Super Salad Smackdown – Competing Theories on Portion Control

Summary: People’s lives will expand to their available environment. Whatever you are doing, it will expand to fill the available space. My lunch time super salads are no different.

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My lunchtime super salad. Women and children should not attempt to eat this salad. It will crush them as it is far too Herculean for their little bodies. Luck would have it, all my favorite stuff was available this day including the blueberries, the pomegranate and the corn. The mess begins when you actually dig in and try to eat it.

Every day for lunch I make a monster salad. I mean it’s huge. It’s on steroids. It’s a manly salad.

I start off with a bed of mixed baby greens, some sunflower sprouts, buckwheat sprouts and a bit of shredded cabbage. That’s the foundation. Depending on what’s in season I’ll then add sliced grapes, pomegranate seeds, fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries and whatever other interesting fruity type things I can find. I may also kick in some heirloom tomatoes, beets and fresh corn sheared right off the cob. I top it off with a fistful of walnuts, a sprinkle of fresh shredded parmesan and cracked pepper. Nutritionally it’s off the charts and delicious as fuck. I know that’s a weird way to talk about a salad, but I can actually feel my body becoming energized on a cellular level from eating the salad.

Now I build the salad on a really nice looking white plate. I just pile the salad from edge to edge as high as it can go. It makes a little bit of a mess as the pieces of the salad tumble off the plate and onto the table, but this is the way I like it.

My partner comes in the room.

“I don’t get it, why don’t you use the bigger plates and that way you won’t make such a mess.”

“There’s two reasons. One, the bigger plates are clear glass as opposed to opaque white. Food just looks uninspired on them because you can see right through to the table and it provides little contrast. Secondly the plates are too big and I don’t want a salad that big.”

“I don’t get it, just don’t fill the plate completely up and it won’t be a problem.”

“Yes it will, because over time my salad will keep expanding until it fills the available space on the larger plate. That’s just how things work. Human activity will expand to fill the available environment.”

“Maybe for you because you don’t have any self-control.”

“But I do have self-control, that’s why I’m using the smaller plate. It provides a physical limit on my salad that feels right. I don’t want a bigger salad. If I get a bigger plate, I will eventually have a bigger salad.”

“Right, you don’t have any self-control.”

“Yes I do. I just know how things ultimately work out. So I’m providing that control on the front end of. Either way a decision needs to be made and this method is more appropriate for my personality type. Plus the white plates look much better. The salad just pops and it looks far more attractive than on a clear plate. That’s why they don’t use clear plates and restaurants. It makes the food look uninspired and dull.”

“Yes, like I said, you don’t have any self-control.”

“You know, instead of saying I don’t have any self-control, you could say that it’s really smart of me to understand my personality type and to make appropriate accommodations for it. I know exactly what I’m doing and have made very specific decisions accordingly to achieve my goals. That’s the direct opposite of not having any self-control.”

“Ok, I’m just saying if you didn’t have self-control issues, if you didn’t live in extremes, if you were a moderate person, you wouldn’t have to use a plate that’s too small for what you’re doing.”

Fuck, does any one else have conversations like this? I just want to eat my monster manly salad in peace and become super-duper healthy.

She sees my choices as a sign of weakness, I just see it as smart. Either way you need to set limits.

There are two types of control. You can control your portions or you can control the space available for the portion. Either way you need to establish a limit. And by portion I mean whatever it is you’re doing (collecting dolls, going dancing, eating, hanging with friends) and by space I mean both physical space and time. I think it’s easier and more efficient to control the space rather than the portion. This is true for everything. Sure, I can surf for only 45 minutes. If I make that the limit. But it’s almost impossible for me to come in after 45 minutes if my only constraint is getting enough waves. It’s almost never enough. If there is no time limit, I generally come in because I’m too cold, too tired or the waves tuned to shit. If I come in when it’s still good, and I’m not too tired or cold, that means I REALLY have to be somewhere at a specific time. Otherwise I would surf for three or more hours every single day. My body, natural forces and scheduling conflicts provide nice manageable limits to my surfing and keep me from just spending all day, everyday, out in the waves.

How do we know when we’re done with sex. It’s when we’ve both come. Simple. If you and your partner never came, how would you know when you’re done? When you needed a drink? When your muscles went into spasm? When it hurt too much?

Orgasms place a nice limit on the sexual experience. It’s like an exclamation point for a sentence.

How do you measure out ingredients? Sure, you could use a tablespoon to measure out a teaspoon, but why? Instead of visually dividing the tablespoon by three, you can just use a teaspoon and measure to the top. The teaspoon provides a finite limit. That’s the whole point. Fill it to the top and it’s exactly one teaspoon.

I would hardly call a pastry chef who measures as someone who is lacking “self-control”.

That’s all my monster salad plate is. It’s just an effective method to place a limit on its size. Plus the white just looks better! Really, I’m totally serious!

That’s it for now.

Update 3-18-10

On Valentine’s Day my partner and my daughter hand me a gift bag. Inside are two new salad plates. They are about and inch wider in diameter than the plates I’ve been using, they’re pure white, and they have a depression in the middle to keep everything together. Not only do they hold the perfect amount of salad with ease, they are really good for soup as well. She always gets me the best gifts! This is up there with the time she fixed my broken car headlight for my birthday and getting me both Outliers and Super Freakonomics for Christmas! Yes, I do favor the practical gift. For me, the ultimate gift is getting something I really need but don’t have the time to get for myself.

What a kick-ass Valentine's gift. Exactly what I wanted and makes life just a bit nicer.

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