The green mile

September 23, 2019

My first paella in Bilbao

Anyone reading between the lines of this travel blog has to surmise that the way Carol and I eat and drink in Europe is not sustainable year round. Even when we spent all that time in Germany, we still found ways to turn the food pyramid on its head (thanks to some wonderful Italian restaurants there). Inevitably though, we wound up enjoying our last meal in Europe the way diners on death row enjoyed theirs. “When we get home, we’re going on a diet,” Carol would intone solemnly. I would receive those words with the same death row chill an inmate would experience in learning there’d be no intervention from the Governor.

Seafood pasta in Genoa

Back home, Carol rejected my feeble suggestion of what basically amounted to an XL to XXL solution, and countered with something she called the “Cabbage Soup Diet.” That sounded too much like a Final Solution for me. My own experience had taught me that ending Happy Hour during the week would be sufficient without the need to add slow starvation to the mix.

Very sad to report at this juncture that both approaches are yielding positive results on the bathroom scale. The produce department of our local grocer has taken on additional staff to maintain stock replenishment for the sudden and unexpected increase in demand, while its wine section has increased sales incentives in an effort to return inventories to more profitable levels. The two most common queries at home now are “Is it Friday yet?” and “Where’s the Gas-X?”

Good habits are hard to form and easy to break. By the time we leave for Great Britain in mid-October, we should be well on our way to establishing the good habit of our current dietary restraint. It’s in our favor that we’ll be spending this trip in England, Scotland and Wales, rather than Italy, France or Spain. I’m thinking spotted dick, haggis and smoked kipper, along with room temperature beer will have us both hankering for some nice cabbage soup and iced tea.

Lasagna bolognese, where else, Bologna

I know I’m making it sound like our commitment has been 100%. It hasn’t, and I’m happy to report that I’m developing a solid rationale positing that occasional cheating creates sufficient guilt and remorse that strengthens resolve. So far, Carol’s resolve has prevented us from proving what a false hope that rationale is.

Going grocery shopping when you’re dieting is a special kind of torture, when even Velveeta, bologna and canned creamed corn can make your mouth water. The significantly lower cash register receipt is no comfort. You want to eat it as a snack.

Pizza in Trieste

I admit that later-in-life dieting, when metabolism slows to a crawl and retirement means you spend long hours shoulder to shoulder with your refrigerator is no picnic, as it were. On the positive side, it makes the time go slow and you feel like you’re living longer.

Yeah, I didn’t think that was all that funny, either.

Is it just me, or is there a LOT of wine and pasta commercials on TV these days?

Any word from the Governor yet?

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