Stressed on the job? Devour piles of Junior Mints between each business call. Depressed about your perceived lack of prospects in the publishing realm? Sit in front of “House” repeats and devour Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream by the pint. Need to stuff down feelings of inadequacy in your personal life? Smother those doubts with some fresh-baked blueberry muffins. And don’t even get me started on cake. I believe it to be the one true thing created by one hand of God and one hand of the Devil. Devil’s Food cake didn’t just pull that name out of thin air, you know.
So how does one fulfill the urge to devour without ending up with the requisite calories? Once the initial hunger pains of caloric deprivation lift from your view you can, in fact, spot a few substitutions on the horizon. Yes, I have tried television and DVDs, but even the programs I truly savor, such as anything which revolves around actor Hugh Laurie or Steve Buscemi, or partially clad but troubled souls marooned on a mysterious tropical island, still leave me craving more. There is simply not enough mental engagement to prevent me from lifting a spoon in the glow of the 42” LCD.
Of course, sex is good. Any food consumed during carnal acts—though usually in the high calorie department with whipped cream and chocolate sauce topping the list—is typically forgotten quickly and rarely approaches full serving size. I remember many fond nights in the ever-increasing distance of youth when dinner lay unconsumed, pushed aside (sometimes, literally) for want of wanton sex.
Sorry—my glasses just became inexplicably fogged up. Where was I? Ah yes, sex. Hard to believe that even sex—at least, over time—can fail to hit the mark and curb those cravings. Who among us has never snuck out of a lover’s bed to consume a dozen Oreos with cold milk once her satisfied partner has collapsed unconscious on the pillow? Those midnight trysts with your refrigerator add up quickly.
With no great loss to the general community I have more or less retired those appetites (at least until Hugh Laurie shows up at my doorstep) and gone on in search of others which might, mercifully to me and anyone else in the immediate vicinity, allow me to remain fully clothed. And I am quite excited to announce that I may very well have found it. A banquet does indeed exist where one can feast for hours, days, even weeks, feeling not just satisfied, but stuffed to the gills, and not a calorie in sight.
My one true friend through childhood, my lone love through high school, and my last bastion of refuge during a difficult marriage, books have once again proved a worthy foil to my ever-present cravings to devour more damaging fare. And like any worthwhile meal, each one leaves me with the urge to share its delights. And unlike bragging about a flawless evening of lovemaking, this time your audience is completely free to engage themselves at the very same banquet table the moment you’ve finished describing it.
It is in this spirit of giving without receiving more pounds to work off that I kick off my Low-Fat, High Fiber Recipe Reviews. Since beginning this journey back in time to a pants-size once believed to be gone forever, I have shamelessly devoured a stack of books which already outweighs even me. And I am happy to report that once you are immersed in the fate of another to the point where your own world is reduced to the simple, burning desire to turn the next page, the brownies will remain in the cupboard unbaked, the cake will languish unfrosted and the ice cream, well, the ice cream will always be waiting for you in the freezer.
Stay tuned for a series of short and sweet reviews as I rediscover both contemporary and classic literature. As with any large buffet there will be that delectable meatloaf next to a steaming pile of stomach-turning okra, but I am here to take those risks for you, and warn you of what’s ahead.