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True Confessions of a Foodie
Tribulations of a Foodie: Bill and I froze the leftover Christmas treats to remove them from temptation. We didn't give each other Valentine hearts of yummy chocolates. My life has become one of spasmodic dieting. How many times have I said, "This time, I really mean it! In the highly unlikely event that they ever canonize me, an appropriate name would be "St. Rose Mary of the Perpetual Diet."
Out of sight, out of mind we thought. Right! I want one of those chocolates. ... I want one of those chocolates. ... I want one of those chocolates, and I want it right now! I'll eat just one. I know myself better than that: one chocolate or roll or donut or chip or cracker or pancake leads to another ... and another.
Just one bite may set me off on a binge like those of the characters in Jan Karon's wonderful Mitford series. The protagonist, Father Tim, who was a borderline diabetic had let his diet and exercise lapse. One evening, exhausted and hungry, he got into Esther Bollick's renowned Orange Marmalade Cake and went into a diabetic coma after which he had to start giving himself daily shots. (Eek! That's enough to make me straighten up!)
His secretary - for reasons that she couldn't explain - got a cheesecake out of the freezer, chopped it up and devoured the whole thing. Esther caught her husband with his head in a big container of frozen cookies destined for the church bazaar, busily chomping away.
Socrates said, "Know thyself." I know that I'm addicted to carbohydrates the way I was once addicted to nicotine. I loved my ciggies. That little flame was a living presence so that I was never lonely or bored. Twenty-five years later, even thinking about it brings a fleeting desire that passes when my mind moves on to something else. I've been asked how a chain smoker like me managed to quit. The radiologist who had inserted balloon catheters to open up arteries in my abdomen said while I was still on the table, "Mrs. Clarke, smoking constricts the arteries. If you don't quit, you'll be back here in a year." I gave my surgeon my last pack of cigarettes and my lighter.
My problem is that I live to eat rather than eating to live. Gradually, I ate myself into weighing 45 pounds more than when we were married. Thank goodness for elastic waist bands! There are two sets of perfectly good bras in my dresser that I can no longer wear. Oh, I'm a long way from dangerously obese, but I gave my cherished 12s and 14s to Vicki last fall, and I was headed for size ... whisper ... 18.
For some it is sweets. My weakness is bread, wonderful bread: foccacia, French, corn bread, garlic bread, pita, Christine's rolls, Mother's homemade loaves hot from the oven. ... Some scoff at American bread. Not I! I'd like six slices of toast slathered with butter this very minute! Then there are potatoes: baked, fried, roasted in the oven with rosemary and olive oil, au gratin, French fried.
I'm a pastaholic. I never tasted a pasta that I didn't adore! I could write an ode, a sonnet, a veritable opera to the glories of pasta! How many pastas are there? Let me count the kinds: spaghetti, fettuccine, rigatoni, farfalle (bow ties), orechiette (little ears), penne ... Aren't their names lovely? Fifty kinds are listed in our Italian cookbook!
I've just come in from straightening the freezer. The chocolates are now buried under the boneless, skinless, soulless chicken breasts. I've eaten so much chicken that I expect to sprout pin feathers, and my skin may change color from eating so much of our other diet staple, vegetable soup.
I've lost 12 pounds. However, its so easy to fall into the pit. Never use food as a reward for good conduct. Before we went to dinner with friends, I said, "I'm going to treat myself to pasta. "That would have been O.K. except that I started with TGI Friday's delicious French-fried green beans. Afterwards, nicely carbohydrated, I ordered a warm brownie topped with ice cream and hot fudge. Sigh . . . At least I was smart enough to invite two of my friends to share it.
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