Last thing about Paris and then I’ll shut up. I promise. Topic du jour: dessert. My trip made me realize that, for me, it is essential to have dessert with every meal.
This is not based on anything scientific whatsoever, just one sugar lover’s humble opinion after indulging in dessert with every meal for an entire week. I’m not exaggerating for the sake of comedic effect. I really ate 21 desserts while I was on vacay. There were a few factors which contributed to my sugar spree: I was traveling with a food critic who took me to all the finest easting establishments, it’s the French way, and of course, because I was on vacation so I was cutting lose.
A typical dessert day included: with breakfast, a small piece of chocolate or biscuit dipped in my cafe au lait, with lunch a sucre crepe or fruit tarte du jour, and with dinner, a chocolate bomb of some type. (Below are photographs of some of the desserts I consumed.)
What did I discover from my dessert bonanza, you ask? I found that I was a happier, more satisfied human being. And that my sugar cravings went away. In case you are wondering, I know you were … NO, I didn’t gain a single pound. Unless my scale is broken, and that is definitely a possibility.
Let me back up for a moment. I was a very chubby kid. I was that child who was up in the middle of the night, on tiptoe, in the dark, inhaling all the frosting off my brother’s leftover birthday cake while the rest of the house slept. In the morning, I denied all wrong-doing, but it was futile — my family knew I was the frosting bandit. That’s how strong my drive for sugar was and still is. But in “Ami: The Fat Years” (that’s what it would be called if it were a movie), I learned that dessert was something that I could not eat if I ever wanted to be an un-fat person. And as a nine-year-old who was being teased mercilessly at school, I desperately wanted to be un-fat.
I did become un-fat eventually, around the age of 13, with the help of healthier eating habits and puberty. Since then, I’ve either actively avoided dessert, or managed my sugar intake. One square of dark chocolate. No thanks to that doughnut. Two bites of apple pie and that’s it. But what I discovered when I indulged in dessert after breakfast, lunch and dinner was that when I ate sugar regularly throughout the day, its spell over me was broken. It wasn’t that I enjoyed it any less, it was more like, “OMFG this is amazing AND I only need a few bites because I’m going to have it again in three to five hours.”
This was a revelation for me. I think it was the first time in my life when an extra large bowl of chocolate mousse so rich and creamy it tasted like cake frosting (see above, it was ridiculous!) was sitting in front of me and I didn’t feel the overwhelming urge to dive into the bowl and swim around in it for all eternity. I discovered a new freedom. I was in control without having to actively exercise control. It made me trust myself a little bit more. Like myself a little bit more. Think of myself not as a sugar addict on the brink of hitting rock candy bottom, but an enthusiast, expressing her passionate commitment to something she loves, something she’s always loved.
So, now I have a new approach to sweets. I vow to have dessert with every meal (except breakfast since I’m too tired in the morning to do anything more than fix myself a bowl of cereal, but what the heck? Fine! Dessert with breakfast if I feel like it, dammit! ) Today, I had an almond macaroon for lunch dessert. Not sure yet what I’m having for dinner dessert. Something chocolate, I presume.