British Dinner and Puddings
I live in a world where really nice starchy, calorie-rich food is placed in front of me every day. I don’t remember how to cook. I feel guilty for what I’m about to say, because the food is very nice, and if I were here on vacation I’d gobble it up as though every day were Thanksgiving. But I live here…and the food is very traditional–very British. And while I love England for many reasons, it is a commonly accepted fact that England is not known for its cuisine. Since I arrived in September, I have had a mere 3 spicy dishes at West Dean (one of which was tonight!). So, while the short course students love the food here, I’m sorry to confess that I do get tired of it.
Except for the puddings.* West Dean does not disappoint with their pudding selection (though I do miss ice cream…and cookies…). There is a selection of two or three different puddings at lunch and dinner. They’ve been serving pavlova nearly every day lately. I’d never heard of pavlova until I came to this country. And it’s amazing. Meringue, double cream and forest berries or other fruit. That’s it. SO delicious.
We also have tea and biscuits twice a day…
The longer I’m here, the more institutionalized I become, and the more my appetite and portion sizes seem to grow (the long cold winter didn’t help, either). I escaped the starch and cream while I interned in Oxford where I delighted in making my own nachos with avocado and salsa or grilled cheese and soup (the simple pleasures you never knew you’d miss!). I relished being in control of what I ate–and when I ate. Then I got to visit home…and while I was home I came up with a plan.
Since I arrived back at West Dean a few weeks ago, I’ve given up sugar altogether.** For one month. I’m already two and a half weeks into my goal. I went off sugar for a month many years ago (after eating an entire bag of conversation hearts in one day–not even kidding), and discovered that I was a pathetic addict. I wanted sugar so badly I had the shakes. This time has not been nearly difficult. I’m already losing a bit of weight (did I mention I’d gained nearly 2 stone since last September?), but mostly I feel better. My hope is that this will help me regain control and eat less sugar/be satisfied with smaller desserts etc. We’ll see what happens after the experiment ends (May 15!). I just hope they’re still making pavlova and banoffee pie in a couple weeks…
I chew a lot of sugarfree gum now.
I was thinking about it the other day. Imagining I had two puddings each day for thirty days (I think I’d begun to fall into that pattern) and two wee biscuits at each tea break (I’ll be honest, I used to take 3 or 4–they’re so small), that’s 60 puddings and 120 biscuits in just a month–not to mention all the other sweets I’ve been offered or would have bought for myself. That’s a lot of sugar!
*(For my American friends, any dessert in England is a pudding–whether it’s technically “pudding” or not).
**Actually, I’m allowing myself juice and yogurt. But I’m not even adding sugar to my herbal tea anymore.