Let Me Tell You About Car Pie

Thatta girl! Photo: Meg Cox, bless her heart.



At some point I’m going to describe for you what a Quiltfolk magazine location shoot is like. My first experience on a Quiltfolk location trip was as a writer on Issue 04 : Tennessee, so I didn’t have anything to do with the planning or execution of the shoot. I was just a hired gun, getting my stories, and, as a result, I remember that trip being super fun and very chill.

Once I began planning and producing the shoots, however, first as a contributing editor and now as editor in chief, that changed. The trips are still super fun, but they are the opposite of chill. There’s too much to do! There’s too little time! We must make haste and get all the stories we possibly can and have incredible experiences and record them for the people!

As I said, I’ll write up a detailed look into how the shoots work; for now, just know that things are nonstop, wall-to-wall, bananas. Very organized and buttoned-up bananas, but definitely bananas.

And speaking of bananas, I’d like to talk about food. Specifically, my relationship to food and what this has to do with going on Quiltfolk location shoots. I’ll try to do this relatively quickly, since a) I’m sleepy and b) like most people, I’ve got some heavy baggage around food and I could probably write whole books on the topic and never get very far.

The thing is this: When I’m on the road with Quiltfolk, there is no time to think about food. And that’s been my problem for a long time: I think about food more than is probably healthy.

Now, it’s not that I’m thinking about eating all the time, plotting when my next snack or meal will be, though I’ve been there. It’s more that I’m thinking about what I ate. What I should’ve eaten. What I should be eating in general and what I should not be eating in general. I think about times in my life when I ate X and didn’t eat Y; I think about times in my life when I felt attractive or times when I felt unattractive and did my food have anything to do with that? Should I do no-carb again? Is it finally time to cut out dairy? I’ve been trying to eat more plants and doing well and feeling well with that, but even if I’m finally doing the “right” thing … I’m still often thinking about food. And I know that this is a luxury, even while it traps me in my head and really makes me feel awful, sometimes. There’s so much other stuff to do and think about and other people to think about and care for. I really, really get tired of worrying about whether or not I am a “clean eater” or what magical combo of foods is going to cure my gut problems and … so on.

The good news is that it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. I am a little more familiar with myself and my body and I’ve accepted a few things about how I look and how I will not ever look, no matter what foods I eat. So that’s an encouragement to all the gym-centric, yo-yo dieting, juice-cleansing twenty-somethings out there: It can, and often does, get better.

But the best solution I have ever found to releasing myself from all that noise in my head about food is to be so busy, so focused, so happy, so “in the zone,” so needed at every moment that thoughts of food are simply not present. Put it this way: How hungry are you when you’re being chased by a bear? My job is way more fun than being chased by a bear, but in terms of stress and how fast I’m moving? Pretty similar. I don’t have time to dwell at all on whether or not I should eat my burger with or without the bun. I’m being chased! By! A bear!

The other cool thing about being chased by a bear is that, provided you are able to escape with your life, you are very hungry once you’re able to catch your breath. When it comes time for lunch, after I’ve been running the crew, styling shots, interviewing folks, looking ahead to our next story, driving the car hundreds of miles, calling this or that person about this or that production detail, I could eat … Well, a bear. But it’s more likely a hamburger. Or two hamburgers. Or a granola bar. And an ice cream cone. And my word, do I drink water. Water and coffee, water and coffee.

The point is that it is on these trips that I am the person that I want to be, vis a vis food: I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t when I’m not. Food is delicious fuel, full stop.

I’m a little scared to post this. Does this even make sense? I’m nervous, I guess, because I know so many of us have baggage around food — or we have loved ones who do — and I’m in no way advocating for a thing or suggesting a thing or saying I’ve got it figured out. I’m just telling you that in that picture up there, I am literally eating a slice of pecan pie from Zingerman’s Deli in [LOCATION REDACTED] while I’m driving and it was totally okay with me. I was ravenous. I love pecan pie. I had worked my tushie off from 5 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and eating that pie in that car with those women I was with was beautiful. I didn’t think for a second if it was “good for me,” and I didn’t consider my thighs.

There wasn’t time to do anything but enjoy it.

21 Responses

  1. Laura K Amundson
    | Reply

    I’m a stinker. I googled Zingerman’s Deli. Sorry.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      Psst … I knew you would! 😉

      [I would have!!!!!]

    • Rita Farro
      | Reply

      I am embarrassed I didn’t think of that myself, Laura!

  2. Shari Jamieson
    | Reply

    Pecan pie was absolutely right for your situation. Do not overthink it. Personally I think that nutrition is best thought of as an average over a week or so. You’re a beautiful, clued-in young woman. Looks like you’re doing something right.

  3. Melanie
    | Reply

    I’m with Laura A. You can’t expect to tantalize us with a piece of information that is attached to more information that we are not supposed to know and have us curious (and smart) women leave it at that! Haha. My first thought was Google too. Great words about eating. We should all think of food as you are currently.

  4. Chris
    | Reply

    There are very few problems in this world that don’t look better after a slice of pecan pie.

    • Kathlene Larson
      | Reply

      Amen. And peach, and blueberry, and apple and pear, and plum sour cream and (oh especially) strawberry rhubarb. Chocolate velvet, and old fashioned cream, and banana/coconut/pineapple cream (separately. Although I would probably try them all together in a pie. After, it is pie.). Oh and peanut butter. But only my mother’s recipe. I think need to go to a pie place now. Bye!

  5. Lori jansen
    | Reply

    Yum, pie!

  6. Liza
    | Reply

    Eat the pie and enjoy it!

  7. sue
    | Reply

    Good one Mary! My quote of the day and possibly the week, will be “How hungry are you when you’re being chased by a bear?” Lots of thinking in that one. Thanks!

  8. Michael
    | Reply

    But are you having fun!

  9. Kelly Ashton
    | Reply

    Yay, you, Mary Fons!! Enjoy that pie! Enjoy you wonderful, crazy, bananas-full life!! You’ve earned it!!
    BRW, I Googled Zimmerman’s Deli, too…..

  10. Jan
    | Reply

    $20.00 for a pastrami sandwich, ouch

  11. Lin Elswick
    | Reply

    That Deli gave it away! I know where you are and I can’t wait for the next issue!!!

  12. Colleen
    | Reply

    I am new to being required ,due to a serious health condition , to eat regularly and certain foods (and not eat others).

    It’s not about how I look it’s about how I’ll feel and how long I want to have a chance to live healthfully

    It’s difficult because now I have to NOT eat foods I used to eat and I do enjoy

    No ice cream ever, no regular breads,

    Proteins are good

    Most vegetables are good

    Some fruits are good

    So I need to plan ahead and not eat what is handy just because I am hungry

    I am kind of surprised you didn’t say the same about food types of food due to your gut issues

    My health issue is different and I don’t know how food groups types effect people who have your kind of health issues while I think each person is about to tolerate and enjoy different foods ….. one diet plan does not fit all

    I am happy for you that your job is so perfect for you now

  13. Caroline Kalvaitis
    | Reply

    Always time for pie! You can’t go wrong with anything from Zingerman’s Deli. I will admit to daydreaming and drooling over the thought of a Zingerman’s sandwich, their outrageously delicious soups, and bread, and cheese, and pie. And……well, it just goes to show that the struggle with food continues, no matter how old you get. Enjoy the pie!

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. elizabeth a hinze
    | Reply

    I knew where you were. I’m so excited to see that issue, I’m sure it has my favorite quilter in it!!!

  15. Lori walter
    | Reply

    Zingerman’s is great (and my home state). I might have to subscribe now!

  16. Carole
    | Reply

    Eat what you crave or you won’t be satisfied!
    And I wanna go to Zingerman’s!

  17. KimS
    | Reply

    If from Zingerman’s Deli likely worth every calorie! Anything in moderation…..right? Only thing better would be enjoying that pie with a Quilt Folk magazine and a good cup of coffee.

  18. Janet S
    | Reply

    I knew right away where you are as soon as you said Zingerman’s Deli. I hope you had more than pie. Their corned beef is out of this world. Expensive, but more than a meal’s worth.

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