My husband Michael and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. As I dressed for dinner, I noticed my calves were a bit sore. It was those stupid calf raises Marq made me do the other day, and again with the thirty pound weights. But no matter, I threw on some high heels anyway. It was my anniversary and I wanted to look nice. And also to remind Michael that marrying me fourteen years ago was a grand idea. I, of course, realize it was his best idea ever, but he forgets sometimes. So I like to remind him how utterly fabulous I am. At least once a year.
Dining out is always a tricky proposition. You really don’t know how the food is prepared, regardless of what it states in the menu. How much oil did they use? How much salt? And very few restaurants post the calorie content of their menu options. Adding to the mystery of what you’re eating is the slow, seductive pace of fine dining, which always makes me want to overeat. It’s a dieter’s worst nightmare.
We sat down and Michael asked, “So, are we going to have wine tonight?”
“Of course,” I replied, “It’s our anniversary.”
See what I mean about the slippery slope. And this time I didn’t feel that guilty. And even if I did, the In8 plan is supposed to be about a lifestyle, not a diet. And part of my lifestyle is occasionally enjoying a glass of red wine. Plus, there’s tons of research that says red wine is heart healthy. (Does that sound convincing? I’m trying out that line of reasoning to see if it’ll stick, that way I can rationalize my red wine consumption.)
I relaxed into the booth and perused the menu. I quickly passed over several appetizers: fried oysters—nope, can’t do fried. Shrimp and Scallop scampi with brandy—nope, too much butter. White pizza—uh uh, bread and cheese are off limits. We finally settled on the sauté of calamari with capers, lemons and garlic, and I told the waitress to please ask the chef to go easy on the oil.
“I’m trying to be good,” I explained to her.
Our waitress, knowing we were celebrating our wedding anniversary said, “Even on your anniversary?”
Good Lord, I thought, the entire food industry is trying to sabotage me. Coaxing me into making bad decisions, dangling excuses right in front of me like a piece of chocolate cake.
“Yes, even on my anniversary,” I responded, mentally subtracting five percent from her tip.
Returning shortly with our calamari, Michael and I relished the dish. Lightly sautéed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and the biggest capers I’ve ever seen, it was delicious. The ingredients created a scrumptious broth that pooled at the bottom of the bowl. Michael picked up a white dinner roll from the basket on our table and greedily sopped up the broth. I refrained from joining him. White bread is definitely a no-no.
But I watched him. Dipping that hot, yeasty piece of heaven into the lemon broth and bringing it up to his lips. I was mesmerized and, frankly, a little pissed off. It didn’t help that he was making all those orgasmic eating noises. Soft little, “mmmms” and an occasional, “Oh my God that’s good.”
I sat across from him sipping my wine, nursing my resentment, and contemplated reaching across the table to plant a kiss on him. Just so I could absorb the essence of that roll.
But I didn’t. I sat there with my slightly sore calves, a constant reminder that I’m being a good girl. And I was a good girl, for most of the meal. After splitting the calamari and an arugula salad, I had a side of sautéed spinach for my entrée. Not too shabby for dining out.
But then our waitress showed up with the dessert menu. I mentally dropped her tip another five percent. On it was peanut butter pie. I love peanut butter pie. Actually, I just love peanut butter. I bet if my mom had served liver coated in peanut butter I would never have laughed during the blessing.
I didn’t order it. I didn’t. But Michael did. And I had two bites. And I won’t lie to you, it was fantastic. Thank God Michael liked it too because I don’t think I could have resisted it had he pushed it aside. He devoured it, saving me from myself. Whew.
Reflecting back on my experience it occurs to me that while the dessert was fabulous, I don’t normally order dessert. So two bites of pie was actually quite a treat for me. The thing that I missed most was the bread. Normally I would have joined Michael in his dipping, sopping, slurping extravaganza. That was tough to watch.
I think I’m going to have to start a support group, Breadaholics Anonymous. Here’s my first draft of our pledge.
“God grant me the serenity to accept that I cannot have white bread;
the courage to watch others eat it;
and the wisdom that inflicting harm on bread-eaters will land me in jail.