Eat, Pray, Love… and then eat some more*

Don’t know about you, but this time of year, I feel like a Baleen Whale…

Santa Whale
Walking through holiday buffets with my mouth wide open, food sifting through my gaping maw and into my gullet. Is it that time of year or the newly-discovered Ramsay BBC specials or the crazy hormone pills my vagina doctor gave me that’s made me feel like every meal is the reward after years in the desert (and on the way to dessert)? Unclear, but what is known is that I’m hungry and eating. A lot.

I’m not just eating the usual rice-crackers-with-hummus standing over the sink. I’m talking about the most buttery pasta, the gooey-ooeyest mac ‘n cheese, and the chocolateyst caramels I can find. And if I can’t find them in my house, I drive across town to eat. Even if that means sidling up to the counter solo.

Reader, I assure you, I am not preggers. Though, I am beginning to look that way (were I Juno, I would be a cautionary whale). The other nite at dinner (truffled risotto… mmmm… again, please!) I had the sensation when I exhaled of my pants rolling down FLOOOOP and then when I inhaled, they would roll back up ZOOORP to where they usually belong. When they fit, that is. I’m determined to keep baby-doll tops in style at least til these cravings abate.

Where did this crazy binge start? I can pinpoint a meal in New Orleans that was so good, I remember consciously thinking re: my waistline, Fuck It. This Creole blackened shrimp sauce is so damn delicious – I scraped French bread around and around my bowl… and then around the bowl of the person sitting to the left of me. Sometime near Thanksgiving, I bought truffle oil and found no end to the eggs and pasta that needed it. The Birthday Week brought me to my favorite LA restaurant that has finally imported my favorite NY dish – basically homemade pasta with butter and pepper – simple and to me, jaw-dropping good. There are also the best tacos in LA at the Farmer’s Market, tacos which I discovered can be purchased by the dozen. BY THE DOZEN, people! Add a few red velvet cupcakes and you’re beginning to understand what my pants already know.

But all this follows a grim June and July – June found me in the hospital for a week with some crazy stomach infection. I hadn’t been in the hospital since I had an appy in ’88. After getting sprung this time ’round, I couldn’t eat solid food for two weeks. I ramped back up to normal food by way of quinoa flakes and malt o meal. Even liquor didn’t sound tempting for months – and then only the clearest of vodkas caused the remotest stir in my mouth. All that I craved, constantly, were those tiny pre-made meatloafs from Whole Paycheck. I ate half of one every day for two weeks. By July I was able to eat out, but unable to eat salads or dressings or really anything other than plain meat on a plate.

Maybe it was New Orleans that healed me. One dose of praline bacon – or debris grits or ginger peach sauce — and I guess I was better. So cured, that I swung from bland lack of appetite to spicy rumblings that are now erupting on a daily basis. Lunch in June was a bowl of chicken broth. Friday it was two extra-large red and yellow boxes of fries from Mickey D’s. Hot, salty and so good. Yesterday, it was a sublime pizza with a fellow Whatsiter – prosciutto and greens so green they were alive on the ‘za – and so good that I kept distracting her with passing folk so I could steal slices off her plate. I call out my recent diet like an incantation: extra crispy Hard Times Pizza with sausage and mushroom. Mojito raviolis. Taco Bell (the second best tacos in LA, yeah, I said that). Organic (therefore healthy) popcorn. Sweet Potato Balls crusted with cornflakes. Proseco with a raspberry at the bottom of the glass. Warm beet salad. Tangerine mimosas. More Mickey D fries. Bring it on.

I do get full. But it takes a lot, and takes more to fill the empty spot at night, when I’m the hungriest. And of course, I begin to wonder, what exactly the food is filling. Is it that mournful space that is laid bare by repeated listenings of “I’ll be home for Christmas”? Is it because there’s room in my womb, or is it because I pray for love and am still searching the night sky for the star that will guide me to a wise man? Or is it because the food this time of year is so damn good?

As I beach myself onto my bed, one thing is clear: there is more of me to love.

Call Ishmael for me. Sing into the phone deep sonorous sounds, a stomach underwater, digesting the take of the day.

*this also coulda been called “Constant Cravings” because as you can see… I can’t get enough of… anything.

21 responses to “Eat, Pray, Love… and then eat some more*”

  1. Stella says:

    Last night I sank into a coma after a huge plate of food topped off with belgian chocolates and red wine. I would say it’s the winter solstice and impending cold, but you’re in LA.

    One vacation I visited LP in the US of A and ate incessantly for two weeks, huge american breakfasts, trips to waffle house, cinnabons on the road. i ate like a 200 pound guy, until one night i sat down to a delicious meal of homemade pasta and stopped. my body ground to a halt and i could barely eat for days as it started digesting the thousands of calories.

    there’s no greater pleasure than enjoying every mouthful of food. enjoy while it lasts.

  2. MF says:

    All I wanted on Monday was a bowl full of lobster ravioli with cream sauce. A very large bowl! Couldn’t find it, but instead ate a whole almond cake.

    Tuesday I ate a whole box of chocolate-covered pretzels. (I love holiday office treats!)

    Wednesday I managed to down 3 cupcakes (courtesy of a colleague’s wife) and two mini cheesecakes (courtesy of the offiice party).

    Yesterday I only ate one cupcake.. but then I downed an enourmous bowl of indian food from Whole paycheck (samosas, Yum!)

    Today, as my waist overflows my pants, I want to stop eating altogether. But I am sure as soon as another plate of cookies comes by, I’ll grab three.

    Can’t wait for the new year.

  3. Tim Wager says:

    I love food!

  4. LP says:

    Ha! It’s true, Stella was an eating machine on that trip. I didn’t know her all that well then, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her ravenous binges. Watching her devour an entire plateful of waffles, eggs, potatoes and fried apples, with two mimosas and three cups of coffee, I was simultaneously frightened and intrigued. Where was she putting all that food?

    It was deja vu all over again with WW at lunch yesterday. We could have ordered a second pizza and devoured it whole. Leave no calorie behind. Mmmm.

  5. LT says:

    I love whales!

  6. Jeremy says:

    Just curious: what is your “favorite LA restaurant that has finally imported [your] favorite NY dish”?

    I’ve been trying not to eat carbs (stupid, I know), but I think this post might’ve put an end to that. My recent cravings have been the sandwiches at the gourmet grocer down the street: caprese on ciabbata drizzled with balsamic vinegar, or turkey and brie on a fresh baguette, or three kinds of imported italian salami smeared with some kind of garlic-parmesan spread once again on ciabatta. Oof. Time for lunch…

  7. Tim Wager says:

    Also . . . if Taco Bell (!) has the 2nd best tacos in LA, who has the best, in your humble opinion?

  8. Jeremy Zitter says:

    Please don’t say Del Taco….

  9. Missy says:

    Thanks a lot, Jeremy. I was fine, sitting here happily eating cheez-its, and now I would give anything for a Big Del burrito–the kind you need to hold with both hands. Disgustingly drippy (you end up kind of sucking the filling out), and, I know, not real Mexican food, but still . . .

  10. I liked it this morning when the whale fell outside the margin of the column — it seemed fitting to have it so oversized.

    this post made me laugh out loud five or six times this morning. it’s so fantastically written, too. i’m glad the strike doesn’t keep you from writing for us.

    i’ve been eating really well all fall: following the no flour, no sugar bit i’ve now been all about seasonal vegetables and lots of lean protein and have almost completely avoided holiday treats. until, that is, we hosted a party for our resident students and i brought in 75 donuts from the doughnut plant, including the roasted chestnut yeast ones (the size of a human head!) and the three cream cake ones. the gingerbread cake ones were very yummy as well. i kind of cheated a little around those babies.

  11. autumn says:

    I think you deserve such an appetite after your summer slug.

    as for holiday spreads, I just finished my third tamale–one of my favourite holiday treats.

  12. Jeremy Zitter says:

    Oh man! Doughnut Plant donuts! Actually, it was Wendy who turned me on to those, years ago…

    Also, Missy, I shouldn’t’ve dissed Del Taco. Scotty and I have done many a late-night drive-thru at The Del, though I usually get one of their burgers (which, believe it or not, are scrumptious) and the crinkle-cut fries (I love that even their taco and burrito meal deals come with fries!).

  13. Jen says:

    Yay Food!
    The best tacos in L.A.? Cactus!
    C’mon, Wendy, spill!

  14. LP says:

    She done spilt, people, in her post: “There are also the best tacos in LA at the Farmer’s Market, tacos which I discovered can be purchased by the dozen.”

  15. Hooray, food! I’m snacking on chocolate-covered almonds that aren’t even mine
    … and the cool thing is that I can eat whatever I want without it showing anywhere.

    I’m almost positive the metabolism will go by age. ALMOST. Lane, what’s your experience? Does the skinnyness run in the family? Can you still eat whatever you want in whatever amounts, even being the youngest?

  16. Tim Wager says:

    We oughta call ya Eagle-Eye Parrish. Also, though, but, and nonetheless, is Loteria the only place to get tacos at the Farmers Market? I don’t think so.

  17. I wish we had tacos at our farmer’s market. But can you guys buy scallops to eat as sushi? (You probably can. Grr.)

  18. WW says:

    Yesterday: eating airport and airplane food all day and still…. with enough liquor, satisfying. The liquor, at least!

    1-LA has been oddly cool (temperate-ly), rainy, at least, so maybe it is the weather that’s made me so damn hungry. Though I think it’s the hormones. Or maybe it’ s just that once you start eating so much you have to keep eating. Do stomachs really stretch or is that a tale?

    2 -um, let’s go find some cookies

    3 – yes!

    4 — I am still thinking about that pizza

    5 – I don’t like blubber

    6 – Osteria Mozza, aka Lupa West

    7- Loteria in the Farmer’s Market

    8 – I prefer Baja Fresh to the Del Taco

    9 — Also, Trader Joe’s makes pretty good heat-em-up tacos, will do in an emergency

    10 — I thought it was funny when the whale fell out of the borders, too — totally unexpected and funny. I love donut plant donuts so much. I’m gonna have to go get one or ten now and fight my mother for them, smack-down style

    11- along with tamales, I like the winter biscochitos that our local tamale stand makes this time of year

    12 — Speaking of Fries, I don’t like In n’ Out fries. Always sad. Thank goodness for the inspirational quotes on the bottom of each back to lift my spirits

    13 — I’ll take a Loteria taco any day over a Cactus one

    14 — heck, I’ll take a dozen of them

    15 — It does go. This I know for a fact.

    16 – y’all got a thing against Loteria?

    17 — So I’d never had scallops, really, until last night. I just tried them because they always prepare them on Top Chef and Ramsay always (when he’s not changing his shirts and exposing his flat gullet) tries scallops. They were SO good. I may be hooked. Hell. I know I am.

    Saturday in New York City…. one mimosa and left-over scallops for breakfast. Let the eating begin!

  19. Tim says:

    “16 – y’all got a thing against Loteria?”

    Not at all! I quite like Loteria, but prefer Cactus. Oh, Cactus . . . .

  20. swells says:

    “you’re beginning to understand what my pants already know.” LOVE IT!!!!! Damn pants–from whom no sectrets are hid!!

    I’m done with no carbs too. Manhattan sushi tonight! Woohoo! Bring on the rice!

  21. speaking of consumables, we’re going to be hanging out again today at DBA, 1st between 2nd and 3rd. it’s the annual neighborhood craft fair, in case you still need stocking stuffers. molly has been baking cookies all day to sell. we’ll be there from 4-7 if anyone’s free to stop by.