“That looks so good,” the girl to our right says, leaning into Sook’s personal space to gaze longingly at the pistachio coupe that is sitting directly in front of me at the bar at Tavern restaurant in Brentwood.
Sook insists that the glossy-eyed gal take a bite, before returning the dessert back to its central position between Sarah and her.
Which of course means it is directly in front of me. Again.
“I don’t even like dessert,” Sarah says as she spoons another bite of the grown-up pistachio and chocolate ice cream sundae into her mouth.
Sook doesn’t love it at first, but once her spoon connects with the thick foundation of fudge lining the bottom of the glass, she, like Sarah, is won over as well.
They “ooh” and “aah” as they savor every salty pistachio nut, while I sit quietly, a passive eyewitness to the dessert massacre before me. Our server Eric takes note of my docile state, and comes by to heckle me into taking a bite.
“I gave up sobriety, moderation and abstinence,” He quips.
I smile (he’s cute), but shake my head firmly, unaffected by his ploys to get me to break my Lenten pledge. The spoon to my right remains idle. I’m perfectly content to sip my glass of Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc ($9.50) and am not even the least bit interested in the sugary concoction my friends are enjoying so audibly.
Today, March 17th, it will be four weeks since my last bite of dessert – a chocolate macaroon from a batch I made for a co-worker the night before Lent began. At the time, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make it through six weeks of no dessert, and was half expecting to go back to my original plan to only give up chocolate – especially when the withdrawals and headaches hit that first weekend.
As my fellow food bloggers at the Stir it 28 fundraiser can attest, I was a grouchy, irritable mess.
For the next few days all I could think about was what I wasn’t allowed to eat. At my lowest, I fantasized about frosting shots from Sprinkles and had toxic dreams about devouring brownies. But I stayed strong – relying on tea and dates (the edible kind) to get me through the worst of my cravings, and after two weeks, I stopped feeling like I wanted to claw someone’s face off.
Now, with only two weeks to go, I feel like I could almost swear off desserts forever. My skin, which has always been speckled with visible pores, has never been clearer – or smoother. While my weight hasn’t changed, the waist band on my skinny jeans no longer cuts into my sides. And I no longer harbor neurotic thoughts about what will happen if I run out of money to buy food, or whether the people I’ve let down will ever like me again.
Okay, not really. I’m still as neurotic as ever, but one can dare to dream…
I’m not sure what is going to happen on Saturday, April 3rd when I can once again have my cake and eat it too. I’ve always defined myself by my sweet tooth and penchant for chocolate, but after four weeks without it, I now know that I don’t need to have it. I can go to a restaurant and not order dessert after dinner. I can get through an afternoon without a piece of chocolate. And I can sit by and watch my friends eat an ice cream sundae without a hint of longing.
I’ve realized that there really is truth to the belief that, with God, anything is possible.
Even for a girl who lives for her sugar-fix to give up dessert and not become any more neurotic than she already is.