We had a lot of down time at Traci’s garage sale last week. Enough so that I cornered three members of my emerging “Normal People” panel to test a new survey question: How do you feel about conquests?
Not the Bill Clinton kind, but the dietary version: If a waiter introduces you to a decadent new dessert or entree, are you tempted to try it?
The overwhelming response from the three panel members on the premises: No way. Which made me wonder: Was I really staring at half my nuclear family, or a set of impostors? Do we really share the same DNA?
“I don’t like to eat desserts,” declared my dad, aka Captain Chicken for his tendency to order the most boring chicken dish on any menu. “That doesn’t even tempt me. I’m just not interested in dessert. I eat enough as it is.”
“It seems like sugary foods give you that overly full, bloated feeling that I don’t like,” added my brother Brent. “If I’m at a restaurant, I’d rather fill up on — ”
“Green beans,” interjected Captain Chicken.
“– the stuff I really like,” continued Brent, ticking off his standard orders at his most frequented restaurants, such as the beef enchilada at Billy Ann’s in Bluffton. “Basically,” he said, “when I find something I like, then that’s what I like to eat.”
My sister Traci, who wandered over in the middle of the conversation, nodded in agreement. She‘s had too many experiences where she‘s ordered something new, only to be disappointed.
This was all very enlightening. But given their tough standards for trying new foods, how does anything get on their list of favorites in the first place? Planetary alignment?
“Pretty much,” said Brent, though he is sometimes forced to try a new restaurant or dish now that he‘s married to Darcy, my more adventurous sister-in-law.
“For me,” said Traci, “It has to be similar to something else I already like, or it has to be something that someone I know (and trust) has recommended.”
I don’t eat at restaurants as often as those guys do, but I’m all about the conquest. I still like to try new things wherever I find them, whether on a menu or — in the case of my recent flirtation with Carole’s Cookies — in the grocery store’s discount bin.
This was a cookie the size of a hockey puck. Oatmeal raisin. I picked it up and looked at it, then put it back. This happened on at least two other occasions before I gave in.
It was only afterward that I discovered why they left the nutrition data off the package. According to a web site I checked, that one cookie cost me around 1,000 calories — and more Weight Watchers points than I usually allow myself in an entire day. Ouch.
But see, that’s a major improvement on how I used to handle conquests: Now I always make sure I check the nutrition information, and I always record my transgression. Depending on my stats for the week, I do penance on the elliptical machine at the city gym, where I can monitor my calorie burn.
In the case of the Carole’s Cookie, I decided to draw the line at the one-time fling. It was tasty, but I had no intention of making it a regular part of my life.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, because not too long after that I noticed the Ossian Community Market quit carrying Carole’s Cookies. It’s a good thing — that would’ve been too many calories per capita in a tiny town that’s already home to a killer bakery.