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Loving food not wisely but too well

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Peanut butter

It’s like the old Yogi Berra saying: “It’s so popular, nobody goes there.”

Berra was talking about Ruggeri’s restaurant on the Hill. But I’m talking about my pantry.

Peanut butter is so popular, it doesn’t go into my pantry anymore. Neither, for that matter, does cereal.

Here’s the problem: I like peanut butter. I really like peanut butter. And I like cereal. I really like cereal. Surprisingly, I think peanut butter-flavored cereal tastes weird. But that’s not my point.

The point is that my self-control, which is generally fairly strong much of the time, goes completely out the window when covered in peanut butter. When covered in thick, delicious, luscious peanut butter that fills your whole mouth with the heady aroma of roasted peanuts.

Sorry about that. And cereal has much the same effect on me.

I’m talking here about the cereals I happen to enjoy (Cheerios — the most compelling proof we have that there is a God and he wants us to be happy — Wheaties, Corn Flakes, Grape Nuts). My wife favors those healthy cereals that taste like cardboard, and I have vast reserves of self-control when it comes to those.

With the cereals I do like, I can easily eat three bowls a day, every day. And I usually do. So I realized many years ago that it is in my own best interest simply to ban cereal from my cupboard forever.

My favorite cereals, I mean. I have no problem with stocking the pantry with Cardboard Flakes.

The same thing goes with peanut butter. I don’t feel compelled to eat peanut butter every single day that it is in my refrigerator, but I know that it is there. It’s in the back of my mind. Sometimes the front of my mind. It calls to me in the seductive tones of a Siren, teasing me, taunting me, tempting me. Often, it is joined in a duet by a jar of raspberry jam.

So peanut butter has also been banned in perpetuity. I miss it. I miss it every single day.

My name is Dan, and I’m a peanut butterholic.

I know I am not alone in this. I’m not the only one who has had tearful break-ups with his favorite foods.

A woman in the office confided to me that she has also banished cereals from her life, and she apparently has it even worse than I do. She says that, to her, a full box of cereal is two servings.

Another woman I know has vanquished Weight Watchers frozen treats from her kitchen and from her life.

You’d think frozen treats from Weight Watchers would be exactly the sort of thing you would want in your freezer, a delightful and satisfying end to a meal while still being only two points.

I must confess, I don’t understand points. Weight Watchers is big on points. A lot of them is bad, apparently, but two of them doesn’t sound like it would be so terrible. And I am told it is not. But when you eat two or three of the frozen treats in one day, as my acquaintance used to do, you suddenly wind up consuming four or six points.

And that is presumably more points than you want to expend daily on a frozen treat. So no more of the frozen fudge bars for her, even though they are from Weight Watchers.

You always ban the ones you love. It’s all a matter of self-sacrifice, of loss and recovery, of suffering the emotional pain to benefit from the physical gain.

It’s just as Yogi Berra said: “You’d better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” I’m not sure that’s particularly apt, but it’s funny.

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