Someone asked if I ate lots of pizza in Chicago. I didn’t. Not that the weekend was free of new culinary experiences, however. I did sample something previously unexplored.
I don’t know why. Kate and I were loitering at Water Tower Place with about a dozen other little girls, all early risers from the Eastern time zone no doubt, clutching our dolls and waiting for the American Girl Place to open. By our body clocks, it was mid-morning, and Kate wanted a snack. There was a juice bar. I got her a blueberry-strawberry smoothie and turned to the less milkshakey portion of the menu. I wanted the fortification of vegetables to take on this big day. Raw carrot juice? Naw. Raw beet juice? Nope. Carrot-beet blends, then? Uh-uh. And then I saw it — the flat of grass, the fearsome sign admonishing customers to “drink your vegetables,” touting the wonders of wheatgrass juice. Apparently it has so many antioxidants in one little cup that cancer cells quail and shrink. It has chlorophyll, which does…well, something really good, I’m sure.
I’ve read about this stuff. I hear it’s the magic elixir, along with SPF 65 sunblock and the blood of virgin poolboys, that keeps Hollywood women of a certain age from looking that way. They say it tastes like exactly what you’d think it tastes like. They say it takes real guts to swallow this crap.
“Set ’em up,” I told the juicemaster. He looked at me with new respect (or maybe it was the look you give a crazy person) and picked up his knife, hacking off a double handful and stuffing it into the extractor. The closest I came to barfing came when I saw the solids extruded out the other end, a sight anyone with a grass-eating dog will recognize from dozens of carpet cleanups. He served it up in a tiny plastic cup, no more than a swallow.
Kate made a face before returning to her smoothie. I picked it up and took a tentative, tiny sip. Not that bad — obviously there was a dollop of honey involved that I’d missed in the preparation. I wasn’t going to immediately barf it back up. So I thought of dorm rooms and tequila, cough syrup and kale and other disgusting things, closed my eyes and knocked the rest back.
I stood there waiting for the transformation. Anything this bad had to have an immediate payoff — losing 10 pounds overnight, a burst of energy, a new lease on life.
Nothing. At least I didn’t throw up. And no unpleasant GI aftermath, either.
On the whole, I’d rather have had pizza.
Lance Mannion was the first person to recommend Fred Busch’s work to me, and it was a good call — I still remember “The Night Inspector” with a great deal of dread and clarity, and as for “Girls,” well.
Busch died unexpectedly — if “suddenly at 63” qualifies as unexpected — last weekend. Lance has some thoughts.
The end of this week should bring the Busy Period to a (tentative) end, for now. Hope to be a little more full-bodied by next.