After 182 weeks of sharing the highs and lows of trying to get a handle on my weight as a serious eater, I need a break from this column. This column has changed my life and my weight. So I'm taking the rest of August off with the idea that I will use this month-long hiatus to recharge, rethink, and retool the column.
Although I wouldn't wish what I have gone through this week on anyone, I have to say that five visits to a dentist in four days is certainly an effective caloric journey enhancer. My teeth and gums had been hurting all last week, but I certainly wasn't going to go to the dentist before the Sandwich Fest. I didn't eat much there anyway, but not because of my sandwich fest planning. I was just too busy. But by last Sunday my mouth was killing me, so I went to the dentist on Monday.
Yup, tomorrow is our big all-star sandwich fest on Governor's Island. I'm really looking forward to it, but it is certainly going to be a challenge, caloric journey-wise. Why? Because we are serving up so much seriously delicious stuff eating that everything in moderation would still be overeating. So what am I going to do? I'm going to focus on the sandwiches I haven't had before.
With the sweltering summer heat upon the city where I live, every time I emerge from New York's 72nd Street subway station covered in sweat, I'm thinking about what treat I can give myself to both cool off and help me recover from that awful experience. So this summer I have started to compile a list of calorically affordable treats. What are yours?
We've been up on Martha's Vineyard for eight days now, and I thought I would give you a caloric journey progress report. On the Fourth, our friends the Grands invited us over for raw clams and oysters, homemade gravlax, and Ann Grand's justifiably famous pulled pork. Ann's pork is amazing, but I managed to avoid both heaping seconds on my plate and piling the pork on the soft hamburger buns she provided. Again, though I could have done better, I also could have done a lot worse. As for the rest of the week...
Now that it's summer I have a favorite pair of shorts and linen and cotton pants—they're reliable barometers for my weight. Each time I put one of them on, I can tell how I've been doing. If they are tighter, if I have to reach just a little bit further to close the clasp, I know it's time to increase my fruits and vegetable quotient.
Vicky had bought a head of romaine lettuce, walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese to make one of her favorite salads the day before, so she was determined to serve it for dinner last night. While I watched a replay of the Yankees game (I had forgotten that it was an afternoon game, so I never checked the score during the day) Vicky made the salad. It was seriously delicious, a perfect June meal, and one that I never would have thought to make myself.
All right, fans and occasional naysayers of my caloric journey. I am going to take this journey down a different path for awhile. It's my journey, so I determine the route. I read everyone's comments last week with great interest, both the positive and the negative ones. Of all the comments last week I found Teachertalk's to be the one I couldn't stop thinking about. This is what she said.
Although I didn't much care for some of the comments on last week's caloric journey post (though I'm sure they weren't meant to be, a couple of them felt personal, judgmental, and overly harsh—after all I am trying, and I've managed to keep a lot of weight off for a long time), I have to admit that some folks were right. I am at an inflection point on my caloric journey.
A dinner at Telepan, two seders, a Slice review with three pizzerias on one corner, three Food Lab preparations of lamb, and a Treme second season premiere party followed by a huge spread of short ribs and roast chicken. Trouble city, right, SE'rs?
It was a gorgeous New York early spring evening. The birds were chirping, the forsythia were blooming, I was headed to an important business dinner at one of my current favorite restaurants in New York City, ABC Kitchen. I started fantasizing about ABC Kitchen's toasts, the open-faced sandwiches that chef Dan Kluger (the crab sandwich toast is my favorite). I was thinking about all this seriously delicious food I was about to eat. Then reality hit. It was Thursday night.
After my 40 pound weight gain last week (all right, it was an April Fools' post) I needed and wanted to have a good week, caloric journey-wise. There have been a few hurdles at Serious Eats World HQ. Kettle chips, multiple nut brittles, mini apple crumb pie, and more.
I knew this week was going to be a rough one on my caloric journey, but I had no idea how rough. Last weekend I decided to do a solo taste test of every Haagen Dazs flavor out there. I tried to eat only one spoonful of each variety, but I ended up eating two pints of Dulce de Leche, by myself. Where were my wife and son when I needed them most?
Ed Levine's Caloric Journey, Week 164: Sometimes I Measure My Progress By Something Other Than The Scale
I don't think Thinner is going to be kind to me this week, mostly because I was totally out of control this past weekend. I was just too anxious and stressed out to control my worst eating impulses, and by the time Monday rolled around and I got on the scale, I was in serious trouble for the week.
Yesterday we had a doughnut tasting at SE World Headquarters. On a Thursday, no less. The day before my weigh-in. Now I know full well that doughnuts are not on the path to weight loss, or even weight control. Doughnuts are one of the big holes in my weight control game. But what would you do if you were confronted by an entire conference table filled with doughnuts? Well, I know what I did. I tasted a bunch then left the room.
From now on I am not going to refer to my weight control efforts as a diet. What I have embarked on is a series of choices and an overall attitude about eating and living. What I am laying out is a way to eat for pleasure without losing control of my weight. It's something a lot of serious eaters can relate to, I think. I've come to think of it as a caloric journey.
I have now been on my "diet" for more than three years now, and as you might have noticed I weigh in every Friday, just like I am about to do. What has that meant to my weekly eating habits? That Thursdays have been near-fasting days for me. I have had many a Thursday dinner of apples or banana or raisins. A toasted bialy would qualify as a Thursday feast.
I was having a hard time coming up with what I should be eating for lunch when I remembered reading about this low-cal pizza place that had opened up directly crosstown from Serious Eats World HQ. Revd up π claims to be leading the pizza revolution. Between the π and the revolutionary rhetoric, I should have known better. But I was desperate. It was Thursday and I had to jump on Thinner and report to all of you the next morning.
After last week's diet debacle, I was determined to get back on the good foot, serious diet-wise.
Of course they do. My birthday was yesterday, and even before I partook in the fried chicken and banana cream pie lunch that the SE'rs had waiting for me at SEHQ after I came back from a meeting, I knew I was in serious trouble. So even though I am going to feel profound embarrassment and downright shame, I will get on the scale this morning.