If You Can't Beat 'Em . . .

Photo courtesy of RamonaMurdock.com
I paid $6 for 653 grams of muesli last week. So far my favorite way to eat it is with full-cream yogurt and honey. And fortunately I’m the only person in my family who likes it.

However, I’m not the only muesli eater in our house. When I opened the box this morning, I noticed that my little rolled oats seemed to be moving more than rolled oats should move. Then upon closer inspection, I saw that it was actually ants, not oats, who were moving and who were eating my $6 muesli!

In my morning brain fog, I sat and stared at them for a while, pondering what I should do. Should I throw away this delicious and painfully pricey breakfast? Or should I tolerate the ants in my cereal?

I think everybody has a limit to the amount of grossness they can tolerate in food. Mine, you must know, is significantly influenced by the food’s cost. Let me tell you about my bing cherry tree that I fussed over all of last year. I pruned it carefully as the snow began to thaw near the end of winter. I bought the right fertilizer and insecticide for it. I crooned over its sweet white flowers in the spring. I patted its green new fruit as the spring wore on. I screamed at the birds who dared to peck at the unripe cherries. And then, come late June, I tasted the cherries each day, waiting patiently for the sun to bring them to their full measure of sweetness.

When that ripest of days came, I was ever so busy with other responsibilities, but I set them aside because I knew the cherries wouldn’t wait. Hour after hour I pulled handfuls of fruit from the tree’s drooping branches, filling bag after bag with the sun-sweet cherries. Twigs scraped my arms, my hair tangled with leaves, my legs ached from climbing up and down the ladder. But it was all worth it for those cherries!

My harvest was so bountiful that I had to preserve it by bottling. It was while preparing the jars and syrup for the fruit that I noticed little white worms wriggling out of them. At first I thought I must be imagining things—I had definitely applied the right insecticide at the right time. But the worms would not keep still, and I ultimately faced the decision of whether to accept their reality or to ignore them and continue enjoying my harvest.

The decision for me was clear: I enjoyed my freaking harvest. And likewise, this morning, I enjoyed my freaking bowl of muesli. Deee-lish.