Jag Eating: It’s in the Genes

August 30, 2009

Sometimes, I’ll call my mother earlier in the day than our standard 4pm gab-fest, usually to bitch/moan/whine about some slight or unfairness that’s gotten my panties in a wad. “It’s not faaaaaaiiiir,” I’ll keen into the phone, and she is quite sympathetic and patient and hears me out. My mother is assured a place in Heaven for this.

After a while, even I get bored with my sniveling, so we move on to nicer subjects. If it’s around breakfast or lunchtime, I’ll usually ask her what she’s eating, because I’m sick that way. I’m always interested in what other people are eating.

Sometimes, she’ll pause, take a deep breath, and sheepishly say,”Well….I’m on a jag…”

And I will know exactly what she means. I, too, am a Jag Eater. It’s in the blood.

What is a Jag Eater, you ask? No, it’s not someone who eats some bizarre food called Jag.

A Jag Eater is someone who becomes inexplicably addicted to a certain food (usually a strange one) and is then compelled to eat that food for at least one meal a day until s/he is suddenly revolted by said food.

Jag Eating is a strange behavior indeed. And, since I lived at home a long time, and my mother and I share the same taste in food, we went on a lot of Jags together. And strangely enough, when I think about it, our Jags are little time capsules that say alot about what our lives were like at the time.

Take, for example, the Baked Potato Topped with Salsa and Fat-Free Sour Cream Jag. This Jag was a reaction to the belief (in the late 1980’s) that protein was bad for you, fat was EVIL, and carbs were the answer. We ate those potatoes for lunch or dinner one entire summer. We also, unpleasantly, farted a lot.

There was the summer of Ratatouille (also a pretty foul-smelling summer, if I’m honest). That Jag was a product of a year-long flirtation with vegetarianism. Which led to the winter Pasta Primavera Jag.

The spring AND summer of the Einstein’s Sesame Bagel, topped with mustard, lettuce, pepperjack cheese and capers. Otherwise known as The Two Seasons of Stubborn Water Retention Jag. We found the Bagel Jag annoyingly hard to shake.

One Jag I’m particularly sheepish about is the Rocky Road Ice Milk Jag. Mother and I were slaves to Healthy Choice Rocky Road Ice Milk for several months, eating little but fruit and salad so we could scarf huge bowls of the garbage 3 times a day. This Jag was so fierce that we bought 8 tubs one afternoon, fearful that one day we’d crave it and The Horror! be denied at the freezer section. When, mercifully, that Jag passed, we threw out four large tubs we’d stashed in the deep freeze. That was a walk of shame to the garbage can, lemme tell ya.

And I don’t feel good about the Miserable at College Jag. This I did alone, because my mother would’ve throttled me had she gotten wind of it. This little freakshow consisted of an apple for breakfast and a large bag of Vic’s Lite Popcorn for lunch/dinner. Amazingly, I did not contract scurvy, but I did have to come home for a while after that little love affair.

Most of our Jags were fairly benign, although, certainly, strange. I feel I should mention that neither my father nor my sister are Jag Eaters. They’re capable of enjoying a food without becoming completely consumed by it.

As we’ve aged, Jag Eating has relaxed considerably. Now we’ll hop on a Jag maybe once a year, and even then, it has a short life span. Maybe a week, perhaps two. Maybe Jag Eating requires the energy and devotion of the young.

However, on those occasions when mama does fess up to one, I’ll sympathize and listen intently, wondering what little morsel of wonder has caught her fancy this time.

As I write this, Miss M. has demanded Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at lunchtime for 3 weeks straight. If I deny her, she hugs herself tightly, rocks back and forth, wails as if she’s in unspeakable pain.

I hand her the tissue box, pat her softly on the back and murmur, “I know, honey. I know.”

***If any of you readers are freaks like me, feel free to confess your food obsessions/jags in the comments page!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jennifer March 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

My jags usually involve sugar, but this weekend I ate some rosemary and olive oil triscuits topped with laughing cow cheese and a slice of turkey pepperoni. Ever since then I’ve had an urge to enjoy that delightful concoction again. Like a desire. I haven’t given in yet though.


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