to pursue my own cud chewing.

I quickly realized that my normal number of chews for consumption was four or five.

I was still comfortable with eight chews.

At twelve I had to take my mind to a faraway place to keep insanity from ensuing.

When I finally reached twenty and tried to swallow, nothing happened. (All the little gushy, mushy pieces had already snuck down my throat to the stomach to the awaiting stomach).

Yet faithful pilgrim that I am, I continued this practice for an entire meal.

It was exhausting—so tiring it was that at the end of the feast, I found myself needing energy—starved.


funny wisdom on words that begin with a C



Croissant: (n) a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll of leavened dough or puff paste.

For the sake of our little essay I shall refer to him as Martin.

This is not his real name, but perhaps if the actual individual reads this, he can come to the conclusion that he’s Martin. Then I can tell a story without people making fun of him personally.

Boy, was that a useless preamble.

So let’s pretend like I’m starting again.


Martin was the kind of guy who loved to come up with new things to try and insisted it was the cutting-edge practice from “the coast.” I was never sure whether he meant the East Coast, the West Coast or some other coast I might not be familiar with.

Many years ago, Martin arrived at a brunch we had put together.

(We did not call it brunch at that time because the word was not yet invented. We called it “late breakfast.”)

Martin arrived with a box—the kind you get at a bakery and usually has a cake in it. While we were laying out our eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cereal boxes and a little fruit here and there, Martin exploded into the room and dropped his box on the table, pushing back a jar of homemade marmalade.

He turned to the gathered souls and said:

“Save your appetite! I have got the thing to eat today.”

Well, we were all a little suspicious. Martin was known for providing oddities and insisting they were delicacies. If you don’t know the difference, an oddity only becomes a delicacy if it tastes real good.

For instance:

He was the first to bring jalapeno peppers—with no warning on how to survive them after consumption.

He brought calamari and waited until we had chewed on it for a while before revealing it was squid.

Of course, there was the time that he offered our first box of Muesli Cereal from “over there in the Scandinavian lands,” which we all tried.

We all resembled cows chewing their cud.

But on this day, his offering was a croissant, which he pronounced with as much of a phony French accent as he could muster. He told us that croissants were better than biscuits, superior to rolls, left toast in the dust and of course, forced cornbread back to the farm.

He brought enough for everyone, so we all indulged in our first croissants—which were scrumptious. (Well, some folks took a couple bites and reverted to their primordial biscuits.)

But they were flakey.

Not that different from Martin.

(And now I jest.)

Also, they were just chewy enough that they did a fairly decent impersonation of bagels (Martin’s contribution three months earlier).

I cannot lie:

We all felt a little continental eating our croissants, imagining the French people who may have made them.

Since that day, if offered toast, biscuit, bagel or croissant, I will tell you—bagel and croissant do top my list.

So even though I may have found Martin to be pretentious, overbearing, a bit self-righteous and a social bully, he did introduce me to things I might not have found as quickly on my own but have become intricate parts of my life.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Bake: (v) to cook food by dry heat, typically in an ovenDictionary B

It’s not easy to feed seven people–three adults and four children who ranged in age from 8 to 14. Yet for a particular season, this was my station in life.

The similarities in taste among these individuals were minimal. So trying to come up with an entrée nightly which was simple to fix and acceptable for consumption by the persnickety clientele was a Herculean task.

After a while, I decided to prepare foods that were pleasant for me to do and reasonable to purchase. “Since satisfying the masses is impossible, let us budget our time and our money.”

And it fell my lot as the dad of this particular group to cook since the two ladies of the household approached the subject as if they were discerning hieroglyphics.

One of my favorite things to prepare was baked chicken.

First of all, I purchased it in ten-pound bags, which cost about five dollars, and then placed it on two baking sheets, salted and peppered the tops and stuck them into the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour.

As you probably know, how long you cook a chicken is very important. If it’s undercooked, it is not only gross, but also threatens to kill you with salmonella. If it’s overcooked, it gets mushy–like it belongs in a jar of baby food.

Yet the skin, turning a golden brown, is not only fattening, but a true delicacy.

My children grew to hate baked chicken–and if you asked them about it today, I’m sure one or more would shudder.

It wasn’t baked chicken every night, but certainly the bird was put to the flame at least twice a week.

So that my children would not grow up frightened of an oven and what it bakes, I occasionally pulled out of the magic box homemade cookies and things like that, so that they would not end up fearing all things baked.

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dictionary with letter A

Apricot: (n): a juicy, small fruit resembling a peach, of an orangy-yellow color.

I do not feel that the apricot has been adequately addressed in any public forum.

It probably could remain so, and the world would continue to revolve and Kentucky Fried Chicken still contain eleven herbs and spices.

But since I have been blessed with the benefit of sharing useless information to very valuable people, I shall elaborate on ny sentiments about this little fruit.

First and foremost, it is a temperamental sort. It has about a fifteen-minute life cycle, when it is sweet enough to eat, and the rest of the time is either too hard or too bitter to undulate on the great dance floor of my mouth.

To determine this, I have denigrated myself to the caveman mentality of “squeezing for freshness.” If I feel, upon palming the item, that the skin of the fruit somehow separates from the meat, then it is possibly ripe enough to eat.

If, upon placing it in my hand, it resembles a golf ball, then I know to put it aside and leave it alone, lest its bitter disposition enter my sanctuary.

The second aspect of the apricot–which I’ve never heard anyone explain–is that even when I do find one ready for consumption, because the skin is a bit tough, or perhaps a touch furry, I feel compelled to use my teeth and tongue to fold it over, so that the fruity side touches my teeth and the skin is tucked inside.

Does anyone else do that besides me? If you don’t, I can recommend it–because then you get the soft, sweet fruit without the tough hide.(Which, by the way, might be an accurate parallel to my relationship with women.)

So I would have to conclude that I am quite fond of apricots, but I do want to make sure that they are adequately ripe and that the skin stays away from setting my teeth on edge.



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dictionary with letter A

Anorexia: (n) a loss of appetite for food which becomes a medical condition.

I am ill-suited to speak on this subject, similar to a cannibal discussing recipes with Martha Stewart.

I have never abstained from food. I don’t over-eat–it’s just that the idea of food is very pleasant to me, even though sometimes in the middle of chewing it, I realize that I’m getting little pleasure and positive reinforcement out of an experience that has the ability to levy great difficulty to my well-being.

I don’t know what causes anorexia. I’ve read about it. I’ve talked to people who suffer under the condition.

Matter of fact, there are times that I feel embarrassed to be in the presence of someone afflicted with the condition, because my heft might accidentally confirm their fears just through my visuals.

Unlike the anorexic, I am always looking for a mirror that favors me rather than one that points out a little “dab of flab.” I am always justifying the calorie count on some food I desire, to make it seem that it is either healthy or within the spectrum for acceptable consumption.

But I do know this–I do not grow impatient with those who find themselves oppressed by this mindset.

Because I have been around individuals who cannot fathom why I don’t “just eat less” or do something to lose weight, I understand that intolerance is unbearable. It makes me want to run and smooch with the nearest bratwurst.

Even though we do not have the cure for all diseases, and do not comprehend the whys and wherefores of every human foible, we can have the first fruits of compassion.

Anorexia is difficult for me because I find the gaunt boniness frightening and anti-human. But I must realize that the anorexic finds my obesity equally as obtuse and ugly.

Perhaps that’s the secret: to refuse to allow oneself the oversimplification of believing that what one thinks is really the truth … but always allowing for love and tenderness to surpass mere reasoning.

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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Ahoy: (exclam.) a call used in announcing the sighting of land from a ship.

Perhaps if I had lived during the time of the Spanish Armada, I would have appreciated the word much more.

Even if I had been an extra in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, like the H.M.S. Pinafore, this term would have had great significance.

But the word “ahoy” to me, only conjures an association with chips–a delicious cookie I never purchase anymore for fear of overdosing, and being found dead in a puddle of my own milk.

Yes. “Ahoy” has been ruined by Nabisco. Chips Ahoy.

It is not a word of salty brine and billowing sails, but rather, cookies lined up, carefully broken in half to create dipping possibilities in my every-clumping milk products.

It hardly seems fair. And I really can’t recommend it.

I think we have to stop with the word “ahoy” and cease to taint perfectly good units of the language by limiting them to the consumption of food products.

  • For instance, I’m against “Alleluia Crackers.”
  • I don’t think we should manufacture “Jesus Hotdogs.”
  • And it is completely out of the question to put on tap “Loyalty Beer.”

Is there nothing sacred?

So my apologies to those who have sailed the seven seas, but my “ahoy” has to come in chocolate bits … or maybe even peanut butter.

Acts (Book of)

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A


Acts:  a New Testament book immediately following the Gospels and relating the history of the early Church.

During the several times in my life when I have read the Bible from cover to cover—and let me candidly admit that even though there IS a blessing in the perusing, I would also have to deem it a chore—I discovered that the Bible has so much arcane language which does not fall into my purview and ideas which can be interpreted so many different ways, that it certainly demands a gentle spirit for consumption.

This is definitely true of the Book of Acts. While some people critique the Gospels which have the accounts of the life of Jesus, in being abbreviated in detail, focused on a particular audience of the day, the Book of Acts is really like a corporate press release.

First of all, you have to consider that the time span covered in the entire work is between sixty and seventy years. Once it’s condensed and crushed together into its twenty-eight chapters, you feel like it’s a description of a couple of weekends’ vacationing in Jerusalem. The huge transitions in plot, miraculous achievements and even the struggles seem monumental rather than the typical day-to-day inch-worm progress which is actually accomplished by human beings.

But there IS one thing we certainly learn from the Book of Acts: when Christians and Jews tried to combine their theologies, it fails miserably.

I’m not saying that Christians and Jews can’t get along as folks and friends, but the faith that was established by Jesus of Nazareth was not exactly complementary to the Law of Moses.

When these early Jewish boys who were followers of Jesus tried to incorporate their Mom and Dad’s religion into the new movement, it just didn’t work out very well.

So because of that, a Pharisee named Saul took the journey to become Paul the Apostle, and translated the message to a whole world of non-circumcised individuals. So faith in God went from being an issue of whether your penis was trimmed or not to whether your heart was open.

It was an arduous task, which as I previously stated, took many decades. With the Book of Acts, we basically get the Reader’s Digest version, written by a physician named Luke.

Even though I appreciate te account and the inclusion of the struggle, I do think we miss the magnitude of human folly in the pursuit of better understanding.

Christianity wouldn’t have moved out of the Upper Room in Jerusalem had it not been for a guy named Paul.

And mankind would never have departed from the superstitions of Mesopotamia had it not been for the teachings … of Jesus.