Cannoli, Breakfast of Champions

1 Jun

I am just back from a vitally needed vacation. I went to Los Angeles to visit my oldest, dearest friend Joni. My plan was to pretty much do nothing. I needed to give my brain a chance to re-boot and Joni understood that. We did just enough. We walked on the beach, went to the movies, rented movies (I fell asleep 30 minutes in both times). I had my beloved alone time and read a good, new novel. I went to lunch and dinner with a tiny number of friends, eating good, healthy and inexpensive food.  I ate so many variations of kale, I decided that it must be the official food of California.

I’m addicted to sugar and occasionally have to detox. I work at eating healthy food and try to get my kids to do the same. Baldwin doesn’t crave sugar and mostly eats well. Cliff and I don’t eat red meat (although I will cheat for a great burger on occasion). Baldwin has never eaten red meat in her life. My Ford, on the other hand, would live on sugar if I let him. He loves candy almost as much as his Xbox and dessert–cannoli, apple pie–rank right up there with his love of baseball. He had no interest in following our no red meat edict and as early as six, when he first had his own seat at our neighbor’s dining room table, he’d chow down on steak. He tricked our friend’s teenage daughter Rachel, who used to baby-sit, into getting pepperoni put on his pizza. He does like my sauteed spinach and will eat the crunchy veggies I pack in his lunch, but too often I’m exhausted from the constant negotiation: you eat all your salad and broccoli and you can have another piece of cake.

As much as Cliff and I have a marriage that is equal in most ways, I, like the vast majority of women, still do the primary childcare. However, when I go away, Cliff usually takes over the routine. This time though, when it came to meals, there were lots of  trips to the Tick-Tock diner.

When I’d speak to them over the phone while I was away, I didn’t ask about food. I asked those questions when I got home. I knew the answer was going to be bad when I asked and Ford and Cliff quickly looked at each other. The grins were guilty.

“So, what’d you have for breakfast?” I asked Ford.

“Cannoli,” he blurted. He cannot keep a secret.

“Cannoli Cliff, really?”

He twisted his lips as if he was trying to find a somewhat reasonable answer, an explanation that would make me understand how in any universe cannoli is an appropriate way to start the day.

Instead he and Ford laughed and Ford explained.

“See we’d go to Tick-Tock and I’d get two to go, one for breakfast and one to take in my lunch.”

It was worse than I thought.

But, here’s what I know.

When I go away, I can’t expect to be in charge. It’s about surrender and it’s good for all of us. The kids get to see Dad as the primary nurturer and understand that Moms need to have a life that doesn’t revolve around them.

And, missing a few balanced meals is okay. Ford still managed to pitch well and even had a pick-off (that’s when a pitcher is on the mound and throws out a player who’s standing off first base in order to attempt a steal to second.) I hate that I missed seeing it.

Toward the end of my visit, Joni and I luxuriated at a day spa in a swimming pool, sulfur and mud baths and finished off with long Jacuzzi soaks. Our 40-year friendship also got some major quality time.


When I came home my family, including Charlie, met me at the airport. I looked at them and was breathless at how beautiful they are–inside and out.

I took a deep breath and was simply, utterly grateful.

3 Responses to “Cannoli, Breakfast of Champions”

  1. Linda June 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Love this!

  2. lynne June 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Good for you to wait till you got home to ask about the details! Some of us sabotage our time away by stressing the details and trying to micromanage through the phone. The cannoli breakfast will be remembered far longer than any balanced, healthy breakfast Mom has ever made!

  3. Kody Vlaanderen February 7, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks for another magnificent article. Where else could
    anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing?
    I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

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