This week’s Spin Cycle is all about “temptation.”
I think it’s fitting that Gretchen, co-proprietress of the Spin Cycle these days, made her temptation Spin about food. Particularly, the treats found in abundance at her favorite grocery store, Trader Joes.
In response to her post, I wrote:
No Trader Joe’s here, but I wouldn’t shop there anyway. I have a standing rule that might help you – if I want something I know I shouldn’t eat, I have to make it myself. No getting it prepackaged at the store.
Or it might not help; you like to cook as much as I do, and the only thing the rule has done is make me very good at making cakes, cookies, bread, biscuits, muffins, cheesecakes, candy, egg nog and ice cream from scratch. And, heaven help me, I can make them gluten and/or dairy free. *sigh*
But I’m reeeeeaaaaallly popular with friends/family/co-workers during the holidays.
I identify completely with Gretchen’s observation that she and her family view “rewards” for good behavior in terms of food that is less than healthful (although I don’t agree with her including cheeses in the “less than healthful” category – the biggest problem with cheese, if you can handle the dairy, is the ability to easily overindulge). I not only use food to reward myself, but to comfort myself in times of stress or sorrow and as a way to alleviate boredom, although I’ve gotten quite good in recent years at asking myself, “Are you really hungry, or just bored/stressed/angry/unhappy?”
Not that I always listen, but I DO ask.
This year, especially the summer and autumn, has been quite stressful – in some ways good, but in many ways not-so-good. And over the course of the last several months, I’ve found myself saying things like, “You know what sounds good? Biscuits and gravy for breakfast!!”
Yes, homemade with real all-purpose flour. Because while I’d sooner cut off my right arm than buy a tube biscuits and a packet of gravy mix, I also know that I can make them from scratch in about the same amount of time it would take me to run to the grocery store and buy them. PLUS, I can make sure they’re made with organic flour, butter and milk from completely grass-fed cows and pastured lard, with no weird additives/chemicals designed to improve their shelf life.
So, there have been cupcakes. And chocolate waffles (good gawd, were those good). And Bavarian Apple Cheesecake (equally delicious). And blondies. And handmade pizza. And lasagna with handmade pasta. Not every day, by any means, or even every week – I haven’t really felt like cooking since The Young One left for college, which has been a blessing, really – but when the mood strikes, I haven’t denied myself the pleasure.
And a pleasure it’s been. In more ways than one, because I love making these things and they taste so much better than anything you can buy pre-made or from a mix. Beloved’s groused about it a little (but he’s eaten all of it, and asked for repeat performances of the pizza and lasagna), but The G Man is certainly loving it – he likes helping Meema make cookies and pizza almost as much as likes playing video games.
Now, if I’m going to be completely honest here, there have been a couple of pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (their “basic” flavors, like French Vanilla and Chocolate contain nothing but milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and/or chocolate). And to be equally honest, if I over-indulge in any of the these treats, I WILL feel the effects afterwards – my digestion suffers (although not nearly as much as in the past, probably due to the amounts of lacto-fermented vegetables we eat), and my allergies and arthritis reassert themselves (again, not nearly as bad as in years past). Just reminders that these things should remain just what they are meant to be – occasional treats.
The good news in all of this is I’ve pretty much completely cut out alcohol all together – frankly, the fact that I would come home in the evenings and immediately think about a glass of wine or a cocktail (or two…or even three) became far more disturbing to me than making and eating pizza or cheesecake a couple of times a month. And the really nutty thing is that I’ve begun to lose weight again – slowly, yes, but it is happening. Very encouraging, considering how I’ve been stalled for over a year now.
So, that’s my confession about succumbing to temptation as of late. I guess what I’d really like to know is, would you all begin to leave in droves if I began exploring the realms of things like sprouted heritage wheat flours and sourdough starters, and occasionally posting about it? Because, being completely honest, I miss baking bread.