Dear Dot: A Donation Don’t


Dear Dot is back.

Dear Dot,
I recently purchased a month’s supply of Nutrisystem diet food. I mostly ordered them because of an air miles deal, and I figured they couldn’t be all that bad. After receiving them, however, I found their flavor to be unpalatable. I’d like to donate the leftovers to hurricane victims. They’re all pre-portioned, heat-and-eat vegetarian entrees like cheese ravioli. Is it weird to donate diet food? Am I forcing body images issues onto these hurricane victims on top of everything else?
Thank you,

Dissatisfied Dieter


Dear Dissatisfied,

Your heart is in the right place, and there is no question that our neighbors in places like the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Sheepshead Bay are in serious need of food and other basic supplies, but I would advise that you hold off on subjecting them to the Nutrisystem meals. As I see it, the issue is not that it’s diet food, but that it’s food that you yourself find inedible. You aren’t alone, by the way- a coworker of mine did Nutrisystem for a few weeks last year and she used to show us the lunches every day so we could all marvel at how grim they were. Eventually, when confronted with a can of pre-mixed, shelf-stable tuna salad with an inch of oil floating on top, she threw in the towel on the diet altogether.

I think everyone has tried to imagine at some point over the past two weeks what it would be like to be one of the many people whose lives were turned upside down by Sandy. Losing your home and all of your possessions and being forced to live indefinitely in a dark, freezing hellscape with looters and nor’easters waiting in the wings is a nightmare that no one should ever have to experience in real life. I can’t see how that miserable situation could ever be improved by a can of gelatinous tuna salad or its equivalent, can you? Why don’t you try selling the rejected meals on eBay or Craigslist? I’m sure there a plenty of people who, like you, have access to heat, hot water, and electricity and are in a position to give up tasty meals for a little while in the name of weight loss. You can use the money you make to buy the hurricane victims what they really need: satisfying, nourishing food that might give them a tiny bit of comfort in an otherwise horrific time.

Preferably palatable,


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