Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere But Only Coke to Drink

 Acouple of weeks ago, an Efrat resident posted the following message to our local elist:

"My daughter is doing a water survey–one quick question–How many families drink only water during the week at meals (as opposed to juices and fizzy drinks – not including milk, tea, coffee)?
Please answer with ‘only water’ or ‘other drinks’."

This question brought out the anti-sugar folk in droves. "Water," they answered, one by one, "Water," "WATER" and even, "water," until one brave soul at last dared to reply as follows:

"Hi my name is [name withheld] and I am an addict. I drink Pepsi Max for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between and yes I know its unhealthy."

Oh boy, did I ever relate.

After years of drinking heavily iced Coca Cola, my husband had put his foot down just a few weeks earlier and told me I had to go off the stuff and start drinking water. This was a tall order. I hate water.

Yes. That's right. I HATE water. Always have. The only time I can stomach the stuff is right after brushing my teeth and then, only if the glass is mostly filled with ice.

The family joke is that I am ALLERGIC to water. 

But at the time the water survey was posted to the efrat-chat, I had, Glory Be to the Man Upstairs, been off of Coca Cola for several weeks. This was no mean feat. However, I agreed with Dov (reluctantly) that Coca Cola was really bad for me on several levels, bad for our budget, and that substituting water was the only way to go.

Even these many weeks later, weaned from the love of my life: Coca Cola, in my heart of hearts I was still rooting for [name withheld] since I had imbibed the lovely brown brew since I was wee and sweet habits such as these are hard to break.

Blame it on my mother if you like. My kids are fascinated at the idea that when I was a kid, we actually had a Pop Man who delivered cases of the fizzy stuff to our home on demand. Mom just picked up the phone and placed an order. The Pop Man's truck would pull into our driveway and burly men would unload case after case of pop, bringing it in to the house through the garage door and into our basement. 

My mom would send one of us kids down to the basement to bring up a few bottles of pop for dinner and we'd line 'em up on the side bar where my mom would fix us drinks on demand. My personal favorite was a mix of black cherry and cola. The brand of pop the Pop Man brought to our home was Cott and I remember the advertisements: "It's Cott to be good!"

As I child I developed a fondness for cola added to my milk. There was something about the smell, which reminded me of chlorinated swimming pools. I would not drink milk unless coke was added to the brew. 

I also remember that if my mom was pouring two glasses of cola at the same time, one for me and one for my sister, and one glass was even slightly fuller than the other, the sister with the less-full glass would cry foul until my mother managed to correct the cola levels to those deemed fair in our eyes. This is the purest expression of sibling rivalry I can remember from my past.

Much later, I moved to Israel and discovered that Coca Cola in Israel is made according to a different recipe, or perhaps it's different because the water is different. I don't know. But I do know that Coke in America tastes better. It's less sweet and has a greater depth of flavor. 
Still, had it not been for Coca Cola, I doubt I could have made it through my pregnancies. I suffered from hyperemesis all through my 12 pregnancies. I would become dehydrated and malnourished in each successive pregnancy, unable to hold down food or drink. Except: you guessed it. Coke. With lots of ice. 

With pregnancy behind me, and weight gain in front of me *gulp* I have been forced to take extreme measures. Dov was right. It was time to go off of coke.

But I never saw my mother drink anything other than weak tea or diet cola until today. Well into her 80's she seems to thrive on these non-nutritive substances and has the most beautiful skin I've ever seen in a senior. Drinking water seems almost a betrayal of her teachings. *sigh*


  1. Great article LOVED that you referred to coke as POP! So tired of all the midwesterners giving in to that east coast
    "SODA" and i have to agree with dov here... nothing healthy in coke sugar, corn syrup whatever and lots of caffeine. but as you have told me regarding my coffee situation.. a little wont hurt....

  2. Thanks Mira. One day, I may find out why everything wonderful: Coke, Chocolate, Coffee...starts with C. Maybe Cookie Monster knows the answer.