The other day, I had the most sublimely perfect, splendid, utterly edible Nacho Cheese Dorito I had ever had in my life.
Just one. Just one. None of this kind of stuff:
Now, before I go on more, I must acknowledge that I have lately been feeling like John Belushi in the later parts of the movie "Continental Divide." You know, when his newspaper-columnist character is so enamored of his absent love that everything he writes -- including a travel piece -- turns into something sexual. I am that way lately about food. I am trying to lose a whole bunch of flab, have been on Weight Watchers for a couple of weeks and think about food often, especially when trying to find something WW-friendly when I am out. The bride and I went to an Indians game on Sunday, and the main thing I remember now is the hot dog.
I have also been doing some reading in preparation for seeing "Julie & Julia" tonight, including the book "Julie & Julia," by Julie Powell, and the posthumously released "My Life in France" by Julia Child. I also looked at some old videos of Child's "The French Chef." And, my goodness, the butter!
But this is all leading to some expressions of pleasure, and not only for that Dorito. No fresh insights here, just fresher food.
For one thing, even after a couple of months -- I had started working on weight loss before joining WW -- I feel better. I am not dragging as a big a spare tire around with me. And the changes in diet -- including the reintroduction of lots of vegetables and salads -- have made my taste buds happier. I physically missed the green stuff. And the increased amount of cooking at home has made for better food overall than the processed stuff or the quick grilled-meat-and-potatoes approach of the past.
I'm salivating just thinking about it.
Shopping is not more fun, since the assembling of a menu and grocery list takes much longer than it used to. But the cooking is. I like the solo puttering around the kitchen, and I like it even more when the bride and I are cooking together, chopping this and checking the pantry for that, and at the end having something that is an object of shared pride. (Most of the time, anyway. We had one dish that came out less than spendidly, although we have an idea of how to repair it next time around.) We would spend some time when we were cooking before, but the new process is more involved, and we end up working together more.
In addition, the act of eating has become more enjoyable. That's about time as much as the actual chewing. I take my time more over a meal, partly because it tastes good, partly to slow down my consumption.
Which brings me at last to that Dorito.
Every now and then, I have to give myself a little treat, while staying within my WW points. So a few days ago I bought a small bag of Doritos. In bygone days, that (or, more often, Cheetos) would be a morning snack, rapidly consumed. Buy, rip open, chomp and swallow, so quickly I now realize I was mostly tasting salt. And not especially enjoying it. Habit eating, stress eating, whatever you want to call it. It wasn't exactly a culinary experience.
When I opened up that bag, I had one Dorito. One. And I ate it slowly, savoring every fatty, salty, flavored bite. And I loved it more than one of those bags full that I used to devour.
I have had another here and there, but they haven't been as good as that first one, which came after weeks of self-denial. Still, it taught me that I can still have some of what I used to like, as well as a lot of what I am getting to like again. And all of it will taste better.