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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Place to Hide

Blue will do it?

I love the whole psychology around eating.  For example, the color blue is a natural appetite suppressant.  One study, detailed in “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink, found when people dined in a blue room they ate 33% less than those who ate in a yellow or red room.  Another interesting bit of information from a “Health” magazine poll is that 83% of their readers do the most calorie damage when alone. A full 71% said they’ve stuffed a food wrapper down deep in the trash to hide the evidence.  (I think that number is probably higher but it is “Health” Magazine, after all).  And when questioned what the strangest thing they’ve eaten when alone, the most common answer was:  something dug out of the trash.  (There seems to be a common theme here with the trash.)

If it is in my home, there is certain foods I am tempted to sneak rather than to eat openly, but that’s not to say I would feel embarrassed if observed eating it.  Well, not usually.  Like the time I’d bought a dozen tubs of frozen cookie dough balls for a holiday fundraiser my kids were pushing for their school.   I got the bright idea that I would make it easy on myself that year and buy a bunch, thus sparing me (and my potential victims; family, friends and clients) from having to look through the slick catalogue of Holiday crap while they obligatorily filled out the form.

I was in the final stages of a yearlong remodel to my home and we were all frazzled.  The weather becoming windy, wet and cold while work crews slopped in and out of our torn up home and the boys behaving like caged animals, I was not in the mood for one more parent duty.  My plan was to wait until the last few days before Christmas and bake cookies in my brand new kitchen.  The visual of me in my apron, the kids studiously finishing homework by the roaring fire and the entire house spotless and decorated like Ma used to in the old days, kept me sane. I could use our new stove and bake all four hundred and thirty-two dough balls into perfectly round, moist and chewy chocolate chip, fudge, oatmeal and white chocolate macadamia cookies!  I would then disburse them to neighbors, family and friends.

All I want is one.

A few weeks before Christmas, my boys and I returned to our plywood floors and half painted walls with yet another take-out pizza for them and salad in a box for me.  The boys began to play a game they called “chong” where they wrestle on the bed trying to whack the other with the heel of their foot; sounds of their screams mixed with non-stop giggling was more than I could handle.  My salad sat in it’s unopened box as I walked in trance to the freezer and pulled out a white chocolate macadamia tub and proceeded to eat a frozen dough ball.  It was scrumptious, really.  I think I blacked out after having the second one; I wasn’t in my body any longer.
One turns into ten.

That weekend the paint crew was in full force painting the inside of the house while it poured outside.  At some point I went to the freezer and pulled out my personal tub and noticed that some of the balls had shrunk in size having little teeth marks on them.  I had been nibbling at the balls thinking if I didn’t eat the whole thing it didn’t count.  Carefully pulling out a ball with index finger and thumb, I began to take a bite when one of the painters came into the room to ask a question.  There I was, poised over my tub with a frozen dough ball up to my mouth and an attractive young man looking square at my dough balled fingers.  I fumbled some stupid babble about wondering what cookie dough tasted like and tossed the remains into the trash.  I’ll never forget his parting statement, “I hope it was tasty.”

Couldn't I just bake them and eat one or two?

When the work crew finally packed their tools for good that day, each carried three tubs of cookie dough and a few freshly baked cookies.  I have never purchased holiday cookie tubs since and never will.  In fact, like Scrooge, I won’t even purchase Girl Scout cookies.  The memory of my animalistic behavior and the man who caught it square on, documenting my embarrassment has turned me off to fund-raising cookie purchases forever.

"Can't you little brats take NO for an answer?!"

In my humanness, I am flawed, so I can forgive myself those times when I think the whole world would pass judgment on me for my little “sneaks”.  In forgiving myself it gives me more strength, not less.  Besides, I know I am not alone.  What strange thing have you eaten in the privacy of your solitude?  Please share!


  1. Funny story, Debra. I used to buy a tub or two of that dough also. Glad those elementary school days are over!

    I don't have a much of a sweet tooth, but I do love sharp cheddar cheese and have been known to eat large quantities of it. When I was a skinny teen ager, I would melt big chunks of cheese in a bowl in the microwave and eat it right out of the bowl.

    I'm sure somewhere along in my life I have dug things out of the trash and eaten them, but I can't remember specifics. Now days, if I want to get rid of something, I give it to the chickens. There's no way I'd forage around in the chicken's pen for a cheese curl or a potato chip.


  2. I will say, I have never eaten out of the trash. So for that, I am proud. One food moment that I do remember vividly is....I was living in Fla and going to meet some AA friends for something. I stopped at like 7-11 or something and bought like a ho-ho or some such cupcake thing. I was stuffing it into my mouth as I was driving b/c I wanted to be finished with it before I met my friends and did not want them to see me eating it. It suddenly flashed in my mind that this was just like the alcohol. I was hiding and eating and not wanting anyone to see or know. It was CRAZY!!!!
    I eat pretty openly now. I'm way, way far away from perfect but I also try not to deprive myself and I don't feel guilty for it. When I'm really "on" I at least moderate.
    I too, throw my unwanted out to the animals. Those raccoons and skunks have had quite a buffet at times!!
    Thanks Deb, for all you do. I'm sooooo happy to have found you again. Can't wait to see you again tomorrow.

  3. My daughter sold the cookie dough and pizza a couple times in middle school. So when a neighbor girl came to our house selling it a couple weeks ago, rather than purchase something that was not good for us, (or worse tell her no) I just wrote a check for a donation to the school. That way the school got 100% profit too!

    I have never dug anything out of the trash, but I have been known to stuff a chocolate wrapper way down so hubby doesn't see it! (especially if it was the last of it) He is so territorial about food it's funny. Sometime if there is one piece left of a dessert, if I split it down the middle he will accuse me of taking the bigger piece! (all in teasing of course)


  4. A, I, too, am not much of a sweet eater, but after that experience it was like all I could think of! And, oh, to be YOUNG! Melted cheese soup!

    Cath, Isn't it the truth, when it comes down to it, if we can't do it openly, don't do it! And I, too, am glad you found be again. You are such a positive energy there! thank you!

    Linda, that is perfect! Give the $, leave the garbage behind! Love it. I still eyeball my husbands "half" to see if he got more! That is so funny!

  5. "Dug something out of the trash"...guilty! That's me. After lugging home the delectable looking holiday goodies given to me by my students, I trotted out to the garage and deposited them in the trash can where they stayed...until 10 p.m.when I had a sweet tooth attack. There I was,freezing cold in my nightgown, digging in the garbage to rescue all the chocolate treasures.

    I loved your cookie dough story. The only good part of my tale is that nobody caught me.

  6. You lucky dog! I can only say how pleased I am that (as Adrienne pointed out) those Elementary School days are OVER! (You know what I mean!)

  7. Debra, I'm sure you were mortified when the builder walked in. I felt it reading your post! Even though I sometimes bring crap home, I always say to myself 'if it's not in the home, I can't eat it'. And cookies, you just cannot eat one or two. The oatmeal molasses cookies which I made a while back, they went really slowly and I still have a few in the freezer. They aren't very attractive to look at and because they are made with healthy ingredients they don't have the same effect on your appetite. It is possible to eat one and be happy! This whole post is so funny and I particularly love the photo caption at the bottom. I laughed out loud!

  8. Fiona, You are a woman of good humor and I love that! I can laugh about it now and, yes, I was mortified. What wasn't said is that I had dated the guy just after my divorce. He was ten years younger than I. I really didn't need him viewing my gluttony..well, maybe I did!