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Brains!

Okay, the honest title of this article should be Breads! But then I would have to explain that it had to be spoken in the voice of the zombies from an episode of The Simpsons… and I hate having to spend three sentences prior to writing my article trying to explain the title. I hope you enjoyed this daily helping of irony.

I do not remember during which of her visits Leslie made a large bread pudding, but it was likely either October or November. This was well before my diet, and I indulged… and I did not regret a single tasty morsel!

To put into perspective how much she made: Despite her having frozen more than half of what was left after the second night of our enjoying it, I still indulged nightly for a week. There was a lot of bread pudding.

For better or for worse, I forgot that it was there. As will happen so often in freezers around the world, the container made its way to the back, and was forgotten for months. If it had not been frozen in a Corning ware pot, it might have stayed there until I moved.

I have a collection of Corning pots and pans, and all the square(ish) ones have lids. Last week I cleaned the kitchen in preparation for Passover, and I decided to relocate these pots and pans. As I did, I noticed I had an extra lid… strange.

I spent a few days trying to figure out where it came from? Did my friends who gifted me the set give me an extra lid? I think I would have noticed that when I put everything away the first time. Did I (or someone else) break one? I could not think that would have happened… Had it been Leslie or my cleaning lady, they would have told me. The only other people who have been in my kitchen since I moved in are Lyle (who has never cooked for me in my kitchen) and Eduardo (who I’m not sure has ever cooked for me anywhere), and my kids… Aaron did make me a meal when I was laid up with my broken ankle, but I was in the kitchen with him the whole time and I would have noticed. The only thing Gilad ever makes in my kitchen is microwave popcorn. Not them.

Friday was the first night of Passover, and while I did not have a Seder to go to, I was going to do my best to make it as well as I could. Unfortunately, the stores were closed that day, so I had to make do with what I had in the house. I reached into the freezer for the homemade chicken stock that Lyle had given me a few months ago and I saw it… right next to the frozen chicken stock was a Corning ware pot covered not with the iconic glass lid, but with aluminum foil.

imageThe mystery of the extra lid was solved.

Yesterday afternoon I pulled the dish out of the freezer so that I could throw out the contents and reclaim the pot. Aside from it being Passover, bread pudding is seriously not on my diet. It had to go! The only problem is that it was frozen solid.

Lyle and Dorothy had Leslie and I over one day and they told us that someone was going to buy some of their Corning ware, but decided not to, citing that it was not microwave friendly. That has become a recurring inside joke. All joking aside, I did not want to microwave it for two reasons:

  1. Doing so would render my microwave treyf (no longer Kosher for Passover); and
  2. The magnificent aromas of the defrosting desert would make my mouth water and would likely be too great a temptation to resist taking even a little taste.

I decided to let the pot sit on the counter overnight. Sometime today it would be sufficiently defrosted to throw out.

In the meantime, for nearly fifteen hours, there was a very delicious, very naughty, very inviting desert just sitting there on the counter, ready for anyone to just dive into. It need not be a dive… just a taste of the sweet syrupy goodness would be sufficient, right?

Let us ignore for the moment that from mast evening through early this afternoon, I was very much in the doghouse, and worried that I might never be allowed out again. The emotions in me – the wholly negative emotions that coursed through my veins – were saying ‘WHO CARES? Why bother dieting? Everything put together sooner or later falls apart, and you only live once so indulge and enjoy!’ Had I given in, I would have been done for.

There is a quote from the television show The West Wing where Leo McGarry (brilliantly portrayed by the late John Spencer) says ‘I’m an alcoholic. I don’t need a good reason to <drink>.’ (Season 2, Episode 7) He also says, in an earlier episode (Season 1 Episode 13), in response to ‘You can’t have a drink?’ he replies: ‘The problem is, I don’t want a drink, I want ten drinks.’

When I am at my best, when I am focused, when everything is well in the world, then I might (and only might) be able to take a taste and leave the rest. Last night and this morning I was nowhere near my best, and my focus was shot. Had I taken a taste of the pudding, I would have taken another taste… and after a few ‘who are we kidding?’ tastes, I would have abandoned all pretext and I would have taken a very large serving… or two.

Have you ever had a battle of wits with a recently discovered Corning ware pot full of homemade treats? If you have, then you might be a food addict. I know I am.

Shortly before 1:00pm, I got the call that made my heart soar. Leslie had forgiven me. It is much more complicated than just that, but the details are nobody’s business but ours.

As I started cleaning up my dishes from lunch, I held open the kitchen garbage bag and emptied the tempting, sweet, gooey contents of the pot into it. HRF Princess Sophie helped me to tidy up the tiny bit that fell onto the floor. I immediately filled the pot with hot water and soap, and then sealed the garbage bag and walked it to the garbage room.

It does not take much to defeat us. It is easy to give up. That is why we must celebrate and share our victories, so that others who might one day be in the doghouse with a pot full of bread pudding sitting on the counter can draw strength and courage to do the right thing… when the alternative would be so easy.

There are days when I falter, fall, and fail. Today will not be one of those days. We have to remember that as a mantra for every day.

Mitch and his diet: 1

Temptation: 0

Final Score… for now.

2 responses to “Brains!”

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