I could go on about food forever. When I am on a typical diet all I can do is talk about food, think about food, look at recipes, and plan what I will eat when I get off my diet. It would be like Day 28 on “Survivor” when the few remaining emaciated contestants see a mirage of chocolate covered doughnuts, cheeseburgers and a herd of barbecued steak. That’s me on Day 2 of dieting. One of my favourite parts of Survivor is the reward challenge when the winning tribe receives some kind of feast treat. But by far, the auction is the most entertaining, seeing these poor scabby, skeletal castmates forking over $500 to buy cheeseburgers and coke, or maybe some covered plate of mystery food that turns out to be pig brains or cockroaches. Years ago when we had satellite TV I enjoyed watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of the original Iron Chef. While I found none of the food was particularly appealing, I just loved to hear those hilarious voice-over actors translate the chefs’ and guests’ culinary critiques. Come to think of it, I never made anything that I saw on TV. The pleasure was in the conversation. When one of my sisters returned from a trip to New York a couple of years ago, I grilled her on every meal she ate during her stay. What a good sport she was, painstakingly detailing each morsel, while showing great patience as I interrupted every sentence. “What kind of risotto? Were the mushrooms porcini?” “How big was that Frozen Hot Chocolate? Did you share it or drink it all by yourself?” “Black and white cookies! Which half was better, the black or the white?” This went on for months, until I had finally asked every last question that could possibly be asked. Last week in the playground after school I cornered the Croatian grandmother of one of my daughter’s classmates. “Do you bake?” “Oh, yes,” she replied, rattling off a few general types of cookies and cakes. Then she said the “S” word. The one that unfailingly evokes many heartfelt memories of my German heritage. Strudel. Strudel to a German is like a ringing bell to Pavlov’s dogs. This just got me going on how my Aunt Kay made the best apfelstrudel. It was a delicate process, sometimes with several batches of dough ending up in the trash before turning out the perfect pastry. How I loved to pick at the flaky crust before devouring the sweet-tart apple-icious filling. Occasionally I licked away at the sprinkling of sugar on top. Crunching into strudel pastry always reminds me of walking on crisp snow. And of course, walking on crisp snow always reminds me of Aunt Kay and her strudel. Some say constantly talking about food when you’re dieting helps to blow off steam, while others contend it only serves to blow your healthy eating plans. But what I know for sure is that when I’m talking, I’m not eating.
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