62. Partners in Craving

62. Partners in Craving

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

Partners in Craving

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
 ~James Beard

In the early days of our low-carb diet, my husband and I sat on the couch, and as if we were reading romantic love poems to each other, we recited how many carbohydrates our favorite foods had. For Valentine’s Day, we had purchased pocket-sized editions of Dr. Atkins’ Carbohydrate Gram Counters for each other instead of candy, so that we could remain loyal to each other and to the lifestyle, and not get fat again.

“Two tablespoons of cream cheese with chives and onions have only two net carbs,” I said, “and they also have two grams of protein.”

“That’s a good one,” my husband replied, “but what are we going to do? Lick it off our fingers?”

“We can have it on celery!” I said, with false enthusiasm.

We went back to our side-by-side net carb browsing and dreaming.

“Pesto sauce!” my husband said, “There are only 1.2 net carbs in two tablespoons of pesto sauce, and it has 5.6 grams of protein!” I knew his mind was where mine was, inhaling the memories of Pasta Pesto from our favorite Italian restaurant, a dish that went perfectly with their garlic bread. We hadn’t been to that restaurant for many months because there were too many temptations, even though both of us admitted to dreaming about lapping up the last few drops of pesto sauce with a wedge of garlic bread.

“We can’t put pesto sauce on celery,” I sulked.

“Yeah, but we can put it on a steak!” my husband, the barbecue maven, said.

“That actually sounds good,” I said. “But I need it on something that crunches. Like focaccia or Italian bread.”

Having seen success losing weight on this diet, neither of us wanted to spoil a good thing. My husband had lost 30 pounds and was nearing his perfect weight. I had lost 60 pounds, and I now weighed less than my husband for the first time in 20 years, since before my first pregnancy. I had about 25 pounds to go to reach my ideal weight.

But nonetheless, we have our cravings.

Some couples discuss politics, the effect of El Niño, or their children. When my husband and I are relaxing, we talk about the foods we would eat if they were good for us and we did not have the tendency to gain weight. We often discuss Dairy Queen hot fudge sundaes, the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven, apple pie à la mode, and potato chips. We also discuss hot pretzels, baked potatoes with gobs of butter and sour cream, and eating Thanksgiving stuffing as a main course. But mostly, we discuss things that crunch.

My husband has even begun cooking things on the grill a bit too long so that they are charred. “You cooked the steak too long,” I say.

“Yeah, but it crunches!” he replies.

~Felice Prager

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