So I’ve been on this whole healthier eating kick for the past… ummm… I’m not really sure. Let’s go with over one month. Generally speaking, I’m doing pretty alright about all of this. I’ve lost a little touch of weight, which is one of my most desired goals but maybe not the main one. The main goal is to just get more healthy, which has absolutely already started to bare fruit. I wake up feeling much better, I get moving more quickly, I’m more attentive and energetic at work, and blah blah feelin’ better blah. This is a subject I’ll get into another day, I suppose.
The thing about a dietary change, whether you are just changing up your basic daily diet or actually going on “a diet”, is that you start to have cravings. For a fatty-boom-blatty like me with a tinge of addiction, this is bad fuckin’ news. It is really the worst. All of my efforts and all of my discipline get completely ruined by a wild craving for some bullshit dish or some whack-a-doo cocktail. I know that I shouldn’t go for it but I do. I sometimes hit a point where I don’t even want to, but I somehow manage to rationalize my way into it. “Oh, I’ll just re-start on Monday”. “Ah, it’s just one meal”. “Nah, it’s just red wine – that’s good for me, right?” I know these thoughts are wrong, but they often work for me just enough to compel me to a fuck up. Once one fuck up happens it tends to snowball into a serious of fuck ups and before I know it, any progress I’ve made has been ruined. The 12 pounds I’ve dropped are packed back no. I may have even swung my indulgence past my starting point, not only gaining the 12 I’ve lost but adding 3 more pounds to my top end. Afterword, I always feel like an asshole about it and wallow in my mistakes without correcting the behavior, as I know I should. It’s the worst.
Somehow, I’ve managed to not give in to the vast majority of my cravings over the past few months. So much so that my terrible ability to rationalize my way into indulgence has actually turned into a occasional super power of rationalizing myself out of the indulgences. “Ah, but it costs so much.” “Oh, but look at all the calories”. “Nah, it’s go meat on it. That shit’s delicious, but I’ve got this streak going. That counts for something, right?” In this time, I’ve also found that I can keep up some good momentum and recover more quickly if I plan some sort of escape into one of those indulgences. I get the feeling that this might be somewhere closer to the eating habits of those I know who manage to stay fairly thin, even as they age. They let themselves really enjoy some crazy every now and then, whereas I’ve been enjoying some crazy every few nights. I’m simplifying and maybe even exaggerating a bit, but with the way that I can indulge, I feel like it probably averages out about that way.
While I’ve been mostly successful at holding my cravings at bay, I’m still having them. Sometimes I’m ready to just throw in the fucking towel and return to the stupid old, “Oh, I’ll just start it over on Monday”, even knowing how useless and counterproductive that attitude has been for me. So I’m gunna get into my cravings. Why not, right? It’s my blog and I’ll be a whiny bitch if I fuckin’ feel like it.
I can break my hardest cravings down to five things. In no particular order, here goes:
Any cut will do, though I suppose I have favorites. I think I should rank those favorites, and soon… but not today. Lately my highest cravings have been for a nice ribeye with a wine-reduction herb butter with gravy fries and cheesy broccoli on the side. You know what? Fuck the sides. Double the size of the steak. Keep the drippings. Better yet – saute some garlic, onions, and mushrooms in the drippings and just pour that hot tastiness down my throat followed by slowly gnawing at a big, red steak. Mmmmmm.
A Big Juicy Burger
Frankly, I can go for a burger at just about any time of day. Why? Because it is the perfect cross section of two of my favorite basic culinary concepts: Beef and Sandwich. Yes, I do love the typical sides that can be found with it. Sure. But I’m finding more and more that I can really forgo those things. If I have to choose between one or the other, I’d much rather just have the burger than just have the fries. I like all types of burgers – a subject you can expect me to cover in another future post. But what I really want is either a burger I make at home to my personal specifications or to go out to a specialty or gourmet burger joint and really bite into something that I probably couldn’t concoct on my own. Or just something that I don’t feel like making the effort to enjoy. Or just a great burger that I can enjoy with friends. I’m not going to front and pretend like I wouldn’t want a fast food burger. Let’s not get crazy, fuckers. But I’m not craving those types of burgers. I’m craving the big and fancy style.
Pork. Not Ham.
I love the pig. Why not? The pig is a lovable animal. It lives a life of pure joy and, in turn, passes the excess joy it has been saving up in its juicy, succulent meat on to a joyful, loving person that sinks his or her teeth down into that lushes, velvety, pink flesh. Mmmmm, pig. While several Southerners I know have tried to argue otherwise, I am fairly certain that I will never falter on this stance – Pork beats Ham. Hands down. Ever damned day of the week. “Oh, but a sweet, salty, smokey Country Ham on Christmas Day is…” Shut it. You know what beats Country Ham on Christmas Day? Ribs. If I could have ribs, bacon, prosciutto, chorizo, pork chops, or bratwurst for Christmas, I would be a very happy man.
Eggs make me very happy. I like the taste, I like the texture, I like the versatility. I maybe don’t always love the smell… but I don’t know why. I love having eggs prepared for me, whether at a restaurant or from the home of a familiar. I love cooking myself eggs. I even love making eggs for others (not all the time – control yourself). I love eggs in their many styles so much that I’ll think about how I want them the night before I know I’m going to make some for breakfast. I’ll plan dinner around eggs when I’m really fiending. Like the cravings already mentioned, the typical sides that accompany eggs are great. Bacon (if it can be considered a “side”…) is fantastic. We all know it. Shut up about it before you start to ruin it for me. I’m lookin’ at you, Internet. English muffin – great. Texas toast with lots of butter and jam – great. Pancakes – great for two bites. Belgian Waffles – super-great. Hash browns or home fries – incredibly great. Biscuits and sawmill gravy – fuckoff amazing. Grits – great. Shrimp ‘n’ grits – I’ll-fuckin’-marry-you great. So yeah, the sides are great. But you know what? I can be happy with just the eggs. I really can. Give me a freshly soft-boiled egg and see if I complain.
Pizza is kind of a cheater food when compared to other cravings, but I crave it nightly just the same. I feel that huge portions of the population see the pizza as simply a vehicle to deliver bits of other food. In other words, it’s pizza, but it’s really just dough that we’ve piled all of this pork and cheese on top of. That’s fine and dandy, and I’m not going to pretend like I don’t treat it like that from time to time as well. But as I’ve been growing up and paying more attention to what I eat (in the sense of flavor, texture, jizziness), I find that I appreciate a good crust and good sauce more than just the shit that gets put on top. No foolies. Maybe this isn’t as crazy to you as it was for me. I always knew that Domino’s crust was cardboardy and Little Caesar’s sauce was bland, but I also knew that they had some really great toppings. I was bedazzled by my first “Hawaiian” pizza and beguiled by my first BBQ Chicken. Meat Lover’s meant I didn’t have to choose and Pepperoni was the perfect staple. When the BBQ Hawaiian Chicken came out, you can bet I busted my fly. And I still love those toppings and styles, and I’ve not turned into that douche that tries to convince you that a little touch of olive oil and some endive makes for a better pizza. Fuck off with that bullshit. It’s not better. It’s usually worse. It’s not even pizza, it’s a pack of lies. But I will say that I’ll take better crust and sauce over toppings or tons of cheese these days. And man, I am a dude that loves some cheese piles.
Pizza may actually be my greatest craving these days, especially when considering the pizza “experience”. If I go out for gourmet pizza, I’m almost guaranteed to have a great time. I’m usually out with friends or family that can carry a conversation, the environment is usually warm and inviting, and food is pretty damn good. It’s also fairly cheap when compared to other “gourmet” experiences. At the same time, ordering in or picking up a chain or dive pizza is just as great. Just for different reasons. Even if we ignore the awesome-though-ridiculous sides of bread sticks and cheesy bites and cinna-fatties. Even if we set aside the genius of buffalo wings. In about half an hour, someone will show up to my place with a hot, chewy, greasy discus of gluttonous happiness of my choosing for less than the cost of a bottle of Bourbon? Shit yeah, I’m in on that!
While I’d love to dig into some nice lamb, some chicken wings, or any number of meatified sandwiches, I’m really just not craving them as much. I’ll think about them, and sometimes I’ll get a craving for home cooking – either my Father’s or my own standard recipes. But it’s really just those five basic things. That’s what I crave. And I know that most of my cravings can be completed sated by just getting some good ol’ meat. So I’ve come to a conclusion. At least once a quarter, I’m going to meat-the-fuck-out.
Alright, maybe not that far. Maybe so. When the worktime/friendtime tradition of all-you-can-eat Prime Rib comes up again, you can bet I’ll be joining. I’d like to dig in on some Korean BBQ again, but more than anything I want to go to Fogo de Chao. I mean, it doesn’t have to be that exact place, but yeah. I’d like to go to a Brazilian style, meat centric, all-you-can-eat joint. And eat all the meat that I can eat. But in order for this to count, I’ll have to wait. So my plan right now is to convince some people to go to Fogo (or similar place) in May. I think I’ll start my workin’ them this week. Honestly, it’s probably the social aspects of the meals that I miss the most. You don’t win friends with salad.
tl;dr – I’m going to Fogo de Chao in May & you don’t win friends with Salad. Now get me a fuckin’ pizza, bitch.
And while I may order a pizza every now and then, I haven’t in months. It’s certainly not the way it used to be, where I’d get one just because I couldn’t be bothered to try to eat like a normal human. I’m planning on an outing with friends and coworkers this Friday and may do a pizza on Saturday, but neither will be the indulgences they have been in the past. Anyway, we’ll see how all this shit ends up going down.