Tag Archives: nourishment

BLAND is a Four-Letter Word

24 Apr

I’ve thought about the word “bland” a lot. What I’ve decided is that it’s definitely a 4-letter word although not in the same context as the more obvious 4-letter curse words. You can say “bland” at the Sunday morning church service & not be removed by a deacon & you can shout it out in almost any public venue & not be removed by the bouncer … unless, of course, it’s a quiet setting where shouting is frowned upon. But “bland” still qualifies as being offensive, even if in a subtle or passive aggressive way.

Here’s what the dictionary says about “bland:”

Bland / bland / adjective – lacking strong features or characteristics & therefore uninteresting. Synonyms: uninteresting, dull, boring, tedious, monotonous, monochrome

So if we say someone has a bland personality that certainly qualifies as an insult (even if the person DOES, indeed, have a bland personality) &, to some, qualifies it as a 4-letter word, depending on how they perceive the depth of the insult. The same is true of saying someone has a “bland” wardrobe, sense of humor, lifestyle or is a “bland” conversationalist. Heaven forbid that we should live in a house with a “bland” exterior or have someone (other than ourselves) describe our marriage as “bland.”  Deliver me from spending time reading a “bland” novel or watching a movie with a rather “bland” plot.

So that’s how I decided “bland” is a 4-letter word. It is often more offensive than those other, real 4-letter words that get us kicked out of places or frowned upon as socially unacceptable when we use them.

“Bland,” I think, is also an onomatopoeia. It’s one of those words that sound like what it actually is. The word “bland” just sounds gray or muddy brown & lacks the excitement of words like “exhilaration.”

Now, a “bland” diet is something I’m way too familiar with.  I got too familiar with it for the 5 months I was on one while my doctors & I tried to figure out why I kept waking up in the morning sick with an upset stomach … from the stomach literally to the last silly millimeter of my colon.  The detective work led to a rotten gallbladder but that is secondary to the story. It was miserable & while I struggled through that, the diet of choice for me was “bland.”

 A “bland” diet will sustain life. However, if you’re one of those people who build social events & friendships around dinner out, then “bland” is definitely not going to be your cup of tea. Perhaps the most redeeming quality of a “bland” diet is something I remember from childhood & a friend’s mom who was a lousy cook. If anyone complained about the quality of her meals, she would simply respond, “It fills a hole.” And that’s exactly what a “bland” diet does; it fills you up while keeping you alive with absolutely no frills or fanfare.

So during those 5 months I ate the heck out of grits & rice & green beans, peas, oyster crackers, Jell-O & Animal Crackers. There is most likely a potato shortage in Idaho because of my almost daily consumption & I’m guessing the majority of chicken farms are saving money on mammary supports for their hens. I’ve consumed more chicken breasts than there are chickens & most are currently mastectomy survivors, thanks to my “bland” diet.

In the early stages I’d bake a potato at home & take it with me when dining in the home of friends. In late December we were invited to a restaurant with a number of friends to celebrate someone’s birthday. I wanted to go & told my husband I’d just order a baked potato.   Unfortunately, the dinner was at the ONLY restaurant on this PLANET that did NOT have baked potatoes on the menu &, although we were certain there were potatoes somewhere in the kitchen in that restaurant, they refused to bake one for me. So I sat with my Coke & watched my friends eat the most delicious meals. In addition to that particular restaurant, “bland” sucks.

Easing AWAY from a “bland” diet is challenging. You attempt to add new (old) foods to your diet a little bit at a time, hoping to be able to add them permanently BACK into your list of “CAN EAT” foods. There is nothing more exciting than being able to add a food to your list of those you can once again tolerate. Adding pork tenderloin to my diet & eventually Vanilla Wafers was a time of rejoicing & celebration, even though they were once such an accepted part of my diet. I will never take Vanilla Wafers for granted again.

What I’ve learned about “bland” is this:

  1. “Bland” is a 4-letter word & the things we associate with it can seem offensive, if not downright insulting by association.
  2. “Bland” is an onomatopoeia. It SOUNDS like it actually is … gray, muddy brown & lacking in most everything exhilarating.
  3. A “bland” diet will keep you alive. It will keep your stomach & your colon reasonably quiet & you will lose weight. Your cholesterol will take a nose dive & your medical doctor will be impressed, so at least it’s satisfying to someone.

What it WON’T do is bring you joy at dinnertime. It won’t titillate your taste buds & a certain restaurant in our area will not serve you a baked potato because they aren’t included on their rather spicy menu … whether they have them physically on the premises or not.

  1. I’d rather deal with a “bland” diet than nausea, vomiting & diarrhea but not for very long. Potatoes, chicken & Jell-O get “old” quickly & you start lusting after your husband’s roast beef sandwich & that pizza he brought home as a carry-out.
  2. Mealtime is a wonderful thing when you start adding foods to your meager “bland” diet & are able to tolerate them again.
  3. Life is still a beautiful thing, even when infused with a little “bland.
  4. Except for a “bland” diet when it’s necessary, you can always steer clear of those people with “bland” personalities, lousy choices in clothing, housing & spouses.