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Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 64: The Road Not Taken, The Food Not Eaten

20080306-scale.jpgDo you ever go out of your way not to eat something seriously delicious? Until I started my diet, I never did. In fact, I've spent my life convincing friends, loved ones, and colleagues that barbecue joints, pizzerias, and fried chicken shacks were in fact on our way even though they might have been ten miles out of the way. When we were in South Carolina on vacation I convinced my wife and son and some friends that Sweatman's Barbecue was right down the road. Of course the road turned out to be 30 miles long.

Twenty years ago I convinced my then boss that Lexington Barbecue 1 was right on the way to our ad agency pitch at Hanes underwear. Well, it turned out to be not on the way at all, and my boss got a speeding ticket trying to make up for the time we spent at Lexington Barbecue. We were a half hour late and didn't get the business, but, man, our pork sandwiches were seriously delicious.

And then there was the time that I convinced my wife to stop at Dr. Mike's Ice Cream in Bethel, Connecticut, because it was right on the way to our friend's house in Warren, Connecticut. It turned out it would have been only 15 minutes out of the way if I hadn't somehow left one (one!) of my sneakers in the parking lot at Dr. Mike's. Of course I didn't realize that fact until we had arrived at our friends' house 15 miles away from Dr. Mike's.

In each case listed above my desire for the food in question was fueled by a wholly manufactured sense of urgency that came out of convincing myself I might never get another opportunity to try Sweatman's or Lexington Barbecue or Dr. Mike's ever again.

So yesterday I rode my bike to Serious Eats World HQ and parked it in the office. I had no lunch plans, so I started thinking about all the places I could get to in 15 minutes on my bike: Co. for really fine pizza, Olympic Pita for a chicken schwarma, Szechuan Gourmet for some lamb with chilies and cumin, Taim for the finest falafel in the city; and, yes, even Shake Shack for a burger and custard. The seriously delicious possibilities were endless. I thought to myself that it's so rare that I have my bike at the office and have enough time to take it out for lunch. This opportunity might not come along again for awhile, if ever.

Then, eureka! It hit me. I don't have to avail myself of every opportunity for seriously delicious eating. Shake Shack's not going anywhere (in fact they opened a branch four blocks from my house). Neither is Co. or Taim or Olympic Pita. I don't have to take every path to deliciousness that presents itself. There's this whole idea of delaying food gratification that I've never fully grokked before.

So I ended up walking to the corner deli for a turkey sandwich with coleslaw. Was it seriously delicious? Nah, but it was good enough. And maybe today, with the sun shining down once again on the streets of New York, there will be another opportunity for deliciousness if I take my bike to work.

The Weigh-In

Here we go. It's been a pretty good week capped by the road not taken, so I'm feeling pretty confident. 219. All right! Yes! Down two more pounds, closing in on my no- longer-goal of 218. Hopefully all roads will lead to 200.

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