As the government toys with new shapes for the food pyramid, #1 son has shared with me his idea for the two essential food groups: sweetitude and meatitude. He may have felt he needed to explain this to me because I fixed oatmeal for breakfast. Or perhaps it was that I had looked through Ozarque’s (http://www.livejournal.com/users/ozarque/ ) large collection of food magazines and was considering making a nice ricotta and beet tart for Thanksgiving. In any case, his system is simple and easy to learn: meatitude and sweetitude, in equal amounts.

The Water Jar ( http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=TheWaterJar ) has expressed the concept of meatitude much better than I could, in his 11/9 entry. Don’t miss the pictures. If they make you slightly ill, then you are not a candidate for this system. Or you may be female.

At our house, at least, eating large pieces of flesh is a guy thing. Our males are all serious meat-eaters. My husband was watching the Discovery channel and saw a large tarantula, displayed in close detail. He immediately began telling me how to cook it, and how delicious it would be. He does eat plenty of rice and vegetables, but makes up for that by also eating bones and internal organs. My sons eat meat — just slices of meat — for after-school snacks. #2 son makes shopping lists that specify “meaty pieces of chicken.” #1 daughter does not eat red meat, and #2 daughter and I are food-pyramid eaters.

I know that there are many male vegetarians and doubtless there are women who eat ribs, but I am still inclined to think of serious carnivorous behavior as most characteristic of young men. Something to do with the Warrior Spirit, perhaps. The meat market where I shop was opened in the first place because the owner had four sons.

Meatitude also includes such things as frozen pizzas, corn dogs, and egg rolls. Even cheese can be included in the meatitude category, as long as it is not used as a substitute for meat.

Sweetitude covers sugary cereals, sodas, ice cream, and candy. You don’t find these things very often at my house. If we are going to have sweets, I feel, they should be worthwhile sweets. Chocolate Nemesis, perhaps, or a really good pecan pie. Fresh fruit tarts with frangipane, or crisp spicy cookies. Homemade only. I am not supposed to eat sugar at all, so I am not going to squander my occasional indulgences on things made of corn syrup and chemicals.

My sons do not agree, and they are very fond of the Schwann’s man, who brings sugary things right to the door, where they can jump in and persuade me to buy them without the interference of shopping lists and nutrition labels.

The blog of X-Entertainment (http://www.x-entertainment.com/updates/ ) may best express the true appreciation of sweetitude. You will notice, in his very funny reviews of foods, that quantity and sweetness are the criteria.

The meat market I mentioned (http://www.richardsmeatmarket.com/ ) specializes in sweetitude and meatitude. My sons say that they have all the groceries a guy needs: meat, spices for meat, a few packaged side dishes to go along with the meat, pies, and candy. And cheese, chips, and soda. There is even a small display of vegetables in the middle of the room: potatoes to bake with your meat, onions to flavor your meat, and an occasional real vegetable looking lost.

Please feel free to adopt these food groups for your own. They will simplify your shopping enormously. Using the terms will add an air of seriousness to it. “Do we have enough sweetitude?” you can say, casting a practiced eye over your shopping basket. “I think we may have a preponderance of meatitude.” Agreeing, your roommate adds a bag of M&Ms and a few boxes of snack cakes.

I say “roommate” because adults cannot thrive on sweetitude and meatitude. We have to eat beets and parsnips, and possibly even kale. Not to mention oat bran. If you are old enough to have a spouse and children, it is time to give in and embrace the food pyramid.  Or whatever the government decides to replace it with.

My cotton brocade Mystery Object is coming along at a rate of about four rows per day, which is not fast enough to finish it in five days. I will try to put on a burst of speed this weekend, when I will also be making the London Beanie to go with the second DNA scarf and, with any luck, beginning the third DNA scarf. The sad truth is that texture stitches in dark colors do not make nice photographs, so there is no point in my showing you a picture. Even if it weren’t a secret.