26 April 2010 at 12:21 pm 2 comments

Look at all this lovely cheese!

Cheese is truly the number one sneak thief of the dairy kingdom! No other dairy product infiltrates so many courses so easily. Cheese can be found in appetizers, salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. I picked it out of my salads, I peeled it off my taquitos, and I found myself asking, “What is in this ____?” over and over again, just to be sure I didn’t accidentally eat it in a casserole. At a wedding on Saturday, I took a full bite of a won-ton before I realized that its stuffing had cheese in it. I quickly found a napkin and spit it out, but I didn’t try many more of the offerings on the table…there weren’t that many spare napkins.

Perhaps the hardest dish to give up was a beautifully cheesy pasta dish I was offered on Friday.

It looked like this, only 100x cheesier!

Our family calls it rattlesnake pasta, because it has just a kick of chile, which gives it some “bite”. On a Monday, it wouldn’t have been such a sacrifice, but I’d been feeling particularly stressed out by Friday afternoon: work had been difficult; I didn’t finish my list of projects for the week; I hadn’t gotten in my lunchtime walk through the desert either (which always makes me a bit cranky); and then I strolled through the door and there – sitting in the middle of the table, haloed in a golden light was a beautiful bubbling pasta. The cheese was so thick that you could see it stretch and separate into ragged edges of cheesy goodness when you took out a spoonful: comfort food extraordinaire — and I couldn’t take a bite! Oh, how I wanted to!  I knew that just one taste, just one spoonful, would make my bad workweek a long-forgotten memory and I would be able to relax. My shoulders would loosen, I’d take off my shoes and let the natural chemistry of cheese and starch do its number on my brain…

But it wasn’t to be.

Instead I had a salad and ice cream.

And this is perhaps what saved me from total devastation last week. I went without cheese, but not without all dairy products. (Which is what true Vegans actually do.) So I consumed milk and ice cream by the bowlful! As a general rule, I do not drink much milk by itself – I use it in cooking, but a tall glass of milk is usually just an accessory to a large, round cookie. However, this past week I drank two whole glasses of milk without anything else! I could almost hear my bones gasping, “Calcium!” like a parched wanderer cries for water while trying to clutch the sun. It was probably all in my head. A true calcium deficiency could not have appeared in only a few days, but it didn’t matter what made sense. I only mattered how I felt. So, I downed my body’s choking gasps with a river of white, creamy milk. I felt downright silly without a cookie to dip, but I drank so quickly that the feeling didn’t last long.

I think perhaps Ms. Jaunty is right — I can go a week without cheese. It didn’t kill me, but I still don’t think I could go for the rest of my life without it. And a small part of me knows that going one week without my yummy snack will only make it more delicious now, especially when I devour the chocolate cheesecake my sister made from scratch – I can hardly wait!

THIS WEEK: A WEEK WITHOUT looking at myself in the mirror or any other reflective surface.


Entry filed under: word of the week. Tags: , , , , .

a week without — NEW THEME! apology

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marja  |  26 April 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Congrats on the cheese-free week. But the question should be asked for this coming week….how are you going to do your hair or put your make-up on without looking in the mirror?

    Also, I learned with my healthy eating that when you have disappointmets or hard days at work, you shouldn’t look to food for comfort. You need to find some other destination for those feelings. Not easy, but doable.

  • 2. Rebekah  |  26 April 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Brave woman! You made it!

    Food addictions really ARE addictions, not just a slight hankerin’ for certain substances. Sugar’s the big one for me; I’ve been cutting back, and it gives me new sympathy for alcoholics and junkies everywhere.

    I loved your “Rattlesnake Pasta That Got Away” description— so heart-rending! I had a similar experience on a Fast Sunday once; I came home from church, grabbed a great big bowl of cookie dough, and THEN remembered I was fasting. My hands shook as I put down the spoon and backed away.

    No mirrors! That’s a HUGE one! I’ll definitely be tuning in next time.

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