From The Archives: Spinach Low-Carb Protein ‘Bread’
This low-carb and low-fat recipe is a tribute to Clyde, my sweet old childhood friend. I made it as a tribute to him because he too loved spinach and because his hue was just as green as this ‘bread’ was. Let me tell you about him; let me tell you about Clyde:
Clyde was my first pet. He was a Chilean iguana – and I loved him dearly. We got him when I was in second grade and we were living in Santiago, Chile. I had never had a pet before, not one I could actually call mine and keep in my room (we did have a dog once, a Weimaraner called Linda but she was a family dog and we didn’t really get along – she bit my foot once and I remember crying a lot).
Anyways, Clyde was a dear. He lived in a heated terrarium next to my bed and every day I fed him carrots, spinach, and lettuce.
On the other side of my bed I had a ‘secreter.’ You know, a desk that opened and closed. It looked a bit like this.
Every evening, I’d open my secreter, take Clyde out of his terrarium, close my door (so Clyde wouldn’t escape), and do my homework while Clyde climbed up and down the curtains, ran around on the floor, and eventually landed on my head. I don’t know why he liked to sit on my head so much but he did. It’s one of my fondest memories when I was a kid: just sitting there – with my homework on the ‘secreter’ and Clyde on my head just hanging out.
Now, I was six when we moved to Chile and as soon as I got there I knew one day we’d have to leave. My parents made this very clear to me when we arrived.
“It could be two years or it could be six,” dad said.
And I kind of understood that but, at the same time… I didn’t really know. I mean, I KNEW we would leave but I spent my days as if we never would. As a kid you kind of have to, you know? Because how else can you grow if you never throw down any roots?
Plus, I think kids have a different way of seeing time. At least I did. A year was eternal. I remember writing 1992 on my notepads for what seemed like a lifetime!
Back to Clyde though. I got Clyde in 1995 and I watched him grow into quite a handsome devil. He went through a lot of skins! And I loved him profoundly.
He was born with his mouth ‘set’ into a smile. You know, because iguanas can’t really move their mouths – the shape or their mouths is just ‘set’ at birth. And my Clyde’s mouth was always smiling. He was the nicest color green too, almost bright green! This meant I could spot him really quickly, even when he ‘hid’ in my closet between my clothes during his ‘outings.’
As you can probably imagine though, my relationship with Clyde came to an end. It was 1998 and the time had come for us to leave Chile. We were moving to Chicago and I remember thinking my GOD! What am I going to DO in Chicago!? My imaginary of Chicago – and the US in general – was full of bubblegum and ‘exotic’ candy (because that’s what the kids in Chile who went to the US on holiday brought back with them), The Backstreet Boys, high-school locker rooms packed full of ‘cool kids,’ and a whole lot of delicious fries and burgers. I honestly don’t remember envisioning anything else…
I was fourteen at the time and that’s when I experienced my first heart-break. You see, I couldn’t take Clyde to Chicago with me. I never thought I would to be honest. I knew from the beginning that one day I’d have to let him go.
But I never really faced that fact and when the movers had taken all our stuff and my room lay empty, I remember looking at Clyde and thinking, “this is it, buddy… this is goodbye.”
On a Sunday morning, a few days before we were set to go, a friend of mine came to my house to pick up Clyde. He also had an iguana so I felt Clyde would at least be in good hands. I handed Clyde over, chatted with my friend, he left, I shut the door, and I cried a little (I was never one of these over-dramatic crying-my-head-off-while-screaming kids… well, not when I was a teenager at least).
In the years that followed, my friend and I exchanged a lot of letters. I’d always ask about Clyde and he always wrote to say he was fine, he was fine, he was fine… until I got a strange letter that said he’d given Clyde to a zoo.
Now, looking back on this I’m pretty sure it was either a lie or a wacked-out shorthand for Death. But back then I believed him and this fact laid my worries at ease. I thought it was wonderful. Clyde at a zoo! He would get so much attention, so many new iguana friends!
In 2003 I visited Chile again. A LOT had happened (as you can imagine given our pretty extreme relocation) and I was eager to see all my friends. Everyone looked so ridiculously different. Their voices had changed! Their bodies had changed! And my school suddenly seemed so… small.
The second day I was in Santiago, I saw the friend I’d given my iguana to and I asked him how Clyde was; I asked him how the zoo was treating Clyde and all that. And you know what he said to me? He said, “what zoo?”
To this day I don’t know what happened to Clyde. Did he run away? Did he go… kaput? I don’t know and I didn’t ask my friend what happened (though maybe I should quote unquote the word friend there because what the hell, right?) Or, if I did, I don’t remember his answer. It was a long time ago.
To this day though, I remember Clyde dearly. He was a sweetheart. And this recipe is a tribute to him, my sweet old Clyde. Wherever you went… wherever you might be…